The Ancient Origins of Our Favorite Fruits and Vegetables;; A Comparison Between Wild and Domesticated Produce

Have you ever wondered where your favorite fruit or vegetable originated from? Often, we buy certain foods and we never stop to think about how they came to be the awesome delicacies they are today, Believe it or not the variety of fruits and vegetables we all know and love didn't just magically appear on earth with a perfect taste and texture. It was through thousands of years of cultivation, possible mutations and growth that we achieved the great tasting produce we all know and love . Take a glimpse into the strange and mysterious evolution of produce by checking out the ancient historical findings of these 10 most widely known fruits and vegetables.

1.Pineapple

bromilia pinguin the origin of pinapple

Origin: Bromelia pinguin

Who doesn't love our summertime favorite the pineapple? A great additions to smoothies, mixed drinks and a variety of deserts. With the common misconception of pineapple originating from tropical islands such as Hawaii or Costa Rica. Experts believe pineapple came from sects Paraguay or Southern Brazil. Wild Pineapple or known by its root name the Bromilia pinguin is a small circular fruit with a very high acidity content.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129605209@N06/26030404132/

It is said that people should not consume this fruit raw due to its acidity content and can cause burning of the moth/ lips. The end result of years of cultivation is a combination of these small circular fruits forming together to evolve into the pineapple we know today.

2. Mango

Origin: Spondias pinnata

The first known mango was said to have been recorded in Hindu scriptures which date back to over 5000 years, The Spondias primata or wild mango originated from various areas of India.

Source http://www.phytoimages.siu.edu/imgs/pelserpb/r/Anacardiaceae_Spondias_pinnata_42374.html

Described as having a taste similar to that of turpentine, the mango has come a long way in its history of evolution and or cultivation. Migration of the mango began when Persian traders brought mangoes to the middle east where Portuguese traders spread mangoes to areas such as the Philippines, and South America. The origin of the name of mango comes from the Portuguese word manga. To this day there are over a thousand different varieties of mangoes all consisting of different sizes, shapes and flavors.

3. Carrot 

Origin: Daucus carota

Our staple vegetable the carrot hasn't always had the tasty semi-sweet flavor we've grown to love . The origin of the carrot known as the Daucus Carota is a medium sized shrub that emits the same odor as a regular carrot.

https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/daucus-carota-gajar-beej-extract-12502467548.html

The Daucus Carota has a lot of the same qualities as a carrot except it is much more pale in color and the "carrot tops" or leaves aren't edible as the common carrot of today. The wild carrot cannot be eaten unless it is boiled for hours until it is completely soft. The Daucus Carota was said to have originated from the Iranian plateau, this includes some parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan

4. Watermelon

ancient origins of watermelon citrullus colocynthis

Origin: Citrullus colocynthis

Watermelon often thought to have tropical origins, was said to originate from a variety deserts in sects of Africa. The Citrullus colocynthis exterior is more comparable to that of a honeydew melon, while the interior has a swirly/yellowish pattern with the same features of a regular watermelon.

http://www.africanplants.senckenberg.de/root/index.php?page_id=78&id=365

Estimated to have been cultivated for more than 3,000 plus years the Citrullus colocynthis was said to be cultivated by ancient Egyptians. Archaeologist records found various sarcophagi of dead Egyptians containing leaves of the Citrullus colocynthis A symbol to nourish and hydrate the dead on their journey through the afterlife.

5. Peach

the origins of the peach prunus persica

Origin: Prunus persica  

The origins of the peach are relatively unknown but many theorize that the peach came from the Prunus persica. The Prunus persica in a small cherry - like fruit that has a semi sweet and sour taste.

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/peach-prunus-persica-cardinal-bildagentur-onlinemcphoto-mullerscience-photo-library.html

The Prunus persica was said to have originated from areas of Iran or Persia. But, recent studies claim that the fruit actually originates from parts of Australia. The wild peach known in china as the quandong has nearly the same qualities as a peach as far as how it is grown. The main difference between the quondong and a peach is in its nutritional breakdown. The wild peach is made up of 50% fat, while the peach is made up of 87% carbs.

6. Strawberry 

Origin: Fragaria vesca 

The wild strawberry known as the Fragaria vesca has nearly the same appearance as the strawberry was all know today. A few minor differences include the small narrow shape, firm texture and lack of flavor.

 

https://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/29203-product.html

The Fragaria vesca was said to have been used medicinally in times of ancient Rome. As the Fragaria vesca made its way out of the wilderness in the 1500s, Charles the 5th demanded that all royal gardens have strawberries. Due to the lack of flavor and small size of the fragaria vesca, the wild strawberry didn't receive much appreciation from fellow English gardeners. New varieties of strawberries were made from 3 varieties of strawberries known as the Fragaria virginiana, Fragaria moschata, and of course Fragaria vesca. It wasn't until the Fragaria chileonsis,( a strain of strawberry introduced by a french spy) was crossed with a Fragaria virginiana that we saw appreciation for the strawberry. The cross between the Chilean strawberry and the Virginiana strawberry created the strawberry we know today. The common strawberry is known as the Fragaria Ananassa

7. Avocado 

ancient origins of the avocado

Origin: Agocuate

The avocado commonly known for its addition in many Mexican style dishes, originated from South Central Mexico. Experts claim that the first avocados grew around 5,000 B.C before they were cultivated by humans.The original avocado known as the agocuate didn't have nearly as much flesh as the avocados we know today. The first avocados mostly consisted of seed, and were nearly inedible.


8. Tomato 

ancient origins of the tomato

Origin: Solanum pimpinellifolium


The tomato was first cultivated more then 1300 years ago by the Aztecs and was very small in size. Comparable to the cherry tomatoes we incorporate in our everyday salads

source : https://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Currant-Tomato-Solanum-pimpinellifolium/dp/B07518T7XZ

. A common misconception of the Solanum pimpinellifolium during ancient times is that is was poisonous, due to it's size and shape resembling that of the nightshade berry. Although, there were many variety of tomatoes scattered throughout the world, it was believed the Solanum pimpinellifolium was the original tomato. Through experimentation and cultivation of a combination of these variety of different tomatoes. We have the tomato we know today.


9. Banana

origins of the banna

Origin: Musa acuminita


The banana we know today in comparison to the almost inedible wild banana of ancient times is quite staggering. The wild banana known as the Musa Acuminita mostly consisted of large black seeds which made the wild banana very difficult to eat

source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Wild-banana-Musa-acuminata-var-chinensis-or-var-burmannica-from-Luang-Namtha-Laos_fig1_50595480

The Musa Acuminita was said to have been cultivated for over 6500 years and was believed to originate from areas of New Guinea.Bred with the Musa Balbisina (a larger form of the wild banana) to create the plantain.Which is the base for the variety of bananas we have today. The common banana we all know today is known as the Cavendish. One of the sweetest varieties of the banana.


10. Apple

Origin: Malus sieversii


One of our most beloved fruit the apple believed to have originated from the Tien Shen Mountains of Central Asia. Cultivation of the apple was dates back to more then 7000 years . First known domesticated apples came from the variety known as the Malus sieversii crab-apple of Kazakhstan.

The Malus sieversii crab-apple had the most flesh, best taste, and longest lasting shelf life of all the variety of apples at the time. Due to it's great qualities the Malus sieversii Crab apple became the base for the variety of apples we enjoy today.

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