Long before we ever knew that DNA existed and started splicing genes to quickly create what we consider to be a “better” fruit or vegetable, scientist and farmers were using selected breading to accomplish the same result.
The next time you take a bite into a fruit or vegetable, consider what it may have looked like before humans ever started selectively breeding it.
Here are 6 examples of how humans forever changed what these “natural” foods look like.
WatermelonThis painting by Giovanni Stanchi depicts a watermelon that looks more like a pomegranate than a juicy pink watermelon, a strong contrast from what we eat today. Yet this painting is only from 350 years ago.
Next up is the banana…
Bananas have been cultivated for at least 7,000 years, possible 10,000. Originally found in Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia, modern bananas stem from two varieties, the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana as seen below.
The modern banana is possibly one of the easiest fruits to eat. Not juicy, easily peelable and delicious with peanut butter.
Next up on our list is the eggplant and wow, what a difference.
Eggplant is not just that deep purple you most commonly see today. Traditionally they have been white, yellow, azure and purple. They have also been many different shapes as you can see from the picture some even with spines.
Through selective breeding we have become familiar with the deep purple, oblong vegetable that we see in our grocery aisles.
Next on our list of changed fruits is the carrot.
A wild carrot does not look like much to eat. Very little thick root and lots of stringy roots.
Our next amazing vegetable transformation is corn.
Perhaps the most iconic example of selective breeding is North American sweetcorn, which was bred from the barely edible teosinte plant. Natural corn, shown here, was first domesticated in 7,000 BC and was dry like a raw potato.
What a difference a few thousand years make for this staple crop.
The peach is rounding out our list of the most selectively breed fruits and vegetables.
The Chineses took what was a small cherry like fruit and turned into the succulent, sweet treat that we have today.