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15 Natural Produce You've Never Seen Before Harvesting

We've all been exposed to apples and oranges growing on trees, but oddly enough, most of the produce we eat grow in ways we might never have thought of before. Have you ever wondered how coffee and cocoa might appear in a tree, or what the flowers of peanuts and kiwis look like? If not, you're about to satisfy your curiosity with our collection of some natural produce growing in the wild, complete with some interesting facts about each one.

 
 

1. Pistachio nuts

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: geolocation.ws 

Pistachios are the seeds produced by the Pistachio tree, a tree that grows in sunny, desert conditions and well-drained soil. Each tree is either female or male, and produces fruit that contains an elongated seed - which  eventually becomes the pistachio we eat. At first, the fruit is green, but when it ripens, it changes to a yellow/red (as seen in the picture) and physically splits apart in an audible pop.

 

2. Peanuts

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: imgur.com
 
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: flickr.com 

Surprisingly, peanuts grow in a completely different way than pistachios. Rather than being exposed along with the leaves on a tree, peanut pods grow under the ground like legumes - an unusual occurrence among other crop plants. Besides, unlike other nuts, peanuts have a soft exterior. This has raised questions about its classification as a "nut", since by definition, a nut is a fruit whose ovary wall becomes very hard at maturity. The peanut plant also grows small yellow flowers that only last for about a day.

 

3. Black pepper

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: pixgood.com

The plant that black pepper grows on is actually a flowering vine. Its fruit are dark red drupes (one-seed fruits, like peaches) that measure approximately five millimeters in diameter, and are grown in bunches. When the drupe dries up, it is called a peppercorn, better known as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit), and white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).

4. Cocoa

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: eco-turizm.net
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: airshipflamel.com

The origin of chocolate is actually in this evergreen tree called Theorbroma cocoa, which grows 4-8 meters in the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. Its flowers are small and pink, and are produced in clusters directly from the trunk or old branches. It then produces the fruit called cocoa pods, which each contain 20-60 seeds or "beans" surrounded by a white pulp. This pulp is used in some countries to make juice, smoothies, and jelly, whereas the cocoa beans are used to make chocolate.

 

5. Mangoes

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: ecocircuitospanama.wordpress.com

Mangoes belong to the flowering plant family called Anacardiaceae and are native to South Asia, although they are also grown in other frost-free tropical and subtropical locations. When the tree is young, it grows orange-pink leaves that change into a dark, glossy red then dark green. The flowers produced by the tree are small and white with five petals, and have a mild, sweet scent. The fruit are drupes and take between 3 to 6 months to ripen. 

6. Cashew nuts

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: reddit.com
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: alphacoders.com

Cashew nuts grow in tropical, evergreen trees whose flowers are small and green at first, then turn into a reddish color. The fruit produced by this tree, called the cashew apple, is yellow and/or red and pear-shaped, and grows as part of the flower stalk. This fruit has a sweet taste and is also used to make pulp. On the end of the cashew apple, grows a kidney-shaped drupe, which is the actual fruit with a single seed we call the cashew nut. 

 

7. Sesame seeds 

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: joycitytires.com
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: thekitchn.com

Sesame seeds are produced from the highly-tolerant flowering plant Sesamum, which is able to grow in places where other crops may fail. The tree's flowers are generally yellow, tubular and have a four-lobed mouth, and can also be found in white, blue or purple colors. The fruits, which are the sesame seeds, are found in grooved capsules measuring 2-8cm in length.

 

8. Vanilla

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: pinterest.com
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: wikimedia.org 

Vanilla flavoring originates from the vanilla orchid, native to Mexico, and grows in hot, wet, tropical climates. The flowers produced by the orchid are greenish-yellow, and only last for a day. In the wild, the flower has less than 1% chance of being pollinated in that one day - and this requires farmers growing vanilla to hand-pollinate them. The plant grows 15-23 cm-long pods (the fruit) from which vanilla extract is obtained.

9. Cinnamon

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: cchorita.blogspot.ru

Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of trees that belong to the genus Cinnamomum - and this is easier said than done. After the tree is cultivated for two years, the cultivators need to coppice it (cutting the stems at ground level) and process it immediately. This process requires discarding the outer bark and scraping off the inner bark straight away, before it dries out within four to six hours. This produces the cinnamon flakes we find available for sale, that form upon drying.

 

10. Pineapple

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: vulgarfractions.wordpress.com

Pineapples don't hang from trees, but rather grow from plants, upright. The plant grows about 1-1.5 meters in height, and produces tough, waxy leaves and up to 200 flowers. These vary from light purple to red in color. This amount of flowers is absolutely necessary for the production of this sizable, juicy fruit, the growth of which is only possible thanks to their joint effort. All together, the flowers form the body of the pineapple.

 

11. Kiwi fruit

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: organiceconomist.blogspot.ru
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: organiceconomist.blogspot.ru

Although there are quite a number of variations of kiwi fruit, they are all grown on vines, which are quite difficult to pollinate, because the flowers they produce aren't very attractive to bees. It may take seedlings up to 7 years before they flower for the first time, making it even more of a lengthy process. The fruits are hand-picked, and ripen after a few days to a week.

 

12. Almonds

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: flickr.com

The almond tree grows 4-10 meters in height and grows best in Mediterranean climates. It  produces white or pale pink flowers that appear before the leaves in early spring. Some 7-8 months after flowering, the fruit starts to mature, appearing as a thick-coated, grey-green drupe, inside of which the seed holding the almond can be found. This has a hard, woody outer shell that protects the edible part of the almond.

 

13. Coffee

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: wikipedia.org
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: inforegio.pe

Coffee is produced by shrubs native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. The fruit that appear as red or purple "cherries" are drupes that each contain two seeds - the coffee beans. These only grow 3-5 years after planting and take about 9 months to ripen, but the plant is able to produce fruit for an impressive 50 to 60 years. 

 

14. Saffron

Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: pixshark.com
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: sfw.so

The saffron we use in our cooking is extracted from the flower of the plant called "saffron crocus". This produces flowers of a lilac color and a sweet, honey-like fragrance. Each flower contains a bright crimson stigma that is collected by cultivators to obtain saffron. In order to yield 1 gram of this spice, around 150 flowers are needed. 

 
15. Brussels sprouts
Here's How This Food Looked Like Before It was Harvested
Image source: flickr.com

You will find Brussels sprouts growing like buds on the stalks of the originating plant. They are found attached to it in interesting helical patterns, and just like cabbage and broccoli, these vegetables have no protective skin or shell, but are grown fully edible as they appear. They are hand picked from the stalks, each of which can produce up to 1.4 kg (3.1 lb) of sprouts. 

 

H/T: brightside.me

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