As much as grocery stores like to label things “natural” and “organic,” the truth is that even the most high-end produce has been manipulated beyond recognition by the generations of human farmers and scientists that selectively bred them.
In fact, you probably wouldn’t even recognize your favorite fruit or vegetable if you saw it a thousand years ago. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these six examples and see if you can recognize them.
This is what modern peaches look like today. Nothing too shocking, right? Believe it or not, peaches are 64% larger and sweeter than they used to be.
But thousands of years ago, they looked more like cherries!
Thanks to human farming practices and selective breeding, many of our modern staple crops are completely unrecognizable. Take corn: 6.6 % of modern corn is made of a sugar solution, and its kernels are moist.
Our founding fathers wouldn’t recognize the stuff! Undomesticated corn was much smaller. It was also only 1.6% sugar and had a dry, potato-like texture. Not very tasty, huh?
Carrots are great for our eyesight and are easily identified by their bright orange hue.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case. The bright color of the root is a modern development. Ancient carrots were actually thin and white or purple.
Feel like whipping up some eggplant Parmesan?
You’d need a lot more than one if you were making it with undomesticated eggplant. These came in variety of shapes and colors, and had a prominent spine connecting it to branches.
Mmm, everybody loves bananas!
Modern banana have smaller seeds and are packed with nutrients. But undomesticated bananas, which originated in Papua, New Guinea 10,000 years ago, were difficult to peel and had hundreds of hard seeds.
Today you can buy watermelon without annoying black seeds.
But this 17th century painting by Giovanni Stanchi shows us how watermelons have evolved from a sectional fruit into what we know today. Look at all that rind!
It is crazy how just a handful of years (and cultivation) can make the food we know and love look totally different! We wonder what these fruits and veggies will look like in another hundred years.
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