When you look at the wide range of fruits and vegetables available in your local grocery store, you probably think that they’ve all come from nature. However, this may not always be the case!
There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are not, in fact, natural, but instead man made.
What does this mean? Well, man made fruits and vegetables are foods that have been made through selective laboratory cross-breeding, creating a plant that’s entirely new.
Vegetables and fruits that have been made this way include all kinds of popular examples, such as broccoli, apples, and even watermelon!
In our fascinating guide below, we’ve got a list of 14 surprising man made fruits and vegetables. It’s a list full of fruits and vegetables that you’ll come across all the time, yet may never have realized that they’re not as natural as you think. Read on!
What Is A Man Made Fruit Or Vegetable?
When a fruit or vegetable has been man made it means that it’s often a hybrid mixture of two other plants, which have been combined through cross-breeding in order to create a new plant.
This new fruit or vegetable has some similar traits to its parent plants, but also takes on new, better characteristics too.
This is one of the main reasons that mane made fruit or vegetables are made in the first place, because it can result in new plants that are more resistant to diseases, healthier, and easier to look after and grow.
On top of that, these new plants might be stronger and better at dealing with damage from the environment.
When we say that these man made plants are easier to look after, we’re talking about the fact that they don’t need fertilizer or pest control, and they have lower soil erosion than natural plants too.
Additionally, they can even assist the soil, helping to pass more nutrients on to other plants in it.
How Do Man Made Plants Happen?
Of course, man made plants don’t happen by accident. They’re the outcome of lots of scientific research, with the parent plants being very carefully selected for the cross-breeding in order to create the very best combination of the two.
We’ve got hundreds and hundreds of years of progress and experience to thank for the man made plants that we enjoy today.
What Is A GMO Fruit Or Vegetable?
You might have come across the term GMO before when talking about fruits or vegetables, and it’s important to stress that plants that have had GMOs added into them are very different from a man made plant.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which are organisms that have been manufactured (yes, by mankind!) using very advanced sciences.
They never would have existed in nature, they are entirely manufactured.
The reasons that GMOs are added to some vegetables and fruits are manyfold. For example, they can help stop the plants from getting too damaged by their surrounding climate.
On top of that, the GMOs might be added in order so that pesticides are not needed.
All GMOs are totally artificial and would never occur in the natural world.
This makes them very different from man made plants, which may have been the result of mankind cross-breeding them together, but they are made with the same reproduction process that would have been used if both plants were of the same variety.
Man Made Fruit And Vegetables: Pros VS Cons
There are a handful of upsides and downsides to eating vegetables and fruits that have been man made.
- Some man made plants will be more resistant to disease, giving them a better chance of survival so we can enjoy their healthy benefits.
- Some man made fruits also get a better flavor.
- When the plants are cross-bred, they get the best traits of both their parent plants, as well as strong traits those parents didn’t even have. You get the best of both worlds, and then some!
- Some mane made plants can grow faster.
- Man made plants often have more nutrients in them than natural plants, because they’re able to use their soil a lot more efficiently.
- They’re also easier to control and grow, because they don’t need fertilizer or pest control, meaning that the plants can be more readily available to you!
- With that being said, man made plants will sometimes be more costly than natural plants.
- Although plenty of research has been done, we still don’t know all we can about man made plants and the types of conditions that would help them grow best. As a result, we may not be growing them in the most efficient ways.
Man Made Fruits And Vegetables – 14 That Will Surprise You!
Now that we’ve looked at what man made vegetables and fruits are, and the benefits that they carry, it’s time to look at 14 examples of them that will surely surprise you. Read on!
We’re starting our list off with a man made fruit that will certainly surprise you – strawberries. These delicious fruits are famous for their vibrant color and their sweet and sharp flavor.
However, the strawberries that we enjoy today are actually a hybrid that uses the wild strawberry as a basis for it, improving on its natural plant parents and creating something greater.
These aren’t the first strawberry hybrids that have been created, either, because early hybrids date all the way back to the 13th century. However, these hybrids were very different to our strawberries today.
Our modern strawberry hybrids were first created in France in the 1700s, with a botanist named Antoine Nicolas making the first one of them. He did so by cross-breeding a Fragaria chiloensis (female) and a Fragaria moschata (male) together, giving us the great fruit we enjoy today.
Another massively popular fruit is the apple, and modern apples you come across will be man made hybrids. All of these hybrids owe a debt to the original apple, Malus sieversii, which is wild and native to Central Asia and southern Kazakhstan.
As you’ll know, there are countless different varieties of apple available these days. In fact, there are more than 7500 different types! They differ in size, color, and flavor.
These famous yellow, bendy fruits are enjoyed by many all over the world, but did you know that they’re man made?
Bananas are the result of cross-breeding Musa balbisiana fruit and Musa acuminata fruit, getting the best of their traits but making a fruit that’s far better.
How much better? Well, neither of these plant parents are very tasty on their own (one is even too tough for you to eat it!), but they both look similar, and so they create the delicious banana we know today.
Oranges are another enormously popular fruit, and one that’s the result of cross-breeding.
This famous fruit comes from a combination of pomelo and mandarin, a hybrid that was first made in South China, before being taken up all over the world. Combined, these two plant parents give you the orange we know and enjoy today.
Tangerines are pretty similar to regular oranges, in both their appearance (they’re even orange!) and their citrus taste. However, you’ll be surprised to find that tangerines aren’t the result of a hybrid made with oranges, but various types of mandarin instead.
Tangerines are a man made mandarin orange, which is fitting since the oranges we know today are the result of a cross-breed between mandarins and pomelos.
Another plant that’s orange in color! However, that actually wasn’t always the case, because the original carrots had shades of purple or white to them. On top of that, they were a lot thinner than the vegetables we know today.
So how did we get modern carrots? Well, their famous orange hue comes from beta carotene, which helps to give the vegetables vitamin A. Additionally, modern carrots have got to be the way they are today through hybrids both intentional and accidental.
Cauliflower is another vegetable that you’ll be shocked to learn is actually man made! In this case, cauliflower is the outcome of cross-breeding using a cabbage.
This is understandable, since cauliflower certainly resembles cabbages in its flowery tops, which it took from the above-ground part of the plant parent.
You’ll already know that broccoli is pretty similar to cauliflower in its flowery appearance, so it may not be a surprise to learn that broccoli is also a man made vegetable that used cabbage in its original cross-breeding.
Cabbage was created all the way back around the 6th century BCE, where it was cultivated in the Mediterranean during the time of the Roman Empire. It was bred out from the wild cabbage plant, which is more scientifically known as Brassica oleracea.
If you’ve ever enjoyed an eggplant, you’ll want to know that it’s actually a man made plant!
It might have always confused you why, given that they’re long and purple, an eggplant was called an eggplant. After all, they look nothing like eggs! However, in their original form, eggplants did in fact look like eggs, being round and white.
It;s only after years of selective cross-breeding that we get the eggplants of today, with their purple (or occasionally yellow) appearance.
Everyone loves a delicious grapefruit, but these fruits are actually the man made hybrid of oranges and pomelos!
These cross-breeds have been around for a while, dating back to 1693.
Much older, though, is the original watermelon, which was at least 4000 years old and didn’t have a red interior. However, as it was cultivated all over the world, there became countless varieties – more than 1200 in fact!
These hybrids vary in flavor and shape, but are all delicious!
The origin of peanuts is surprisingly man made, too! This delicious snack is the hybrid result of mixing Arachis duranensis and Arachis ipaensis, both plants from Bolivia.
Long ago, the plants were grown near to each other, resulting in a cross-breeding of the two.
These fabulously juicy fruits date back in their earliest form to 700 A.D., where the Aztecs used them to cook with and the fruits were smaller and yellow or green. Nowadays, tomatoes have spread all over the world, and have been improved thanks to man made cross-breeding.
Our final pick is the cabbage! We already know that broccoli and cauliflower were the result of cross-breeding using cabbages, but the modern cabbage is also a man made vegetable. These were first made during Greek and Roman times.
There are loads of fruits and vegetables that are actually man made, when you originally thought them to be natural! Find the 14 best with our fascinating list.
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