It’s not a secret that today’s vegetables and fruits look very different from their ancestors. Humanity has made significant efforts to improve their taste and look. In this article, you’ll see how bananas, eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables looked before humans decided to change them.
Bright Side suggests taking a short tour to the past which will help you understand how lucky we are to live in present times.
This 17th-century painting by Giovanni Stanchi shows a type of watermelon that no one in the modern world has seen. Thanks to breeding, scientists managed to modify smaller watermelons with a white interior into the larger red versions we know today.
The people of Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia have enjoyed the taste of bananas since 10,000 years back. However, bananas were domesticated only 7,000 years ago. Still their look and taste were very much different from modern ones. Modern bananas are the hybrid of Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana but their taste and look have been significantly improved.
The first eggplants were grown in China and they looked very different from modern ones. They were thorny, small, and came in different colors from yellow to sky-blue. It has taken a lot of time and efforts to make modern eggplant more elongated and more tasty. But it was worth it, right?
Peaches looked absolutely different before. They were more like cherries rather than the big and juicy fruits we call peaches now. They were first mentioned in China in 4,000 B.C. Since then peaches have significantly changed in their taste and look.
The ancestors of modern cucumbers were thorny and their fruits were full of seeds. But what’s more important is that they were poisonous. They were cultivated to be used for therapeutic purposes. As a food, cucumbers were first used in India more than 6,000 years ago.
Avocados were domesticated in the third millennium B.C. The Aztecs called this fruit “forest oil” (Chronicles of Peru by Pedro Cieza de León, 1553). Initially they only used the avocado pit which they crushed, mixed with soot, and used as medicine. By the way, the avocado pit made up 80% of the entire fruit at that time.
The first tomatoes looked like small and dark berries. They originated from South America. While in Europe, they were believed to be poisonous and were grown as ornamental plants only for a very long time.
Which of the ancestors of modern day fruits or vegetables did you find the most surprising? Tell us in the comments below.