13 WOW Facts About Familiar Fruits and Veggies That Once Looked Very Different
Before humans started cultivating food crops and fruits, many of them were very different from what they are today. For example, watermelons used to be very bitter, while carrots were made orange for political reasons. Even banana and corn looked a lot different. Many of the foods we eat today have a story or history behind how they were changed over time.
The modern foods available in the markets and supermarkets have gone through very interesting transformations. Here, are 13 fascinating facts about familiar foods that you never knew.
1Carrots were turned orange for political reasons
You might have never really imagined that carrots were initially not orange but were turned orange by the Dutch for political reasons. Carrots used to be white or purple in earlier centuries. According to a tale or theory, Dutch farmers bred orange-colored carrots to honor a revolutionary leader, William of Orange. This may just be a theory but the House of Orange did become associated with the orange carrots that we get today.
2Corn wasn’t edible
Corn originated from a type of Mexican grass called teosinte. This food staple initially had fewer kernels with a hard casing which made its extraction quite difficult. This meant that they were barely edible. Corn only gained its large size and became more edible after years of selective breeding and domestication, which also made them easier to cultivate. It’s hard to believe such facts about familiar foods but this is how they were once upon a time.
3Cucumbers were originally toxic
Wild cucumbers which were the original cucumbers were extremely toxic making them inedible. They were cultivated by the people of India and were used as medicine. In comparison to the original cucumber, the cucumbers we eat these days grow longer and have high water content. They are now considered as one of the best foods for a low-calorie diet.
4Watermelons were very bitter
Watermelons originated in Egypt 5,000 years ago and they used to be very small. At the time they tasted extremely bitter and had a paler appearance with very little red flesh and more seeds. Using a selective breeding process and extensive cultivation, watermelons evolved to have more red flesh, were sweeter, and juicier. Their rinds also shrunk in size.