Fruits and vegetables have been an essential part of our diet, perhaps ever since time began. They give color and balance to our dishes, and also provide the bulk of the vitamins that we need in everyday life. We can do a lot to our fruits and vegetables — we eat them raw or cooked, chilled and frozen, and combine them with other fruits and vegetables in a variety of creative and amazing ways. We also drink them in juices or make smoothies out of them, and we can use them in other ways such as for seasoning for other foods. Some fruits are even used for household purposes other than cooking and eating.
Fruits and vegetables deserve a little more recognition than being just a familiar sight in gardens and orchards, markets, kitchens, and on our tables. There’s so much more to know about fruits and vegetables, and these facts are surprisingly interesting! Stick around and enjoy this gallery — you will adore these fruits even more!
A fruit that grows predominantly in tropical countries, we all know that a pineapple is a delicious fruit which is great for making juices, savory dishes, and of course, desserts.
Apart from being rich in vitamins A and C as well as fiber, there’s a little bit more you must know about pineapples for your own benefit.
Bromelain, a protelytic enzyme found in fresh pineapples, is an excellent anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and a digestive aid. It also has chemicals that impede the growth of tumors, thus making the pineapple a good fruit to help prevent cancer. As bromelain breaks down proteins, it makes pineapples a great meat tenderizer. Now you know why your delicious glazed Christmas hams are flavored with pineapples — they’re actually injected with pineapple juice.
These strange-looking fruits bear one of the most prized nuts in the world. But do you know that the cashew fruit and nut are related to poison ivy? The nuts are encased by a shell which has powerful chemical irritants just like poison ivy.
But why aren’t we getting violently itchy when we eat cashews (unless some of us have nut allergies)? It’s because manufacturers roast the the nuts at a very high temperature to completely destroy such toxins.
Some of us (including this author) who have never seen where kiwis grow think that these fuzzy-skins grow on a fruit tree. But we’re quite wrong! The kiwis — or more correctly, kiwifruits — actually grow on vines and are cultivated like grapes. The kiwifruit is also called Chinese gooseberry, in case you also don’t know that fact.
From salads to desserts to juices, a pomegranate proves to be a versatile fruit. Pomegranate, which reveals gem-like bright red edible seeds, is actually a berry that grows on shrubs or small trees. To know if a pomegranate is ripe, tap the fruit lightly. If it makes a metallic sound, then it’s ready to eat!
Saffron has the reputation as the most revered and expensive spice in the world because of its rich color, flavor, scent, as well as the painstaking time and effort needed when harvesting it. For thousands of years it has been an important and extremely precious spice.
Would you believe that saffron is actually a part of a flower? No? But we’re not putting you on! It’s true that saffron is actually part of a flower, specifically a stigma from a flower saffron crocus (Crocus sativus).
If you are moody but are hesitant to try Prozac, try eating beets. They have high amounts of betaine which relaxes your mind and they also have anti-depressant properties.
Want to amp up your sex drive? Try beets as your natural Viagra. During the ancient Roman times, people used beets as an aphrodisiac. And it’s just not an old-wives’ tale — beets have been actually found to contain high quantities of boron, which is directly responsible for the production of sex hormones.
What would the world be today if cocoa beans had not been discovered? Christopher Columbus is said to have discovered cocoa beans in the Caribbean and brought them back to Europe during the early 16th century. But because he also brought along more exciting treasures in his galleon, the humble beans were ignored.
But nowadays, cocoa beans are probably the most highly-valued beans in the world, because of them we are able to enjoy one of our most indulgent pleasures, chocolate.
Cantaloupes are varieties of melon. Like melons and its other relatives – cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes and gourds – cantaloupes grow on vines. Aside from its sweet, orange flesh, the seeds of the cantaloupe can also be eaten. The seeds can either be dried or roasted, and then salted — they’re guaranteed to be a delicious and nutritious snack.
Peanuts (or groundnuts) are not actually nuts, but a legume, related to the beans and lentils. However, they are prepared, cooked, and eaten in the manner of true nuts. One of the most popular products made from them is, of course, the partner of jam for your sandwich, peanut butter. You don’t have to worry about eating lots of peanuts or peanut butter, because peanuts are high in monounsaturated oils, making them cholesterol-free. In short, peanuts are good for you (unless you are allergic to them).
Bananas are easy to eat, easy to digest, nutritious, and delicious. Although the plant where bananas come from is popularly called a “banana tree,” it’s not actually a tree. It is not woody and does not have branches. The “tree” is actually a tall herb, and therefore the fruits themselves are technically berries. Apart from the fruits, the banana hearts are also eaten and used in many dishes especially in Asian countries.
Cranberries, where the sauce is made as a traditional accompaniment of your Thanksgiving turkey, grow in dwarf shrubs or trailing vines. The cranberry is just one of the three fruits native to North America, the other two being blueberry and Concord grape. Bounceberry is another name for cranberry, because it tends to bounce when it’s good and ripe.
Black peppers are one of the most ubiquitous spices used all around the world, but we have little idea where these come from. Do you know that black peppers are actually fruits that grow on vines? Technically, peppers are berries which turn into dark red when ripe. Black peppers are made from unripe fruits which are cooked and then dried, which become peppercorns. They can also be ground or powdered.
Avocados can be called the cream from Nature because of their creamy flesh. In fact, vegans use avocados as a substitute for real cream for their desserts such as mousse. Although avocado has the highest fat content compared to other fruits, it is otherwise healthy because it has mostly monounsaturated fats, which are good for the heart.
Apart from using them for your salads, desserts and guacamole, avocados are also used for beauty and wellness purposes. Many skin and hair products are derived from avocado. In fact, you can make your own natural face mask at home using avocados, along with other natural ingredients such as bananas, egg yolks, lemons, and honey.