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Fun plants and vegetable facts to wow your friends!

By Victoria Fuller

Do you ever hear a supposed fact that sounds so bizarre that it makes you scrunch your face up like someone eating a pickled lemon? Facts such as “The national animal of Scotland is a Unicorn” or “Australia is wider than the moon”? Both of these are true and for today’s post we wanted to round up some truly bizarre veggie and botanical facts that will have your friends staring at you in plant-based disbelief.

1. Baby Carrots aren’t actually baby carrots: they are frauds!

The common (and understandable thought) is that baby carrots are carrots harvested before reaching maturity and sold at a smaller size, but this is untrue! “Baby carrots” are in fact just plain old regular carrots carved down to a smaller size, this started as a way for “unsightly” carrots with blemishes or odd shapes to still be used and not go to waste, what a society we live in.

2. Plants talk to each other

Did you know that plants communicate with one another through their soil? They secrete a special blend of chemicals to help keep each other informed about a variety of important botanical topics such as changes in environment, a hungry local caterpillar, or the latest fashion trends (can a sunflower pull off parachute pants?).

3. There is no such thing as a zero-calorie vegetable (sorry!)

Unfortunately the only “true” zero-calorie food is water, Celery has often been heralded as the “ultimate weight loss food” as it supposedly takes more calories to chew it than you are consuming, but alas this is untrue. It all boils down to “thermic effect” which is the amount of energy it takes for your body to metabolize your food, and with this in mind celery sits at around 8% when to be a true zero-calorie powerhouse it would need to exceed 100%. Science!

4. Half the world’s population hate the taste of Brussel Sprouts

You aren’t just fussy! It’s genetic! When we eat and taste foods it is through using taste receptors on our tongues, one of the tastes that our taste receptors are on the hunt for is a chemical called “phenylthiocarbamide” or the “PTC” gene. According to Joyce Lam of “Centre of the Cell” The PTC gene comes in 2 common forms – bitter-tasting or non-tasting. As we all have 2 copies of each gene, if you have both copies to be the non-tasting gene, your PTC receptor would not work and you would not taste the bitterness of Brussel sprouts. Some people might have one of each form of the PTC gene, allowing them to have a partially working receptor and only taste part of the bitterness. On the other hand, some people will have both copies of the bitter-tasting PTC gene. They are known as ‘supertasters’ and would find Brussel sprouts extremely bitter, meaning that they are likely to be disgusted by them!

5. Oranges don’t have a monopoly on Vitamin C

When we think of Vitamin C, we generally all tend to think of Oranges as the ultimate powerhouse, however there are several other fruits and vegetables that have significantly more Vitamin C such as mango, guava, papaya, strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, peaches, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and broccoli to name but a few!

6. Holding a piece of bread in your mouth while you cut onions will stop the tears from coming!

When we cut onions it is a sulfur-like gas that is emitted from the onion as a defense-mechanism that causes our eyes to tear-up, by placing a piece of bread in our mouths with half sticking out this provides a sort of “barrier sponge” to help absorb the sulfur and stop the tears from flowing so freely.

7. Corn is a grass, seed, fruit, AND vegetable! Wow!

Botanically speaking the husk of the corn is a grass, the kernels are seeds, and the cob in its husk is a fruit! Talk about ticking all of the boxes, what an A-MAIZEing power food!

We hope that with these fun facts you never have to suffer through an awkward silence or first date again!

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