Have you ever wondered how certain types of food come to be? You’ll be surprised at how weird some pretty normal looking spices, fruits and vegetables actually grow.
In this day and age, we no longer need to plant out our food in our backyard since we can easily get them from local grocery stores and supermarkets. However, since we no longer have the need to grow our own food, most of us do not even know how they are actually cultivated.
Be prepared because how these next 11 featured vegetables and fruits actually grow will blow your mind. It is probably not the way many people expect at all!
Cashews are considered as a type of nut but if you think cashews grow on the ground like peanuts, you are wrong! Believe it or not, cashews are actually the seed of a mango-sized fruit called the cashew apple. Yup, we are eating seeds instead of fruit now!
Don’t believe me? Look at the picture above. Notice the weird dangling hook underneath? That’s the cashew nut (or should I say, seed) you are seeing there.
Can we eat the fruit? Of course! It has a delicate flesh with a sweet and tangy aftertaste. However, it is easily bruised and impossible to be sold commercially. So, if you happen to come upon a cashew apple, eat it!
Saffron or kumkum in Malay is a type of spice that is usually used in fancy, high-end briyani dishes as well as beauty products. It’s considered to be the most expensive spice in the world where one kilo of saffron can cost thousands of Ringgit! This is because it takes roughly 75,000 flowers to produce 1 pound of the spice, which is almost entirely harvested by hand.
Unlike turmeric, saffron is not harvested as a root of a plant. Instead, it is the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus flower. Only a tiny amount is needed in cooking since adding too much can make the food bitter.
From the way the weird, hairy kiwi fruit looks, it’s pretty obvious that it is grown on a tree. But did you know that kiwis are actually berries that are grown on vines just like grapes? Furthermore, kiwis require special care and attention because even a slight change in weather can ruin the chances for the vine to bear fruit.
Despite the rather New Zealander sounding namesake, kiwis are in fact Asian! They are natives of the Yangtze River valley in the north and Zhejiang Province on the eastern coast.
A common spice in Malaysia, cinnamon or kayu manis is actually the inner bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree (note the word “kayu”). So, the next time you find a cinnamon stick in your curry or briyani, remember, you’re looking at a piece of a tree bark. Who knew trees could taste and smell so heavenly?
5. Baby Corn
When you see the word “baby”, you think of something small or miniature in size. In the case of baby corn, it’s spot on as it is actually regular sized corn that is picked before the pollination process is done so it never matures. For such a weird looking baby fruit, it sure is crunchy.
Did you know that wasabi is made from vegetables? This Japanese equivalent of jalepeno and habanero is actually a root that grows in cool, moist, mountainous areas or under a forest canopy in nature. In Japan, it’s commonly grown in wasabi farms in cold, shallow waters like the picture above.
7. Sesame Seed
The sesame seed is of course, the seed of a sesame plant. It used to be eaten by Roman soldiers as a source of energy. Sesame seeds are harvested from sesame flowers. It may be just a seed but the flavour it gives to food has made it popular among Asians who love to put sesame in everything, be it in seed or oil form.
Remember those zombie movies where their weird hands would push out from the ground? Asparagus is one of those vegetables that sprouts from the ground just like that! Grown from a seed, asparagus starts out as fern-like plant and takes about 2 years to reach maturity. The next time you are walking and see a claw-like hand jutting out, don’t just run. Check it out first. It may just be an asparagus… if you are lucky.
Pepper is the most widely used spice in the world and many think of pepper as a seed due to its, well, seed-like shape and texture. Actually, pepper is a type of berry that grows in cluster of 150 berries or more. So, if you see tiny green berries on a vine, please don’t pluck and eat them. They are not deformed grapes, trust me.
Each and every one of us have accidentally taken a bite of it when eating curry or briyani and the taste is as overpowering as a punch in the face. When you see cloves or cengkih, you never think that it is actually a flower bud that grows on a tree called a clove tree.
Vanilla is the mother of all flavours. It brings you comfort whenever you feel indecisive choosing an ice-cream or biscuit flavour. Most of us know of its use as a flavouring but only a few know that it is actually a type of spice. However, even less of us know that it is actually a bean pod that comes from an orchid-like plant. Who knew orchids tasted so good, right?
So, there you go, people, 11 ordinary vegetables and fruits with extraordinary yet weird ways of growing that will make you change the way you look at them forever. If you know of bizarre ways that other types of food are grown, do leave a comment below!