You probably didn’t know this, but your favorite fruits, nuts, and vegetables were actually man-made foods! Prepare to have your mind blown away!
Not all connections between nature and mankind are disastrous, as some of the man-made fruits, nuts, and vegetables can prove. What’s more interesting is that most people have no idea how well-known foods are a product of hundreds of years of breeding.
Let’s introduce you to some of the most popular “natural” foods, initially made by humans. We promise that some will surprise you!
Man-made Foods Champions Are Strawberries
The strawberries, as we know them, first appeared in France in the late 18th century, which comes as no surprise. To this day, champagne and famous red berries are the ultimate way to seduce someone in the Parisian style.
Wild strawberries are smaller and not as delicious. It took almost 500 years until Antoine Nicolas Duchesne managed to create the perfect, modern strawberry.
The success of a French farmer comes after crossbreeding male Fragaria moschata with female Fragaria chiloensis from Chile. And yes, there are two genders among strawberries, that we know of!
Almonds Are A Man-Made Superfood
Almond products, such as almond milk and flour, are among the most popular ingredients in the world. They’re low fat and tasty, but we wouldn’t have it as an option we learned to love if there wasn’t some severe breeding involved.
The origin of almond, as we know it now, is a bit unclear. The original wild almond is poisonous and tastes bitter, so creating this sweet version is nothing if not one of the best man-made foods ever.
Though scientists are still confused about how to we got from wild to the almond we eat now, it’s one of the best human-made fruits nuts and vegetables. It may not be 100 percent natural is some sense, but it’s healthy, full of protein, fiber, and vitamin E.
Bananas Come From Humans
We are going bananas over the history of this famous fruit. They are a hybrid between the Musa acuminata and the Musa balbisiana species and go back 10000 years.
So, the first fruit was tasteless but had a nice texture. The second one was sweet, yet it had seeds. Take the best out of the two, and you get a prime example among the man-made foods.
Bananas are full of potassium, vitamins C and B6, as well as magnesium. This perfect post-workout fruit is like refuel to the exhausted body, and of course, it’s good for your mind as well, since B6 promotes a healthier brain and better mood.
Carrots Are Man-Made Foods As Well
Carrots contain some of the essential nutrients to protect your skin from sun damage, dullness, and signs of aging, as well as antioxidants. It’s no wonder that these veggies hold a special place among fruits, nuts, and vegetables that were made by humans.
White carrots go back to Roman times. Over time, and with crossbreeding, these veggies went from white to yellow, and finally, to recognizable orange, we know today.
Unlike most of the other natural and man-made foods, carrots are best when cooked. Raw food is all the rage, but with some cooking, you get more nutrients, and carrots are low carb, yet extremely healthy, like all other superfoods.
Oranges Aren’t What You Think
What do you get when you combine the bitterish taste of pomelo and sweet mandarin? One of the most popular man-made foods ever!
Oranges are everywhere, but their history is unclear. Over the decades, humans have selectively bred oranges to create many varieties. So, it’s easy to confuse the orange with other citrus fruits.
It takes a lot of time to create actual human-made fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But with oranges, it’s safe to say that in moderation, they promote a healthier heart, and give you plenty of vitamin C.
Peanuts Are Man-Made Foods As Well
Once upon a time, in Bolivia and Argentina, lived two different species of peanuts. Once a man got involved, we got to a mixture that we call peanuts today.
The history of peanuts takes us back 10000 years, but what’s more important is that we are just in recent years, realizing the human-made mixture’s potential.
These nuts do wonders for energy levels, so if you want a healthy breakfast, all you need is non-sweetened peanut butter and some fruits. You will get proteins, good fats, as well as carbs, which are essentially acting like a fuel to your body.
Tomatoes Are Full Of Mystery
The mystery of tomatoes doesn’t stop with the question are they fruit or a vegetable. So far, we know that they were tiny green or yellow fruits used by the Aztecs. Extensive selective breeding brought us the tomatoes we learned to love today.
These fruits are close to potatoes and peppers, and their popularity exploded in the XV century, once they took over Europe.
What’s even more amusing is that scientists are still working on creating an even more delicious version of fresh tomato. In the meantime, it’s safe to say that it’s universally loved food, which helps create beautiful, tasty dishes all across the globe.
Grapefruit As We Know It
It’s kind of entertaining if you think about it. The most famous citrus fruits are all human-made foods. The grapefruit first appeared in the XVII century when Captain Shaddock transported pomelo seeds to the West Indies and planted them close to orange trees. The pomelo and orange cross-pollinated, and that’s how we got grapefruit.
Europeans only learned of this citrus in 1750. Reverend Griffith Hughes was so surprised with the discovery that he named the grapefruit “the forbidden fruit.” That was the official name until 1814 when John Lunan called it the grapefruit because grapefruits resembled the smaller and unrelated grapes.
It wasn’t until 1948 that US scientists discovered grapefruit was a hybrid of the pomelo and the orange.
Kale And Cabbage Are Basically The Same
A long time ago, the Greeks and Romans planted wild mustard. They focused on planting mustard with bigger leaves, which created kale and collard greens. The selective breeding continued through the XVII century.
Those who planted vegetables with larger leaves invented the first cabbage. Thick-stemmed wild mustard became kohlrabi. All of these vegetables grew from wild mustard, so it makes them part of the same species. And yes, the original wild mustard still exists today.
Cucumbers are fruit, but just like tomatoes, they are often categorized as vegetables. These man-made foods are extremely low on calories, and as such, they are part of pretty much any diet.
Some say that ancient cucumber comes from Ur, according to the legend of Gilgamesh. But, the fruit, Cucumis hystrix, likely originated in India. It’s hard to grasp that something as simple as a cucumber has such a strange, appealing history.
Wild cucumbers still exist today and look more like cactus. In fact, they are kind of scary and gross looking, but luckily, in the XIX century, the farmers created our beloved superfood.
Other Man-Made Foods
Watermelons, boysenberries, the poshest food from the 1920s, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, are all man-made foods. Their popularity may vary, but it’s safe to say that nothing beats watermelon on a hot summer day.
When you think of fruits, veggies, or nuts and their role in our well-being, we don’t consider them to be anything other than 100 percent natural. And it’s not that we are ignorant, but we can’t imagine that our ancestors made food to be healthier.
What we have in the XXI century is the opposite of what ancient farmers wanted. Foods are full of artificial sweeteners and preservatives, and obesity is slowly becoming one of the most significant issues in developed countries.
Hopefully, these interesting facts will inspire people to do more good, produce more fabulous and unique healthy options. A world without peanut butter and orange juice is hard to imagine, so let’s salute the selective breeding which gave us so much!