50 Surprising Facts About Vegetables You Probably Didn’t Know – Part 2

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Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, providing us with a wide range of nutrients that are essential for optimal health. From leafy greens to colorful root vegetables, there is a vast variety of vegetables to choose from. But beyond their nutritional value, there are many other fascinating facts about vegetables that may surprise you. In this article, we will explore 50 Surprising Facts About Vegetables, ranging from their history and cultural significance to their surprising health benefits and environmental impact. Whether you are a seasoned vegetable lover or just starting to incorporate more greens into your diet, this article has something for everyone. So read on to discover the incredible world of vegetables!

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26Too Much Zucchini

Too Much Zucchini

In certain states in the United States, zucchini is grown in such large quantities that it is not uncommon for people to find baskets or bags of the vegetable in their car's back seats if they forget to lock their vehicles.


27. The pumpkins we know today evolved to be eaten by giant sloths and wooly mammoths. If ancient humans hadn't taken measures to preserve the pumpkin, it would very certainly be extinct now.


28. All of the necessary amino acids humans need may be found in moringa tree leaves, and the plant's seeds have been demonstrated to filter water. Moringa leaves also contain more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin A than carrots.


29. Before cane sugar and beet sugar were common in Europe, the parsnip was often used as a sweetener.


30. There is a reason for creating stripes on a cucumber, besides making it look fancy. The skin is slightly bitter and can overwhelm the mellow flesh. Removing a portion of it reduces the bitterness without taking away all the flavor and nutrients.


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31Harvesting Green Tomatoes

Harvesting Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes are harvested while still green and are ripened by being exposed to ethylene gas. This gas turns them red, but their flavor remains unchanged and bland.


32. Some people's aversion to bitter vegetables like cabbage and broccoli is related to genetic variations that increase the amount of a protein in their taste receptors that interacts with phenylthiocarbamide. A very similar compound is found in brassicas, causing a similar reaction.


33. A blooming onion from Outback Steakhouse has 1954 calories, while a pound of onion has just 191 calories.


34. There is as much nicotine in 20 pounds of eggplant as there is in one cigarette. Tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and cocoa plants also contain trace amounts of nicotine.


35. The Native Americans spent hundreds of years carefully breeding corn to improve its qualities. It was developed from teosinte, a short wild grain that is barely edible.


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36Spinach vs Oreos

Spinach vs Oreos

One pound of spinach has about the same number of calories as two Oreos.


37. All the potatoes used to make fries at Five Guys are required to be grown north of the 42nd parallel.


38. Celery was regarded as a delicacy and one of America's most popular dishes in the early 1900s. The world's celery capital was Kalamazoo, Michigan.


39. In 2010, Korea temporarily lifted duties on napa cabbage and radish imports due to a national crisis caused by excessive rains and agricultural losses, resulting in a shortage of kimchi.


40. If you inhale a pea, it can sprout and grow in your lung. In 2010, a retired teacher was struggling for breath for months and was amazed when doctors told him there was a pea plant growing in his lung.


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41Yam in African Cuisine

Yam in African Cuisine

Energy-wise, yam accounts for around 20% of the average Nigerian and West African's daily caloric intake. People's social standing during parties and religious ceremonies is often judged by the amount of their yam holdings, which is why the saying goes, "Yam is food, and food is yam."


42. In a fight against the Saxons, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd allegedly had his warriors wear leeks on their helmets as a form of identification. The leek continues to represent Wales as its national symbol.


43. The hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower is known as broccoliflower. Some people prefer it to other members of the cabbage family because of its mellower and somewhat sweeter taste.


44. Onions make you cry because they have a defense mechanism that keeps them from being eaten by animals that would otherwise eat them.


45. The bottle gourd (also called a calabash or a lauki) was used by ancient cultures for a wide variety of purposes, including as a food container, a musical instrument, and a means of buoyancy. When harvested early, it may also be prepared as a vegetable.


46Plant Viagra

Plant Viagra

Okra has been dubbed "plant viagra" because of its potential to increase blood flow to the heart. Cholesterol-lowering, anti-diabetic characteristics are another possible benefit.


47. Garlic kept in oil is very susceptible to botulism, a food illness that can cause blurred vision, trouble breathing, gradual paralysis, and even death.


48. Depending on when they were picked, bell peppers can look green, yellow, or red, but these colors do not mean that they are different species.


49. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and kai lan are all cultivated varieties of the same plant, Brassica oleracea, despite their apparent dissimilarity.


50. The stalks of white asparagus are the same species as their green counterparts. They are merely buried in the soil to avoid photosynthesis.

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69 COMMENTS

      • In actuality, you would have had no difficulties if you did, unless you ate too much (chemicals in chewing gum are also used in anti constipation pills)

        272
        • Artificial sweeteners are effective laxatives. However, most gum does not employ artificial sweeteners for the simple reason that they are more expensive than sugar.

          286
  1. RE: Fact# 14 – Onion Caramelization : onions jam It may seem absurd, but all it is is a ton of onions cooked with a few spices until the natural sugars and pectin are released.

    972
    • I simmer my onion jam until all of the onions have turned a deep brown color from caramelization. It is some of the finest things in the universe, but it takes forever. You may spread it over toast, use it as a basis for soup, or include it into a meat rub.

      227
        • Omg. Yes. It makes an amazing cream sauce, and featuring it in a tomato based sauce is just heavenly. Or you can just be simple and toss it in a pan with oil and garlic, salt and pepper. Honestly a hugely versatile ingredient. My sister made this amazing onion pesto sauce with it and I still drool thinking about it.

          276
    • Red onions cooked down with sugar and red wine then with some wholegrain mustard and some honey is just some really good shit.

      211
    • Yep. Moreover, I’m not surprised they made the connection given that the plant possesses narcotic qualities and milky white sap.

      245
  2. RE: Fact# 16 – Egyptian Lettuce Fertility God:
    Crocodile dung was also utilized by Ancient Egyptians as a kind of birth control. It works well since most people won’t have sex with you if you’re holding crocodile dung.

    988
  3. RE: Fact# 3 – Garlic Taste in Mouth: Additionally, if you put your finger on some liquid DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), you will nearly instantly taste garlic. You may taste it in your breath once it passes through your skin and into your blood.

    973
    • can attest. The flavor is awful.

      It’s one of nature’s greatest solvents, making it extremely hazardous because touching it might allow some unpleasant stiff to pass through your skin.

      285
  4. Regarding Fact#14, “Onion Caramelization,” I feel completely out of the loop as a chef. I learnt this so long ago and am constantly surrounded by it that I completely forget I didn’t learn it at birth and that I too had to learn it for the first time.

    Hot tip: cook them slower and lower. High heat won’t get you the best results, and the thing we use to say bout someone who can’t is “can he cook? That guy thinks onions take 15 minutes to caramelize.”

    The punchline is that it takes A LOT longer. You want them to be much more transparent. Like, they ought to appear fairly brown and repulsive.

    However, it is your meal. Act as you please.

    902
    • Then again, it’s your food. Do what you want

      Just wanted to remark how much I appreciate this addendum. It is so straightforward yet so energizing, especially coming from an expert in the field.

      As a novice home cook, I like experimenting with food storage. I have my own sensitivity and my boyfriend has a wide range of food allergies. We each have our own tastes; he favors a vegetarian diet, while I choose one that emphasizes meat.

      As a result, I use a fair amount of my free time to evaluate recipes, watch YouTube videos, and go through social media for dinner inspiration. I see people who are gatekeeping food frequently (no, more frequently than frequently). I find it very incomprehensible that somebody could think in such a way. I’m not referring to something that should be investigated, such as non-Indigenous people making money off of Indigenous foods and ingredients. When I say “if you’re not eating your steak rare, you’re WRONG and an IDIOT,” I mean just that. I firmly think that people have the right to consume their steak rare if they so want. As a result, I likewise think that I should have every right to enjoy my steak well-done. I don’t see anything wrong with either person eating what they like, and I would more people would think the same way.

      TL;DR – thank you for not gatekeeping food.

      281
  5. RE: Fact# 17 – Rabbits & Carrots:

    What you want to offer them are the carrot tops. I feed my pet carrot shavings and apple sticks sometimes.

    959
  6. RE: Fact# 18 – Cilantro Weird Taste:
    This taste is one of many others. It seems that bell peppers are similar to this, although a considerably lesser proportion of people are sensitive to it.

    For some folks, bell peppers taste like dirt.

    Since Pho (Vietnamese soup), which I like, seems to contain roughly 50% cilantro, I wonder if cilantro sensitivity varies by population.

    930
    • To me, beets taste and smell like dirt. I can’t stand them. Every year for Thanksgiving my step-dad had to make boiled beets. I think he was the only one that ate them. Stank up the whole house.

      244
  7. RE: Fact# 5 – Pomato: Perhaps twice as many different kinds of crops, but not twice as much produce. The quantity of resources that the plant can obtain, which is still subject to limitations, determines your production level.

    835
    • I’m no expert but I think itd come down to what nutrients are required (NPK)

      Potatoes are like 34-0-0 and tomatoes are 6-24-24

      If they arent competing for the same nutrients you should theoretically get a double yield per area

      As a gardener this isnt practical if you have the space. I read another article you have to get grafted specimens each year since it’s not a hybrid seed

      EDIT: I was off on the NPK. 34-0-0 is initial nutrients and then to 12-12-17

      274
  8. RE: Fact# 14 – Onion Caramelization : My dislike of onions changed to love for all onion varieties when I discovered how to make them caramelized.

    919
  9. RE: Fact# 14 – Onion Caramelization : You can also do this with bell peppers and celery. Include some garlic. Sprinkle some flour over those undesirables. a little Cajun seasoning seafood stock Shrimp is added in the end.

    Now, lads, we’re eating etouffee.

    1072
  10. RE: Fact# 18 – Cilantro Weird Taste:

    Being a soaplantro sufferer made my job as the head chef and menu creator at a Mexican fusion restaurant incredibly strange. I left the owners to do the cilantro dishes because I know people love these kind of dishes.

    Every dish is simply overpowered by cilantro, which to me tastes like Irish spring. It’s not really an ingredient you can ask to keep out of most recipes as it’s often in a pre-mix produced that morning, and I can taste it even when it’s used sparingly in salsa.

    1100
  11. RE: Fact# 23 – Before Kale Fad:

    I used to work at Ruby Tuesday and they were too cheap for the real stuff. We had rubber Kale that we garnished the salad bar with.

    1067
    • I’m not sure whether it’s so much inexpensive as economical. There is no need for it to be an actual plant as it will just be used as a garnish. I dunno, in my grocery shop we garnish our fresh meat displays with the actual stuff, and I believe it is the worst waste of money.

      235
      • The reason being that every once in a while a moron will pick up the rubber leaves, put them on their plate, and then call management to complain that their salad is broken.

        246
        • You know, for a long time, I questioned why people would support Trump, and only then did I understand that America is populated by individuals of this kind.

          252
  12. RE: Fact# 26 – Too Much Zucchinis:

    That was our childhood. Our garden covered over a third of an acre. In just six weeks, my father could have planted a broomstick and had leaves sprout from it. In order to prevent the deer from eating all of his zucchini within a year, he planted 25 hills. Let me say that again. 25 Hills of  Zucchini. All but one survived. We didn’t have a lot of money, so my mother prepared zucchini pretty much every night. Despite this, we still had enough that I would pack my tiny Radio Flyer wagon full of the vegetable and carry it to the end of our driveway to give to neighbors. Cars would wait until I arrived with the free vegetables.

    Since I left home at age 18, I haven’t had zucchini. I’m 53 now.

    928
  13. RE: Fact# 26 – Too Much Zucchinis:

    I chose to plant habaneros one year. I planted 5 habanero plants based on the yields of my typical bell pepper plants.

    Five pounds of habaneros that I had were given to one acquaintance, and three more spoiled before I could decide what to do with them.

    901
    • Maybe make salsa off of them?

      I’ve also heard that animals typically detest the capsaicin in peppers (but not birds), so is it feasible to ground them up into juice or something and spray it on plants to deter rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents from eating them or from gnawing on things?

      289
  14. RE: Fact# 20 – Microwaving Vegatables:

    For the source, much thanks. One of the strange ideas that has permeated the conventional wisdom of far too many of my friends is “Microwaves destroy all of the nutrients.” It’s nice to have some evidence to contradict something that wasn’t very logical to begin with.

    1021
    • Cooking the spinach breaks down the oxalic acid: https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-break-down-oxalic-acid-in-food/

      Before preparing items containing oxalic acid, mash them. Oxalic acid will be released as a result, and your meal will then be cooked to remove it.

      Your leafy greens should be cooked. The oxalic acid in greens is broken down and released when they are cooked. They will emit more oxalic acid the longer you boil them.

      While cooking, add calcium carbonate to your greens. While cooking with calcium carbonate eliminates even more oxalic acid than cooking on its own does, Oxalic acid is neutralized by the calcium carbonate’s combination with it and removal from food. For it to work, very little calcium carbonate is required. For these uses, one teaspoon per pot of water is sufficient. Most health shops and even internet health food vendors sell calcium carbonate powder.

      276
  15. RE: Fact# 25 – Chicken of the Woods:

    Before everyone rushes out to get some of these as a meat substitute:

    Before we get into cooking tips, I’ll mention again that some people have an adverse reaction to this mushroom. A small percentage of those who try it experience nausea, vomiting, swollen lips, or other gastrointestinal unpleasantness.

    For this reason it’s important to just try just a little bit of this mushroom the first time to see how it makes you feel. Don’t scarf down an entire chicken as you may regret it! It’s also best to avoid those growing on eucalyptus or conifer trees, as those seem to have a higher propensity towards making people sick.

    880
    • The bit about not eating a chicken of the woods that grow on conifer trees is a misnomer. In the Pacific Northwest they pretty much only grow on conifer trees and are still a prized edible.

      223
      • However, where I am in the northeast, it is important to avoid picking mushrooms from hemlock trees since doing so increases the likelihood that someone may have a negative response. I believe this is the reason they advise against all conifers.

        264
        • The claim that hemlock trees do anything to make mushrooms harmful is unsupported by any evidence. In the PNW, hemlock is also present. The deadly hemlock plant from Europe has no connection to either the eastern or western hemlock trees, which are both non-toxic. It appears that certain less pleasant laetiporus species may be found on eastern hemlock, which may have inspired the association.

          A lot of what we consider to be “common knowledge” about mushrooms, even highly valued edible mushrooms, is really just old wives’ tales. There are several new discoveries to be made in the subject of mycology, which is a shockingly young one.

          299
  16. RE: Fact# 28 – Moringa Miracle Leaves:

    Moringa leaves aren’t very noteworthy. Just a simple plant with enough nutritional content. It’s not magical. The “purification” of water by the seed’s processed components, which serve as flocculants, is not particularly effective. With readily accessible aluminum or iron salts, you may get the same result for a lot less money.

    1028
    • Although it may not seem magical to those of us in rich nations, it is to those in less developed nations who lack access to meat but require critical amino acids and iron. It is a plant with the potential to save lives that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and to cultivate.

      262
      • They require critical amino acids since they do not consume enough of them; this plant does not change that. They would have plenty of everything if they had enough of the items they previously ate.

        266
    • How in the world does this not get everything dirty? I have to be extremely careful every time I prepare beets to prevent any from splashing on my clothing.

      243
  17. RE: Fact# 35 – Corn Bred from Teosinte:

    We have grown so proficient at growing corn densely that the humidity levels in locations where corn is the major crop have increased.

    776
    • Another interesting fact: the M. Night Shyamalan film Signs/em> needed a cornfield quickly owing to production schedules. They actually invented a completely new technique to cultivate a full field of maize in record time.

      213
  18. RE: Fact# 24 – Okra Coffee Substitute:

    Roasted chicory root and roast dandelion root are more substitutes that are comparable. The latter, the only one I’ve tried, tastes much like coffee.

    784
  19. RE: Fact# 13 – Beeturia:

    It works wonders in getting kids to eat beets.

    “You can turn your urine and poop pink if you eat enough of this.”

    Children continue to eat beets while anticipating pink excrement.

    798
  20. RE: Fact# 39 – Kimchi Crisis:

    Even as a white guy with a Korean godmother, I can tell you that a shortage of kimchi is a genuine catastrophe.

    712
  21. RE: Fact# 31 – Tomato Harvested When Green:

    That is why homegrown vegetables are so good. I don’t recall ever having anything I grew/made at home that wasn’t better than the shop version. Beer, whiskey, maple syrup, green beans, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, grapes… Almost everything is better.

    815
  22. RE: Fact# 31 – Tomato Harvested When Green:

    I had heard that they are picked when they are just starting to turn, but I had also heard this.

    About 5 years ago, a local supermarket began caring for ‘vine ripened tomatoes,’ and my girlfriend and I discovered a dozen fresh tomato recipes. The next year, they substituted “on the vine tomatoes” for “vine ripened tomatoes” at the same price, and I found gardening.

    707
  23. RE: Fact# 39 – Kimchi Crisis:

    DARPA has a whole department dedicated to preserving maize and wheat harvests in the event of a biological disaster, but nothing for cucumbers. Imagine the panic if there was a pickle shortage!

    636
    • In college, I met a woman who worked at the juice bar of a health fast food joint. She consumed so much carrot juice that her lips and fingernails were orange in color.

      198

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