About 95% of the world’s food needs are provided by just 30 species of plants. At least 12,650 names of edible species have been compiled so far.
The difference in the color of green/yellow/red bell peppers comes from the different stages in their ripening process, not that they are different varieties.
Though potatoes are native to the Americas, the majority of the world’s potatoes are now grown in Asia, and that though soybeans are native to Asia, the majority of the world’s soybeans are now grown in the Americas.
Black Garlic is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind.
Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kohlrabi were all selectively bred from the mustard plant.
Per kilogram, in the USA, asparagus has a larger carbon footprint than pork or veal. This is because of carbon emissions from transportation. Much of asparagus in the USA comes from Peru.
Onions are the only commodity banned from futures trading in the United States. The Onion Futures Act was passed in 1958 a man named Vincent Kosuga acquired so much power that at one point he controlled 98% of onions in America. Farmers and buyers were so angry that Eisenhower banned the entire market.
Near Frankfurt in central Germany, a type of cheese is served that is topped with raw onions. It is locally known as “hand cheese with music.” When strangers ask why it is called this way, they are told: “the music comes later.” This is a running gag pointing at the farts caused by the onions. Cheese is served in the water, and is pickled. It smells and tastes absolutely putrid.
President Ronald Reagan once attempted to consider ketchup a vegetable to make up for budget cuts to school lunches.
Carrots are orange for political reasons. In the 17th century, Dutch growers cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange. Before this, they were mostly yellow, white or purple.
The same chemical which gives beets their “earthy” taste is also partially responsible for the smell that occurs when rain falls after a long dry spell.
Fenugreek contains an extremely potent aromatic compound called solotone and when consumed in heavy amounts, can prompt a sweet maple-y odor in sweat and urine.
Cauliflowers grow so fast that sometimes you can hear the florets rubbing together. This sound is known as ‘cauliflower creak.’
The potato has been studied by NASA as an important food source for long space voyages, and that the number of potato plants (grown onboard a space ship) needed to sustain one astronaut is also the number of potato plants required to process the air breathed by one astronaut.
The reason Popeye eats spinach is because of an error in the calculation of its iron content by chemist Erich von Wolf in 1870. He misplaced a decimal point, recording iron as having 35mg of iron per 100g, instead of its true value of 3.5mg/100g. The former is equal to eating part of a paperclip.
Tomatoes, potatoes, paprika, peppers, and eggplant are part of a family called 'nightshade' foods, which contain a toxin called 'solanine.' Ingesting it in large quantities can cause hallucinations, paralysis, and death.
The reason beans actually give you gas is because of sugar found in beans called oligosaccharide that the body cannot fully break down. When these sugars move into the small intestine, bacteria that live there are able to successfully digest them, and it’s them that produce the gas.
Artichokes make other foods taste sweeter due to a chemical known as cynarin. This can be used to your advantage when pairing with wines that would otherwise be extremely dry.
The International Potato Center has successfully grown potatoes in a simulated Mars environment. They grew the plants in a CubeSat which mimicked the Martian air pressure and atmosphere and used saline desert soils analogous to Martian soils as the growing medium.
Mint isn’t just one species of plant, but it's a whole family of related plants known for having aromas in all parts and includes widely used culinary herbs, such as basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and lavender.
In 1986 a California farmer named Mike Yurosek was unhappy that he was unable to sell his imperfect carrots. So he cut and shaved them into cuter versions and called them “baby-cut” carrots. Before the invention of the baby carrot, each American ate 6 lbs of carrot a year, now they eat 11 lbs a year.
In ancient Rome, one of the most common cooking ingredients was called “laser”, from the silphium plant. It does not exist today. It was so delicious that it was harvested to extinction from its natural habitat in what is now Libya. We think that it probably tasted something like garlic.
Peanuts start out as flowers above ground. They then wilt, and the remaining peg goes back into the ground and turns into a peanut.
The state of California produces half of the fruit and vegetables consumed in the US, as well as 99% of artichokes and walnuts and 95% of garlic. If California's economy were counted separately from the rest of the USA, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world and agriculture constitutes only about 2% of California’s economy.
Many observant Buddhists avoid eating the “five pungent roots” (or "five pungent vegetables”) - onions, garlic, chives, leeks, and scallions - because they are thought to have an aphrodisiac effect that distracts them from meditation and other spiritual practices.
Raisa Gorbachev once told a British minister there were more than 300 ways to cook potatoes in the USSR. When he had doubts, she sent him a cookbook and a note saying, “My apologies for being somewhat inaccurate: in fact, there are five hundred, rather than three hundred, recipes to cook potatoes.”
The Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash together so that they would benefit each other. The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize, and the squash spreads along the ground preventing weeds. Together they were known as the Three Sisters.
There exists a kind of garlic called “solo garlic” which doesn’t have separate cloves but is just one solid piece.
Cockroaches won’t eat cucumbers. This is due to a chemical in cucumbers (trans-2-nonenal) which acts as a natural repellent for ants and roaches.
Oregano was practically unheard of in the U.S. until American G.I.s in WWII returned from Italy with a taste for the “pizza herb.”
About 40% of the corn grown in the USA is used for ethanol to add to fuel and another 40% is used for livestock feed.
Some people greatly dislike coriander (cilantro), saying that it smells like soap and tastes like crushed bugs. This reaction has been linked to a set of genes in the human genome with up to 10% of the human population having this genetic disposition.
Children will, on average, eat 54% more fruits and vegetables if recess comes before lunch (versus the other way around).
Wales’ national symbol is a leek because, on the eve of the battle against the Saxons, St. David advised the Britons to wear leeks in their caps so as to easily distinguish friend from foe. This helped to secure a great victory.
Celery was a very popular food in the 1800s through the early 1900s. It was the third most popular menu ingredient in New York City restaurants, behind coffee and tea. The celery cost more than caviar because it was so hard to cultivate in those days.
In 2013, an eight-year-old girl in Russia found the bodies of her parents, brother, and grandmother in a basement after they were poisoned by gas from rotting potatoes.
Broccoli, parsley, Brussels sprouts, and red bell peppers all contain more vitamin C per 100g serving than oranges. Chili peppers contain 400% more.
Italy didn't have tomatoes, India didn't have peppers, and Ireland didn’t have potatoes until the Americas were discovered. That same is true for squash, maize, peanuts, and common bean.
You can’t find broccoli in the wild since it was created by humans by selectively breeding it from wild cabbage.
A drink made of ground orchid tubers named saloop was a popular 18th century alternative to coffee or tea until it became rumored to cure venereal disease. After that drinking it in public became shameful.
Potato chips were invented in 1853 when a cook got fed up with a customer sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen for being too soggy. To spite the customer, he sliced the potato as thin as he could, deep-fried them to hell, and dumped piles of salt on them. They were instantly loved.
Scientists recreated a 9th-century onion and garlic eye remedy from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript and found that it killed 90% of antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria (MRSA).
Tomatoes were put “on trial” on June 28, 1820, in Salem, New Jersey. In front of a courthouse, Robert Johnson ate tomatoes in order to prove they weren’t poisonous. The crowd waited for him to die but he didn't. Before that everyone in America used to think tomatoes were poisonous, due to them being a member of the nightshade family.
Onions are eaten and grown in more countries than any other vegetable, with at least 175 countries producing an onion crop and unlike wheat (the largest global crop by area harvested), the onion is a staple of every major cuisine.
Dry red kidney beans can be toxic if they are cooked in a slow cooker, which doesn't get hot enough to get rid of phytohemagglutinin, which can cause severe symptoms.
In Ancient Egypt, onions were worshipped as they were considered a symbol of eternity. Many Pharaohs were actually buried with onions. Paintings of onions have also been found on the inner walls of pyramids and tombs.
Before 1748 potatoes were considered hogs feed by French and the French Parliament banned cultivations as they thought potato plantations causes leprosy. Antoine Parmentier, a pharmacist changed all that through research and pioneering for potatoes to be accepted. He also placed armed guards around his potato fields, instructing the guards to accept all bribes and allow people to “steal” the crop. Similar strategies were followed by monarchs throughout Europe to encourage potato consumption.
Storing potatoes with an apple keeps them from sprouting.
Jalapeño peppers and Chipotle peppers are the same pepper. Chipotle peppers are Jalapeños that have been aged to maturity, dried, and smoked.
Potatoes have a bad rap but are actually highly beneficial to your health. They are packed with Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Kukoamines which help aid in lowering blood pressure. In fact, scientists have found that humans can survive indefinitely on a diet of just potatoes and butter.