A majority of the people today take for granted how their favorite spices, fruits and vegetables are produced. Many of them cannot tell you how they are grown as they can simply take a trip to the grocery store and buy what they desire.
This has no doubt created a form of dissonance between the general population and the processes of how food is actually grown and harvested. Here are 15 examples of how some popular foods are grown in hopes that this will enlighten you.
It is startling to find a great number of people who think that pineapples grow on trees. That is not true because in fact, pineapples are leafy plants which grow out of the ground. It consists of tough and stocky leaves which spirals around a central system.
The leaves of a healthy pineapple can grow up to about 5 feet in length. It is interesting to note that the fruit is actually the result of dozens of fruit-producing flowers that have fused into a single fruit, which is capped with a “crown” which sports numerous short leaves.
#2 Sesame Seeds
These nutty seeds of the sesame plant which are famous for adorning your burger buns are believed to be among the oldest cultivated oil seed crops. They were domesticated well over 3000 years ago.
Sesame is an annual plant growing to approximately 50 to 100 cm tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm long. Sesame seeds are protected by a capsule which only bursts when the seeds are completely ripe.
This vegetable is known for having silvery green leaves and thick stems topped with a flourish of pine cone-like flower buds.
The buds of the artichoke will develop at the tips of their 1-inch-thick stalks. The central bud is normally the largest and the first to mature. It would be harvested with a slice through the stem just below the bud and will then be ready to be processed.
#4 Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts are usually grown for their edible buds. This vegetable has long been popular in Brussels located in Belgium as it may have originated and gained its name there.
The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and they look uncannily like miniature cabbages.
Caper plants have fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. This leafy plant is best known for the edible flower buds it bears which are called capers.
They are often used as a seasoning while the fruit which are known as caper berries are usually consumed after they have been pickled.
Many people are obsessing over pistachio nuts these days because not only are they the lowest calorie among a variety of nuts, but they are rich in a variety of antioxidants and nutrients.
Pistachio trees are long living with a large tap root and they can grow to approximately 20-30 feet in height. They are actually a member of the cashew family originating from Central Asia and the Middle East.
Peanuts or groundnuts are legume crops grown mainly for its edible seeds. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics.
Peanut seeds are planted about two inches deep in sandy soil, one every three or four inches, in rows about three feet apart. They are harvested and dried in order to be ready for consumption.
#8 Vanilla Bean
Most people are familiar with vanilla extracts which come in little glass bottles and they are used in cakes and deserts. Vanilla is actually derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla.
They are vine-like plants which grow on trees and these vines can grow up to 30 feet long. The vanilla pods are picked when they are still unripe, and then submerged in hot water and laid out to dry for anywhere from two to six months.
The Kiwi fruit is also known as the Chinese gooseberry. It is the edible berries of several species of woody vines.
The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit is oval, about the size of a large chicken egg about 5–8 cm in length and 4.5–5.5 cm in diameter. The fruit has a fibrous, hairy greenish-brown skin and bright green flesh with rows of tiny black edible seeds.
Cashew nuts grow on tress and they are tropical evergreen trees that produce the cashew seed as well as the cashew apple.
Cashews are cultivated primarily in Brazil and India where the “apples” are often made into beverages or jams as they are highly perishable. After the cashew nuts detach, they are dried in the sun and processed to be ready for consumption.
Almond trees grow to about 4–10 m in height and they have trunks which measure up to 30 cm in diameter. Almonds are also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree.
The flowers are white to pale pink, 3–5 cm diameter with five petals and the leaves are 3–5 inches long with a serrated margin.
Saffron is the king of all spices as it has been described as being worth more than it’s weight in gold. Saffron is derived from the saffron crocus bulb which is an autumn blooming crocus.
The spice is actually the red stigmas of this crocus flower. Each flower will only produce three stigmas and each saffron crocus bulb will only produce one flower. This extremely low yield is the reason why this spice is so very expensive.
Cinnamon is a spice and an aromatic condiment obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum.
Cinnamon farmers first shave the outer bark off the trees, and then shave off the inner bark which is the cinnamon layer. The cinnamon is then dried and ready for use.
The cranberry is a Native American wetland fruit which grows on trailing vines much like a strawberry. These bright reddish-pink berries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay.
They have slender and wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves with dark pink flowers.
Cacao refers to any of the food products derived from cacao beans which are the seeds or nuts of the cacao tree.
A cocoa pod has a rough rind about 2 to 3 cm thick and it is filled with a sweet and gluey pulp. It has a lemonade-like taste and it encloses 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and a pale lavender to dark brownish purple color.