We normally don’t think too much about the “why” of our food. We simply have things that we like and don’t like. We eat the things that make us happy and avoid the things that gross us out. Some of those foods, whether they’re healthy or not, have interesting facts about them that you probably never knew. So why not slow down for a second and examine a few kitchen mysteries a little more closely?
Many shredded cheeses and cereals contain cellulose (wood pulp).
Cellulose, which is essentially sawdust, is often used in various shredded cheese products and cereals to bump up a product’s fiber content and to prevent them from clumping.
Green, yellow, and red bell peppers are not the same vegetable actually.
Though some green peppers are unripe red peppers, green, yellow, orange, and red peppers are all unique plants with their own seeds.
Ripe cranberries will bounce like rubber balls.
Cranberries are commonly referred to as “bounce berries” because they bounce when they’re ripe. In fact, bouncing cranberries is a common ripeness test for farmers and consumers alike.
Too much nutmeg can have the physical effects of a hallucinogenic drug.
Nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound. If you have two or more teaspoons of the spice, it can actually cause out-of-body sensations, nausea, dizziness, and sluggish brain activity.
Raspberries are a member of the rose family.
As are cherries, apricots, plums, pears, appless, peaches, strawberries, and blackberries. Unlike many other fruits, once picked, unripe raspberries do not ripen.
Pound cake got its name from its recipe.
The early recipes of pound cake called for one pound of butter, one pound of eggs, one pound of sugar, and one pound of flour. That’s a huge cake!
Corn can be used in pretty much anything.
Corn is one of the most versatile crops out there. In fact, there are more than 4,000 different uses for corn. It can be found in anything from your pet’s food to fireworks.
Some foods contain titanium dioxide, which can also be found in paint, plastic, and sunscreen.
Titanium dioxide is a food additive that is often used in ranch dressing or coffee creamer to make whites appear whiter. However, for this same reason, it is also found in items like paint, sunscreen, and laundry detergent.
Honey will never ever go bad.
Honey in its natural state is very low in moisture and very acidic: two primary defenses against food spoilage. However, honey is not the only food that lasts forever: salt, sugar, and raw rice also have eternal shelf lives.
Most wasabi is actually just dyed horseradish.
You’ve probably never had real wasabi, no matter how much sushi you’ve eaten. Real wasabi is difficult to grow and extraordinarily expensive. It’s much more cost-effective for restaurants to just use an imitation instead.
Some people are scared of peanut butter.
Getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is annoying sure, but to have an irrational fear of it happening is next level. But there’s a phobia for everything and this common occurrence is no exception. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth!
The burning sensation from spicy peppers is a mental reaction.
Chili peppers contain a chemical known as capsaicin, which naturally binds to the pain receptors on our nerves. Your brain thinks you are ingesting something hot, so you begin sweating and your face turns red. This is your body’s way of trying to cool you down, even though there is no real temperature threat, only a perceived one.
Apples give you more energy than coffee.
Along with countless health benefits such as boosting your immune system and detoxing your liver, apples can wake you up better than coffee, and keep you awake longer without the crash afterwards. A medium sized apple contains roughly 11 g of natural fructose, and this moves through your body slowly, giving your body constant energy levels to keep you active throughout the first half of your day.
Ever wonder why you can find grape ice pops, but not grape ice cream?
Basically, grapes have high water content, which means when you freeze them to make ice cream, they’ll turn into icy chunks. That’s fine for an ice pop recipe, but not what anyone wants from a scoop of smooth ice cream. It’s basically a vicious cycle. People have never had grape ice cream, and in turn, they neither expect it nor outright desire it. And because of the engineering difficulties, it would be a high-risk, low-reward venture. While cherry ice cream — though difficult to make — is a sure bet.
Bananas are clones.
Even though there are 1,000 varieties of bananas all over the world, the common yellow fruits you see in the supermarket are all genetic clones of the Cavendish variety. It does not have seeds — a desirable trait for consumers. Cloning removes variety and chance from the equation, which is great for production on an industrial scale because the fruit are consistent and if you harvest and treat them in the same way, they will all be ripe and ready to eat at the same time. Unfortunately it is also great for any disease that infects them because if it gets a foothold in one tree, those nearby will also be vulnerable, as will their neighbours, and it can spread through the whole plantation.
Compiled by SZ