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Six Foods We Have Made Worse Through History

Rainbow carrot

Even if you don’t support the evolution theory itself you cannot deny that we have completely changed our food in a way that serves our interests, because we wanted it to be cheaper, more delicious & more immune to diseases. The problem is things don’t always go the way we want and our efforts to attain something may end up in getting the opposite.

Here are six foods that we have made worse through history:

Rainbow carrot

Rainbow carrot

When you think of carrot you think of a long orange root by default, the problem is that the carrot has not always been orange colored as we know it today. In fact the carrot used to come historically in different colors to the extent that you could make a salad of different type of carrots if you had enough talent.

The specs of carrot vary according to its color; the regular carrot that we consume today is usually orange whereas the white carrot is crispy, the red one has somehow rubbery texture and the purple has mild spicy taste.

Although the multi colored carrot may look strange and scary to many, it is in fact something old and made completely by nature. This carrot used to be popular till the 17th century when the Netherlands started to become independent from the political Spanish influence and started to form a nation. During that period the royal family was Orange-Nassau and it used to be very popular and turning everything into orange used to be a sign of patriotism due to the similarity between the royal family name and the word Orange, so apart from painting houses in orange, orange became widespread as well as one type of carrot: the orange carrot!

The success of Netherlands trade helped transfer the orange madness to the rest of the world, and by time time, everyone started to move toward the orange colored carrot only and forgot the rest of the colors.

Tomato and apple, color for taste:

Tomato and apple, color for taste

Tomato is a fruit (yes fruit not vegetable) that has a mild taste so it is used as stuffing item in salads and other dishes nowadays. But this has not always been the case and it used not to be like this during the youth of your grandfather. His complaints that he lived in age where food was the most delicious thing were true basically.

70 years ago the farmers noticed that red tomato is being sold more than the green and the red greenish ones and this is true since red tomato look ripe and tasty. But since people are not bio-scientists they haven’t thought that the gene which keeps tomato green after it is ripe is the gene that gives it the good taste.

This happens due to the existence of Chloroform, a chemical which does the Photosynthesis and thanks to it the plants transform water & CO2 into sucrose which gives the taste.

When man hybridized tomato to become only more attractive the delicious taste was unintentionally lost as a down side of this process.

Apple is not far from this; it has undergone the same process and has lost its strong taste and thin skin in favor of getting the attractive red color and thick skin that made apple more resistant to shocks, but with bland taste and less attractiveness.

Orange the fruit is not really orange!

Orange the fruit is not really orange

It might sound crazy, how is it possible that orange cannot be orange! In fact orange is orange in some places like Middle East or Europe, but it does not have this attractive color in its home country or other production places.

The reason for Orange color change into orange is the absence of green color (the deformation of chloroform), this happens when it is exposed to cold or when it is about to rot. For sure the climate in Europe and even Middle East may cause cold waves able to change the color of Orange into orange, but what about Brazil or Vietnam which have tropical climate? In fact the Orange there does not change color into orange at all, it stays green or green yellow even after it becomes ripe and ready to consume and squeeze.

So why do we know only the orange Orange? Similar to the case of tomato and apple, the color is an important criterion when buying goods, therefore farmers tend to change Orange in many ways, it is possible to put orange in chillers to change its color or expose it to ethylene gas or simply dipping it into orange dye.

Artificial colors determine the type of food we consume:

Artificial colors determine the type of food we consume

You might think that you are a complete independent person and that you are a rebel who refuse the rules imposed on you, and I am not trying to make you skeptic about your independence, but maybe you should know that food in general may change its color for being more popular, but this involves more than just hybridizing only plants, most of our foods today especially canned ones contain large number of artificial colors which lead us to decide whether we consume it or not.

A study from Cornell university on students who were given some Chitos, found that color is very essential, because the students who received the Chitos without its iconic orange color (the color is completely tasteless) said that they didn’t enjoy it, and found it less tasty and less appetizing.

the importance of color wasn’t always relevant, in the beginning of 90’s the giant fizzy drink Pepsi launched its new product: Chrystal Pepsi which had the same taste of regular cola but without color as a sign of purity, the product was such a fail as no one wants to have cola with a different color from what they used to have.

BurgerKing
BurgerKing

In a similar experiment the fast food company Burger King made a special burger in Japan that has black bread and cheese, the product was very successful there but had bad reactions in western countries.

We throw away lots of food due to exaggerated criteria:

We throw away lots of food due to exaggerated criteria

Maybe no one has told you this but in United States 5-30% of crops at least are discarded because they don’t comply with the strict criteria that assume every piece of fruit or vegetable must be an identical copy of one another.

The nature does not really care about that, it struggles to become more and more variant because the more variety the organism has the more immune they become against diseases and different threats, in addition to increasing their ability to evolve.

The world is losing a lot of food that is being discarded to keep only the ideal and identical rows of fruits and vegetables. The European Union has the most strict criteria in this regards, the cucumber for instance should not bend more than 1/10, and bananas should be free from any strange lean and it has to be at least 14 cm in length.

New agriculture techniques make our food more vulnerable to diseases:

MotherBoardPlant

When eating bananas, people want to have the exact same taste of the last banana they had and same shape as well. In fact the nature strongly and continuously fights this through evolution. Organisms continuously head towards variation and other beneficial things for continuity. Nature does not care about our favorite flavor in cocktails.

However, we have found a way to stop plants from evolving to other things that we don’t like by cloning them instead of breeding. Instead of planting seeds we started to take a branch from the desired plant and replanting it in another place so we guarantee we will get the same previous products with the same specifications.

This method is very popular to apply to berries for instance,  and even some plants like banana do not reproduce without unless cloned, because it has no seeds anymore.

Almost every banana you have eaten in your life came from the same original tree, if this was not scary enough just imagine that every meat you ate in your life came from the same giant everlasting cow. The problem here is that nature strongly prefers variation for valid reason: variety makes organisms resistant to diseases and other conditions. If all creatures were an exact copy of each other then a single disease could exterminate the whole species, and it is exactly what happened to one kind of banana in the wake of the 1900s, when only two kinds of bananas existed: Cavendish & Gros Michel, but Panama disease extinguished Gros Michel type immediately and luckily we still have another type to replace but if this happens again to the Cavendish then we may never be able to enjoy bananas again