Have you ever wondered why certain foods have certain colors or why some fruits taste sour while others are sweet? The answers may surprise you. Here are some surprising facts about everyday foods that you may not have known, backed by scientific data.
- Carrots were not originally orange
Carrots were originally purple and yellow in color. The orange variety of carrots that we commonly see today was not developed until the 16th century in the Netherlands. This was achieved through selective breeding of yellow and red carrots, resulting in the orange color we know and love. However, purple carrots are still available and contain high levels of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant.
- Apples and pears belong to the same family as roses
Apples, pears, and roses all belong to the Rosaceae family. The family also includes strawberries, raspberries, and almonds. The similarities between these plants lie in their structure, as they all have a similar flower and fruit structure.
- Mushrooms are more closely related to humans than plants
Mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom and are actually more closely related to humans than they are to plants. Both humans and fungi are eukaryotes, meaning our cells have nuclei and other organelles enclosed within membranes. Plants, on the other hand, are members of the plant kingdom and are prokaryotes, meaning their cells lack a nucleus.
- Bananas are berries, but strawberries are not
Despite their name, strawberries are not actually berries. They are considered an “aggregate fruit” because their seeds are on the outside, attached to the skin. Bananas, on the other hand, are considered a berry because their seeds are inside the fruit.
- Honey never spoils
Honey has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs and is still edible after thousands of years. This is because of its high sugar content, which prevents the growth of bacteria. In addition, the acidity and low water content of honey also contribute to its long shelf life. You can read more here.
- Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine
Both caffeine and theobromine are stimulants found in chocolate. The amount of these compounds varies depending on the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate has higher levels of both caffeine and theobromine compared to milk chocolate.
- Pineapples can tenderize meat
Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein. This makes pineapples a natural meat tenderizer. In fact, bromelain is often used in commercial meat tenderizers.
- Garlic is a natural antibiotic
Garlic has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Some studies have even shown that garlic can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- The world’s hottest pepper is the Carolina Reaper
The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world, with a Scoville heat unit rating of over 1.5 million. To put that in perspective, a jalapeño pepper has a rating of 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units. The intense heat of the Carolina Reaper comes from the presence of capsaicin, which triggers the brain’s pain receptors.
- Avocados are berries, too
Like bananas, avocados are also considered a berry. They have a large seed in the center and a fleshy fruit around it. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and are packed with nutrients such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
In conclusion, there are many surprising facts about the everyday foods we eat. These insights give us a glimpse into the fascinating history and properties of the foods we enjoy every day.