Fun Facts about Fruits & Vegetables

There’s nothing more rewarding to me than being able to tell my family that they’re eating things I’ve grown in my garden. And the longer I garden the more interested I become in the history of the vegetables and fruit I grow. I use heirloom seeds so the past is closely linked to the produce we’re eating. But there were things about vegetables and fruits that surprised me. Did you know…

Fun-Facts

  1. The tomato first grew as wild, cherry-sized berries in the South American Andes. The tomato as we know it today was developed in Mexico.
  2. There are at least 10,000 varieties of tomatoes, from small cherry ones to Ponderosa, which can weigh over three pounds.
  3. Watermelons are actually vegetables related to squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins. Now that’s a vegetable most kids are willing to eat!
  4. The world record-holding watermelon was more than 260 lbs.
  5. The first cookbook that was published in 1176 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.
  6. Cilantro is a member of the carrot family and was one of the plants growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon more than 2,500 years ago!
  7. An old English tradition is to plant large patches of thyme as playgrounds for faeries.
  8. A sunflower isn’t just one flower. Both the fuzzy brown center and the classic yellow petals are actually 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers held together on a single stalk.
  9. Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and more are in the family rosaceae, making them cousins to the roses you give or get for Valentine’s Day!
  10. There are more microorganisms in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth!
  11. And some of the soil in the garden is stardust, the remains of stars that fall to Earth after they’re caught by gravity, a magnetic force, or some other kind of force field. That makes gardening kind of romantic, doesn’t it?
  12. If you’re frustrated because your soil is mostly clay think about this; If you could spread all the Earth’s clay into one even layer, it would measure one mile thick over the entire planet. That little layer in your garden isn’t that bad, really.
  13. The first greenhouses in history were built in Rome in A.D. 30 under the orders of Emperor Tiberius. He wanted to eat a cucumber a day. Andrew Faneuil in Boston built the first greenhouse in North America in 1737. And I’m still just in the planning stages for my greenhouse!
  14. An herb is from the leaf of a plant. A spice is from the seed, bark, root, berry, or bulb.
  15. There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world. However, just 20 species provide 90% of human food.
  16. Every banana you eat is the same banana. That’s because the bananas we eat are  all cloned from a single banana plant in southeast Asia.
  17. And bananas are technically herbs!
  18. Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak!
  19. Apples have high carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content so they actually give you more energy than coffee! Even if you don’t want to give up coffee having an apple in the afternoon may give you a real boost.
  20. If you’re trying to lose weight fruits and vegetables are the way to go. You’ll barely top 300 calories eating 2 pounds of them!
  21. Onions contain over 100 sulfide containing compounds. These are what make you cry when you slice and onion but they have amazing health benefits, too! They help with the prevention of asthma and some types of cancer. Onions are related to leeks, garlic, chives, and scallions. Not all of them have the same level of health benefits, they all have similar ones.
  22. The stalk, rind or skin of a fruit or vegetable typically has more nutrition than the inside. Unfortunately, the inside usually tastes better. But there are creative ways you can use the more nutritious parts.
  23. The enzyme bromelain found in pineapples destroys your taste buds! At least they do for a while. Eating pineapple in the morning can ruin your sense of taste for the rest of the day. It’s best to slice the pineapple and let it sit in the refrigerator for a while to allow the enzyme to break down.
  24. They should make a movie called “Attack of the Killer Grapefruit” since grapefruit can kill you! There’s an extensive list of medications that react very badly with grapefruit. Although grapefruit is extremely healthy to eat you should check before eating it if you’re on any medications!
  25. The luck of the Irish may not be exactly accurate. The same late blight I’m fighting in my garden now is what caused the Irish Potato Famine which killed a half a million people!

The next time you eat a fruit or vegetable remember, there’s more to their stories than you may know!

 

 

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