We may underrate the appearance of everyday fruit and veggies but did you know they haven’t always looked like they currently do? Through selective breeding, humans have been molding fruits and vegetables to our liking, changing the way they look drastically over the years. Here are ten fruits and vegetables that were very different before we started to grow them.
10. Corn: The evolution of corn is a great example of how we can significantly change a vegetable over time. Corn comes from a Mexican grass called teosinte.
The barely edible teosinte is small, skinny and it has very few kernels. Back then these kernels were also hard to reach since a hard shell encased them. To peel it, you had to hit it with a hard object several times. It’s also speculated that it had a very dry taste like a raw potato.
The link between corn and teosinte wasn’t very easy to find. Actually, for many years nobody knew where the corn came from since it doesn’t look like anything that grows in the wild. It was only after finding several similar chromosomes between the two that this link was determined. One scientist even managed to pop a teosinte kernel.
The cultivation of teosinte to modern-day corn came about as, for each subsequent harvest, we selective bred the more desirable teosinte plants that had larger and more rows of kernels.
This led to corn we know today which is easy to peel and a thousand times larger. Modern corn also contains four times more sugar compared to the old natural version of corn.
9. Avocado: The millennials’ favorite fruit has gone through quite a lot of change, and it’s all for the better. In the wild, avocados are tiny and can easily fit into the center of your palm growing to about three inches in diameter.
The pit of the wild avocado takes almost all the space inside the fruit leaving little room for the fruit’s famous green flesh. Roughly speaking, it would take close to ten wild avocados to get the same amount of flesh that you would get with a single modern version of the fruit.
Worse yet, the little flesh that it has doesn’t taste very good. It has a rougher, grittier quality in contrast to the creamy and tasty characteristic of the modern avocado.
The wild avocado was also encased in a hard shell, quite different from the leathery, fleshy kind of skin that the current avocado has.
Thankfully our ancestors improved the fruit in significant ways, selectively breeding it, allowing us to have this tasty fruit that goes so well on toast.
8. Peach: The peach is another example of our ancestors using selective breeding to create a bigger and tastier version of the fruit. Domesticated by the Chinese around 4000 B.C., The original peach was tiny and resembled a cherry.
It had a waxy skin and only 64% of edible flesh. It also had a taste that was described as earthly, sweet, sour and slightly salty, similar to a lentil. Also, a big amount of the wild peach was occupied by the fruit’s stone, close to 34 %. After thousands of years, farmers got to the version of the peach we have today.
The current modern peach has soft, edible skin and is 64 times larger. It also has 90 percent of edible flesh, a vast increase from the wild peach. The stone in the current peach has also dramatically decreased in size, making up for only 10 percent of the fruit.
The current peach is also 27% juicier and tastes four percent sweeter. All around, the peach has just gotten better through the ages.
7. Eggplant. The wild variation of the eggplant is completely unrecognizable from the modern version we have today. Eggplants used to come in a variety of shapes, but most of them were round.
In fact, the name eggplant comes from the fact that they were often white and round, hence looking like an egg that grows from a plant.
They had a range of different colors like yellow, white and even blue. Some of the earliest versions of the eggplant also had spines that connected to its flower. It’s believed that the domestication of the eggplant started in places like China, India, and Thailand.
They were initially used only for medicinal reasons because the wild eggplant had a bitter aftertaste. Through selective breeding, we arrived at the modern eggplant with its purple color and oblong shape.
The spine has disappeared, giving way to its stem that connects to its flower. Better yet, the eggplant is now edible and delicious.
6. Strawberry: Often, humans molded fruits and vegetables to make them taste better. However, the opposite happened in the case of the wild strawberry known as Fragaria vesca.
The wild strawberry tasted sweeter and is considered the better version of the fruit. However, the wild strawberry is much smaller than its modern version. So why did the modern version of the strawberry lose its flavor? Reportedly, that’s because other factors started coming into play influencing how these fruits evolved.
Farmers started favoring size, resistance to disease, and a better and bigger appearance which ended up decreasing the taste of the fruit. The modern strawberry started to take shape when a French spy brought the Chilean version of the strawberry over to France.
This variation of the fruit was significantly bigger than the ones grown in Europe at the time. The two species of strawberry were crossed and gave rise to the modern strawberry of today.
Fun fact, what may look like seeds in the wild strawberry are actually called achenes. They are themselves tiny fruits with tiny seeds inside of them.
5. Tomatoes: For thousands of years, we have shaped tomatoes to our taste. The development of the tomato took place in two phases. First, there was a wild ancestor of tomatoes.
These fruits were similar in size to fruits, and there were different species such as yellow, green and purple. The first cultivated tomatoes are small and yellow, called Golden Apple. These wild tomatoes have become cherry tomatoes after a long time.
From the cherry tomato, humans have finally developed large fruit red tomatoes, which are the most recognizable fruit form. These changes were not all the better. Over the years, tomatoes have lost some of the sugar-producing genes and their taste has declined.
Because of the selective breeding of all tomatoes, most believe that there is little room to improve the genetic properties of fruits. In the near future, tomatoes can maintain almost the same state.
4. Carrot: The wild carrot does not look like an orange carrot we know today. They were found in Persia around the 10th century and were either white or purple. These carrots had very thin roots, strong and strong taste.
These carrot seeds are paving the way to Europe, which has been selectively raised for centuries to reduce bitterness and increase sweetness and size. These improved carrots are still available in various colors like red, yellow, violet.
The bright orange version of modern carrot only appeared for political reasons. Back in the 17th century the Netherlands was mainly called carrot breeder, and orange varieties were cultivated.
The Netherlands saw it as a tribute to Oriental William who led the Netherlands into independence, so we began to increase this change in wealth. From there, the color remained and became the main version of the carrot we know.
3. cucumber. I do not think wild cucumber refers to the modern version of modern cucumber. Wild cucumber has a unique appearance and is easy to find. It is oval or spherical and covered with spikes.
These tips usually reach a point at least 2 inches in diameter, but they extend up to 8 inches. These wild cucumbers usually have four seeds in them. It’s similar to the cucumber we know, but this sweet version of the vegetables is not edible but is considered toxic.
Several reports say that you can kill yourself by taking them. Cucumbers are considered unique in India. Originally grown for medical reasons. Modern cucumbers are not very similar to savages.
It has a cylindrical shape with several seeds and can reach 24 inches. The modern cucumber also has little food, low in calories and humidity is around 90%. …….
2. Banana: wild banana is very different from the yellow snack we have today. Originally, they were stalky and hard, filled with large and tough seeds that were spread across the fruit’s interior. Because of the hard seeds, these bananas were inedible.
That’s why most assume that these wild fruits were cooked and then eaten. Otherwise humans would not have started cultivating it. It’s believed that the first bananas were formed 10,000 years ago in the region that is now Papua New Guinea.
The bananas we have today are a hybrid of two wild banana varieties, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, which eventually developed into the well-known bright yellow fruit with its peel-able cover.
The current banana has smaller seeds, more nutrients and tastes better than its wild counterpart. However, it’s said that the fruit needs to evolve or they might go extinct.
That’s because right now these bananas lack genetic diversity. This makes the fruit increasingly vulnerable to pests and diseases that could devastate the banana industry. Hopefully scientist will manage to find a viable alternative before it comes to that.
1. Watermelon: Watermelon has actually existed for thousands of years and is one of the fruits whose appearance has undergone fundamental changes for many years.
The first recorded harvest of the fruit happened 5000 years ago in Egypt. Those watermelons were unrecognizable by today’s standard. They were a fraction of the size they are now, measuring around two inches in diameter.
They were also extremely bitter, tasting nothing like the sweet fruit we have today. Over time, humans kept cultivating and molding the watermelon. By the 17th century, the watermelon from the outside largely resembled the ones of today.
However, the inside part of the fruit would probably be considered bizarre by people today. Paintings from the era show a sliced open watermelon having swirly shapes inside with six triangular pieces and a spiral of seeds.
The watermelon’s flesh was also a lighter red. Over time we got to the modern, fleshier version of the watermelon. The fruit is now over 1500 times bigger than the original wild watermelon. It’s fleshy interior also increased in size and became a more vibrant red over time. All our human effort made the watermelon bigger, juicier and taste sweeter.
After going through the list of fruits that changed over the years, I am sure you will be surprised; I was surprised when I got this information also. So, what fruit or vegetable do you think changed the most? I hope your perception of this fruit does not change.