We all have grown up gorging on our favorite peaches, pears and other colorful fruits and our Mommies have never failed to give us our daily dose of nutritious green veggies. This is something we have grown up with and are totally familiar with. However, there is more to these staple foods than what we already know.
The market is full of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) and in fact, they have been here for years. Our favorite produce of fruits and vegetables have changed a lot ever since their domestication hundreds of years ago. Man has tweaked the genetics of these gifts from nature’s bounty to impart in them some desired traits such as attractive color, appealing taste, pest resistance, etc. Here we walk you through a whole range of fruits and vegetables that looked totally different when they were harvested some hundreds of years ago.
1. Wild banana v/s Modern banana
It is said that it was in Papua New Guinea, that the first bananas were cultivated from some 10,000 years ago. The contemporary bananas of today are known to have evolved from two wild varieties known as Musa balbisiana and Musa acuminate that were big, thick and featured big sized hard seeds.
Today we savor a more delicious version of the ancient wild bananas. Today’s hybrid version comes in handy shape that can be easily grasped. The skin is soft that can be peeled with ease. Smaller seeds, better taste and rich nutrient content defines the present day banana the best.
2. Wild watermelon v/s Modern watermelon
Veteran painter Giovanni 17th century painting depicting watermelons showed a cross section of the fruit with six craters filled with swirly flesh slightly red in color.
The modern man has transformed watermelons into a big green fruit with deep red fleshy interior signifying the placenta. Some people are of the view that Stanchi’s painting portrayed unwatered and unriped watermelons but the presence of black seeds signify that those were ripe.
3. Wild carrot v/s Modern carrot
Initially grown in the 10th century in Asia Minor and Persia, the old counterparts of the genetically modified carrots of today were generally white or purple and had thin roots resembling a fork as shown in the picture. Plus they were biennial in nature and had a very strong flavor.
After domestication of carrots, they transformed into these attractive looking things with a lovely orange color. Now they are large and much tastier and have emerged off as an annual winter crop.
4. Wild eggplant v/s Modern eggplant
The first eggplants are known to have grown in China. Since then they have been available in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, purple, azure and white. But unlike the eggplants that we eat now, their ancient cousins possessed spines on the stem.
With selective breeding, the spines have got eliminated from the eggplants of today and now what we have is the oblong shaped purple super food that is the most preferred vegetable of many.
5. Wild corn v/s Modern corn
Natural corn believed to have been cultivated in 7000 BC looked like a dry, raw potato as shown in the infographic produced by James Kennedy, a renowned Chemistry teacher.
The corn of today is about 1000 times larger than the first domesticated sweetcorn. It is much easier to grow and peel. Plus, the sugar content in natural corn was merely 1.9% while today we have 6.6 sugar content in our corns. Most of these changes are said to have taken place in the 15th century ever since Europeans started cultivating the crop
6. Wild peach v/s Modern peach
The people of China were the first ones to domesticate small, cherry-like fruits what have now evolved as the peach in around 4000 BC. The stone was larger than those present in the peaches of today and the flesh tasted earthy and bit on the saltier side.
Modern day peaches feature a relatively smaller stone covered with juicier and sweeter taste than their wild versions.
So, now it won’t be a good idea to think that only the supermarkets and malls sell you genetically modified foods as almost everything that we eat have been genetically modified in some way or the other.