Food is essential for life, and there is so much to learn about it. Learning more about food can help us to appreciate it more and to make better choices about what we eat. Food is a fascinating topic, and there is always something new to learn about it.
Here are 10 interesting facts that you may not have known about the foods you eat.
(1) Almonds are not true nuts
Botanically speaking, almonds are actually seeds. They belong to a category known as “drupes” or “stone fruits.” A drupe is a fleshy fruit with a stony endocarp or pit surrounding the seed.
2) Carrots were originally purple and yellow
Ancient carrots came in a variety of colours, including purple and yellow. The orange carrot we commonly eat now is a result of selective breeding in the 16th century in the Netherlands. This bred an orange variety to pay tribute to the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange-Nassau. So, if you see purple, yellow, or other colored carrots in the store, don’t be afraid to try them! They are just as delicious and nutritious as orange carrots.
3) Nutmegs can cause hallucinations
The active compound in nutmeg responsible for its hallucinogenic properties is myristicin. Ingesting a large amount of nutmeg can lead to symptoms such as hallucinations, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and a general feeling of unwellness.
However, the hallucinations caused by nutmeg are often described as unpleasant, and the side effects, including dry mouth, increased heart rate, and dizziness, can be quite distressing. Additionally, consuming a large amount of nutmeg can be toxic and harmful to your health.
(4) Honey is regurgitated by bees
The Forager Bees usually collect nectar from flowers using their long, tube-like tongues. This nectar is stored in their honey stomach, where enzymes break it down into sugars. Back in the hive, they regurgitate and dehydrate the nectar, transforming it into the thick, sweet substance we know as honey which is sealed in honeycomb cells for future consumption.
(5) The heaviest tomato in the world weighed 8.61 pounds
This impressive record was achieved by a tomato grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma, USA, in 1986. The record-breaking tomato was a variety of beefsteak tomatoes and is a remarkable example of what can happen when ideal growing conditions and expert gardening come together.
(6) Gelatin isn’t vegetarian
Gelatin is derived from animal sources, typically the collagen extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals, most commonly pigs and cows. The process of making gelatin involves boiling these animal parts, which releases the collagen, and then further processing it into a gelatinous substance.
(7) Tea bags were created by accident
In 1904, a New York tea merchant named Thomas Sullivan began sending out samples of tea leaves to his customers in small silk bags. The intention was for the customers to open the bags and use the tea leaves, but many of them mistakenly thought the silk bags were meant for steeping. Sullivan noticed this and that marked the beginning of the tea bag’s intentional invention.
(8) mageirocophobia is real
Mageirocophobia, also known as “cooking phobia,” is a specific phobia characterized by an intense and irrational fear of cooking or preparing meals. This fear can be related to concerns about making mistakes, causing foodborne illnesses, or general discomfort with kitchen activities.
(9) French Fries are not from France
French fries are called so because the term “French” in this context refers to the method of cutting the potatoes rather than their place of origin. They likely originated in Belgium, where French-speaking Belgians began cutting potatoes into long, thin strips and frying them in the late 17th century.
(10) It takes hundreds of licks to get to the centre of Tootsie pop
A famous study conducted by a group of Engineering students at Purdue University and published in 2015 estimated that it took an average of 364 licks to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop. Keep in mind that this number is just an approximation, and in reality, it can take more or fewer licks depending on individual factors and conditions. The best way to find out for sure is to conduct your own Tootsie Pop licking experiment.