Every day, we eat a variety of foods to keep us healthy and energized. But is there more to our favorite foods than we think? Take a look at these 25 fun food facts that seem too weird to be true — but they are.
25 Fun Food Facts That Are Weird But True
Fascinating Fruit and Vegetable Facts
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrition in our daily lives. Read through these fascinating facts about the crops you pick from the ground, from the tree or from the grocery store shelves.
Strawberries Aren't Technically Berries
Strawberries are an aggregate fruit because they come from a flower with more than one ovary (berries come from flowers with only one ovary). Berries also have their seeds on the inside of the fruit, so blackberries and raspberries aren't berries, either. Bananas, kiwis and cucumbers are examples of true berries!
Fresh Cranberries Can Bounce
Cranberries, which are actually berries, bounce when they are firm and fresh. Cranberry farmers often bounce them as part of a quality test. Cranberries that are older and riper don't bounce and are discarded.
Supermarket Bananas Are Clones of the Same Banana
Fruits and vegetables reproduce from seeds. So how does the common Cavendish banana, which is found in the supermarket and has no seeds, create offspring? Farmers grow these bananas asexually, which means that they often use cuttings from underground stems. Because these bananas are not genetically diverse, scientists are concerned that they could be vulnerable to fungus and disease. Learn more about bananas with some fun banana facts.
Coconuts Kill More People Than Sharks Do
There's a bigger danger at the beach than the threat of sharks: falling coconuts. While sharks only kill around 10 people around the world per year, coconuts falling from trees are known to kill 150 people, which is 15 times higher than shark fatalities. The next time you're at the beach, look up!
Apples Are More Closely Related to Roses Than Oranges
If you've ever heard the expression "comparing apples to oranges," you might be confused. Aren't apples and oranges both fruits? They are — but they're not from the same family at all. Apples, as well as cherries, apricots and pears, are from the family Rosaceae, which is the rose family. Oranges and all other citrus fruit are from the Family Rutaceae. The two fruits haven't had a common ancestor in millions of years.
Spinach's Iron Reputation Began With a Math Error
You may have heard that Popeye's favorite food, spinach, is a great source of iron. While that's not untrue, it's not quite as iron-rich as its reputation says. A decimal error in 1870 indicated that spinach had 35 grams of iron instead of its actual 3.5 grams. This led many to believe that spinach had as much iron as red meat, which isn't true. It would take three cups of spinach to find the same amount of iron in three ounces of beef, nearly six times more spinach than meat.
One Cup of Kale Has More Vitamin C Than an Orange
When you're looking to boost your immunity with vitamin C, you may pour yourself a glass of orange juice. However, if you ate just one cup of kale, you'd have more vitamin C than you'd get in an entire orange. Kale is also high in vitamin A and K, calcium and sulforaphane, which can help fight cancer.
Corn Is Related to Grass
Corn is from the family Poaceae, as are wheat, oats and rice. These species grow much longer than grass and are considered to be grains. Despite this classification, corn is considered by many to be in the vegetable family.
Garlic Doesn't Scare Vampires, But It Does Repel Mosquitoes
Garlic-based bug repellant can be effective in environments with lots of mosquitoes. Not only does it smell unpleasant to them, it covers the scent of carbon dioxide that draws mosquitoes to people in the first place. The fact that garlic can be toxic to mosquitoes as well might be the reason why it's the mythical repellant of vampires, another famous bloodsucker!
Incredible Facts About Meat, Eggs and Seafood
Everyone includes a different amount of protein in their diet. But whether you're a full-fledged carnivore or a total vegan, you'll enjoy these tasty tidbits about meat, eggs and seafood.
One Ostrich Egg Equals Two Dozen Chicken Eggs
Imagine cracking and frying 24 chicken eggs at once. It would weigh about 3 pounds, which is the same weight as one ostrich egg. If you're planning on cooking an ostrich egg, make sure you've got a lot of hungry people around — its size and nutritional value mean that one egg can feed up to 80 people!
Sardines Are One of the Healthiest Fish
Like most fish, sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent heart attacks and lower blood pressure. But unlike larger types of fish, sardines only eat plankton, which means that their mercury levels are low. Sardines are also a great source of vitamin B-12 and vitamin D, calcium, iron, potassium, and protein. Unfortunately, sardines are in danger of being overfished.
Chicken Noodle Soup Was Named After a Mistake
The soup we all reach for when we're sick used to be called "Noodle Soup with Chicken" when Campbell's Soup introduced it in 1934. When Amos of the "Amos 'n Andy" show misread his script, he accidentally said "Chicken Noodle Soup." Campbell's officially changed the name a few weeks later and it's been Chicken Noodle Soup ever since.
Farm-Raised Salmon Is Not Naturally Pink
How would you feel if your salmon dish was white instead of its characteristic pink color? While wild salmon meat is pink because of the shrimp in its diet, salmon raised in fish farms have a different diet. Farmers have to add plant pigments to the salmon feed in order to dye them the same color as wild salmon.
Beef Tartare Is Raw, But Safe to Eat
If you prefer your steak cooked rare, you may have thought about trying beef tartare, a raw preparation of beef. That may seem like an unsafe dish to eat, but the preparation process, which includes submersion in boiling saltwater and then in ice water, is meant to kill off dangerous bacteria without cooking the meat. When prepared correctly, raw beef is actually easier for many people to digest than cooked meat.
Lobsters Used to Be Prison Food
Lobster fishing was so common in the colonial era that it was much cheaper than other meats. That's why it was usually fed to prisoners and servants instead of more prominent members of society. Today, lobster is likely to be the most expensive item on a restaurant menu.
Gelatin Is Not Vegan (Or Even Vegetarian)
It may seem like jiggly Jell-o and puffy marshmallows could be part of a meat-free diet. However, the gelatin in these foods is made from boiling animal parts, including skin, bones and cartilage. Fortunately, you can find vegan-friendly Jell-o and marshmallows that are made with tapioca and agar-agar.
Other Amazing Facts About Food
Some facts about food are just too interesting to pass up! Go for second helpings with these amazing facts about spices, snacks, sandwiches, and more.
Some Red Food Dye Is Made From Bugs
That bright red color found in maraschino cherries, red candy and fruit-flavored drinks doesn't seem natural — but it often is. Carmine or cochineal extract is made from cochineals, which are an insect found in South America. Many people are grossed out by this fact, but other food dyes (such as the popular red dye #40) are made from coal and petroleum byproducts, which are far less natural than bug extracts.
Sandwiches Were Invented Because of Gambling
The Earl of Sandwich, less formally known as John Montagu, famously invented the sandwich. But the story is based on the Earl's participation in a 24-hour gambling streak, which kept him hungry but unwilling to leave the table. His need for a quick, handheld meal was supposedly the birth of one of the most popular food items in the world.
One Pound of Dried Saffron Requires 75,000 Saffron Flowers
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, and for good reason. The saffron flower only blooms during a short period of the year, and it must be harvested the day that it blooms. The only part used in the harvesting is the flower's stigmas — and each flower only has three of the tiny red threads. That's why it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 saffron flowers to create one pound of dried saffron.
Spicy Food Reactions Are Mental, Not Physical
Does it feel like your mouth is burning when you eat spicy foods? That's because most foods made with chili peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin. It tricks the pain receptors on your nerves and sends a message to your brain that your tongue is in pain, and must be burning. That's why your mouth feels burned and you may even sweat and turn red: your brain sends physical reactions as if you were actually burned.
Honey Never Goes Bad
Don't throw away that jar of honey in your kitchen! Honey is the only food in existence that never spoils. It can become contaminated in certain cases, such as if it is created by bees that pollinated from toxic plants or if it's stored incorrectly. But in general, non-contaminated honey has no expiration date.
Almonds Are Not Nuts
You may be surprised to learn that almonds, a popular healthy nut, are not actually nuts at all. They are seeds of the almond fruit, which grows on the almost tree. The almond fruit is soft like a peach. Also like a peach, it has a pit, which farmers remove and shell to find the almond kernal we eat today.
Pound Cake Is Named for Its Measurements
Everyone loves a delicious slice of pound cake. But not everyone knows that pound cake is named for its original ingredients: one pound of butter, one pound of eggs and one pound of sugar. Modern pound cake uses more reasonably measured ingredients but kept the name of the original recipe.
One Out of Four Hazelnuts Is Used in Nutella
If you love the delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread Nutella, you're not alone. Nutella is so popular that it uses one of every four hazelnuts grown on Earth, particularly hazelnuts from Turkey. But between the high demand and climate change, hazelnut supply may be in jeopardy in years to come.
Fruit Snacks Contain Wax
Ever wonder how fruit snacks get that squishy texture and shiny appearance? The answer isn't just in the corn syrup and gelatin with which they're made. Fruit snacks contain carnauba wax from palm tree leaves, which is also found in car wax, surfboard wax, dental floss, and shoe polish.
You Have Good Taste
Now you know a lot more about your favorite foods, and maybe some facts you wish you didn't know! The next time you're writing about something delicious or disgusting, use these descriptive words for food to show your good taste. Or if you want a giggle, check out these food pun examples that are perfect for your next dinner party.