All posts by Amy Davis

Cucumber

Fun Facts

  • There are over 800 species in the Cucurbitaceae family and they include cucumbers, gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes.
  • The inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the exterior.
  • Per capita, Americans eat about eight pounds of pickles per year.

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Dried Beans

Fun Facts

  • Beans cause gas due to the sugars and soluble fiber contained in the beans. As the beans move through the intestines, gas is produced when bacteria living in our large intestines begin to breakdown the sugars and soluble fiber.
  • Gas can be prevented by soaking dry beans prior to cooking them in a fresh pot of water. Soaking beans helps break down some of the sugars that eventually cause gas. Other options to prevent gas include adding more beans to your diet on a regular basis or switching to canned beans since some of the gas-producing substances are eliminated in the canning process (rinse canned beans to wash off excess salt).

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Dried Fruit

Fun Facts

  • 95% of the 30 million pounds of dates grown in the United States come from the Coachella and Salt River Valleys in Southern California.
  • California’s San Joaquin Valley grows 20 percent of the world’s figs and 99% of the nation’s crop.
  • California is the world’s leader of dried plums, producing about 65% of the world’s supply and almost 99% of the nation’s supply.
  • Since 2001, California’s dried plum crop has had an average annual value of about $130 million.
  • In the United States, raisins are produced almost exclusively in California’s Central Valley (mostly in Fresno County) and represent nearly half of the world’s supply.
  • 90% of raisin production comes from the Thompson seedless grape variety.

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Grapefruit

Fun Facts

  • In one day, a processing plant can squeeze millions of pounds of grapefruits.
  • The whole grapefruit is used during the juicing process. After juicing, the grapefruit skins can be used to make essential oils and essences or can be converted to molasses for cattle feed.
  • The United States produced 1.23 million tons of grapefruit in 2006.
  • Florida is the world’s largest grower of grapefruit and exports grapefruit all over the world.
  • Harvesters use picking sacks which hold 85 pounds of grapefruit which is equal to one standard box.
  • Most grapefruit groves are hand-picked; no mechanical harvesting is used.
  • Groves vary in size and can be anywhere from five acres to 2,000 acres with roughly 100 trees per acre.
  • One acre of a grove can produce some 400-700 boxes of grapefruit. 700 boxes of grapefruit equal almost 60,000 pounds.
  • Grapefruit begins to bear fruit four to six years after planting and can produce up to 30 or 40 fruits on a single branch. A single tree in a productive year can generate 1,300 to 1,500 pounds of fruit.
  • Grapefruit trees can produce for 30-40 years.

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Grapes

Fun Facts

  • Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Hieroglyphics show that Egyptians were involved in grape (and wine) production, and the early Romans were known to have developed many varieties.
  • In California, the boom in grapes planted for fresh consumption arose in the early 1800s when a number of settlers recognized the untapped agricultural possibilities of the then-Mexican territory.
  • Grapes are a form of berry. Grapes grow in bunches on climbing, woody vines that grow from the ground. Grapes can be grown in most temperate climates, but the vines thrive in tropical and subtropical regions with average annual temperatures above 50 F.
  • Although most variety of grapes are very sweet, its glycemic index is still at a very safe level of 50. In fact, grape juice is an excellent stimulator of your body metabolism in helping to burn excess food and waste. It supplies heat and energy to the body in a short space of time after drinking.

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Green Beans

Fun Facts

  • The green bean was introduced to the Mediterranean upon the return of Columbus from his second voyage to the New World in 1493. In Columbus’s diary from November 4, 1492 he describes lands in Cuba planted with faxones and fabas “different than ours.” Later he encounterd fexoes and habas that were different than the ones he knew from Spain. Faxones was probably the cowpea and fabas and habas was the fava bean. The beans Columbus found were undoubtedly what is now designated Phaseolus vulgaris.
  • For both types, flowers form between around 15 and 45 days of growth. After pollination, the bean flowers swell into the bean pods we eat.
  • All beans, except cool-weather fava beans, are sensitive to frost and cold soil temperatures. Plant when the soil is warm, and all danger of frost is past. Rotate the location of bean crops from year to year to discourage disease.
  • Green beans are low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.
  • Choose straight green beans (not crooked ones) because they are easier to cook and prepare.

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Kiwi

Fun Facts

  • Kiwifruit actually comes in two colors, green and gold.
  • The green kiwi is the most popular. It has a fuzzy brown skin, bright green flesh with tiny black seeds and a white center.
  • The gold kiwi is fairly new in the United States. It looks the same as the green kiwi on the outside except without the fuzz. The inside is golden yellow with tiny black seeds.

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Lemon & Lime

Fun Facts

  • Francis Bacon wrote about the value of citrus fruits as a remedy of “the sickness taken at sea.” (Known today as scurvy, which is a lack of vitamin C.)
  • In 1867, The Shipping Act instructed all registered ships must carry supplies of lime or lemon juice. This act remains in force today.
  • In 1767, Dr. Macbride suggested that fresh lime juice should be mixed with bicarbonate of soda – this is the world’s first fizzy drink.

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Mandarins

Fun Facts

  • Mandarin oranges are not oranges (Citrus sinensis), and to avoid confusion are often referred to as simply “mandarins.” The name “tangerine” is used to refer to mandarins of a deep, orange-red color and is derived from a mandarin cultivar that originated in Tangier, Morocco. While the two names are used interchangeably for commercial purposes, this is botanically incorrect.
  • The mandarin orange is native to southeastern Asia and the Philippines.
  • In 1840, the Willow-leaf and China mandarin varieties are imported by from Italy and planted in New Orleans; varieties later travel to Florida and then California by end of 19th century.
  • In 1914, Clementines are introduced to California farmers after five years of study at UC Riverside.
  • Standard Mandarin is the official language of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, also known as Taiwan), as well as one of four official languages of Singapore.

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Mango

Fun Facts

  • Mangoes are native to southern Asia, particularly eastern India, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and the Andaman Islands. Mangoes have been loved since Ancient times and cultivated for at least 4,000 years.
  • The first mango was cultivated in Florida in 1833, which is the largest US producer. (India is the largest producer world-wide.)
  • One cup of mangos is just 100 calories, so it’s a sweet treat that won’t weigh you down. Each serving of mango is fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free.
  • The timber of the mango tree is used for boats, flooring, furniture and other applications.
  • In India, flour is made from mango seeds. Seeds are also eaten during periods of food shortages.

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Melon

Fun Facts

  • On average, it takes about 10 to 15 bee visits for proper pollination to grow melons.
  • By weight, the watermelon is the most common melon consumed in America, followed by the cantaloupe and honeydew melon.
  • There are many varieties of the “western shipping type” cantaloupe, but since consumers cannot differentiate between them, they are marketed under the general name as “cantaloupe.”
  • There are four main varieties of watermelon: allsweet, ice-box, seedless and yellow flesh.

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Onion and Leek

Fun Facts

  • China produces over 20 million tons of onions!
  • Around 9.2 million acres of onions are harvested annually around the world.
  • Libya has the highest consumption of onions in the world with around 30kg per person consumed annually.
  • In the middle ages onions were not just used as food, but as medicine to relieve headaches, snake bites and to cure hair loss.
  • Pilgrims took onions to America on the Mayflower only to discover that the Native Americans already used them extensively for food, clothing dyes and even as toys.
  • Onion skins have been used in some dyes for things like wool.
  • You cry when onions are cut because some compounds are released that irritate the lachrymal glands in the eyes which causes tears to be released.

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Papaya

Fun Facts

  • Since the papaya plant does NOT have bark, it is considered an herb (NOT a tree), that can grow 10 to 12 feet in height.
  • Papayas are good for you and can potentially lower the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and colon cancer. In addition, one papaya can exceed the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C and is also rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, all of which are beneficial antioxidants.
  • Papaya juice is said to reduce freckles or brown spots caused due to exposure to sunlight. It also has a positive effect on skin ulcers and on severe burn wounds.
  • Ripe papaya extract also contains enough vitamins and antioxidants to make it worth taking as a dietary supplement. The extract can be taken on a daily basis to aid in digestion.
  • Papayas contain substances called chitinases that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. People who have a latex allergy are very likely to be allergic to papaya as well. Cooking the food may deactivate the enzymes.

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Peach

Fun Facts

  • Genetically, nectarines differ from peaches by a single recessive gene — the one that makes peaches fuzzy.
  • Yellow-fleshed peaches are more popular among Americans and Europeans, while Asians prefer the white-fleshed varieties.
  • Members of the rose family, peaches are related to the almond.
  • The peach is the state flower of Delaware and the state fruit of South Carolina. Georgia is nicknamed The Peach State.
  • In World War I, peach pits were used as filters in gas masks.

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Pear

Fun Facts

  • Pears have been grown for a long time. France and Belgium were the first to grow pears as a harvested crop. Pears were valued for their flavor, texture and long storage life.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin C which is essential for metabolism, healing and guarding against infectious diseases.
  • Pears ripen better off the tree and from the inside out.
  • California is #1 for growing Bartlett pears and #2 in pear production, growing 32% of all pears grown in the United States.

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Pea

Fun Facts

  • The oldest pea ever recorded was found in Thailand. It was 3,000 years old!
  • The proper etiquette for eating peas in the United Kingdom is to smash them into a mush with the back of a fork.
  • Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of peas. The country produces almost half of the world’s supply of peas. France, China, and Russia and the next top producing countries.
  • Pea plants will grow up to 6 feet or higher as vines in rich soil.
  • The world record for eating peas is 7,175 peas in an hour set by an English woman in 1984.
  • Peas were among the first vegetables to frozen before they were marketed. About 95% of all peas harvested today are sold frozen or canned.
  • Peas are sometimes consumed to relieve ulcer pains in the stomach because they ‘absorb’ some of the acid.

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Pomegranates

Fun Facts

  • Each pomegranate contains about 600 seeds, or arils.
  • The pomegranate is native to region between Northern India and Iran. The fruit has been grown from India all the way through the Mediterranean basin since ancient times.
  • The seeds of the pomegranate are a good source of potassium and vitamin C.
  • The fruit also contains polyphenol–a compound that is shown to promote heart health.
  • The dark color of the pomegranate juice has large amounts of antioxidants in it which are credited in helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

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Bell Peppers

Fun Facts

  • Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers, are like the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world since they are beautifully shaped, glossy in appearance and come in a variety of vivid colors such as green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown and black.
  • Bell peppers have a delightful, slightly watery crunch. Green and purple peppers have a slightly bitter flavor, while the red, orange and yellows are sweeter and almost fruity.
  • The most popular sweet pepper in the United States is the bell pepper.
  • As bell peppers mature, their color changes from green to red and they become sweeter.
  • The pepper plant is a member of the Solanaceae or “nightshade” family, which also includes tomatoes and potatoes.
  • Peppers are botanically a fruit of Capsicum plants. However, in the culinary world, people recognize peppers as a vegetable.
  • Pimento and paprika are both prepared from red bell peppers.

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Blueberries & Cranberries

Fun Facts

  • Botanists estimate that blueberries burst onto the scene more than 13,000 years ago, in what is now North America. Native Americans enjoyed blueberries year-round. They dried blueberries in the sun and added them whole to soups, stews and meat, and even crushed them into a powder to use on meat as a preservative.
  • Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry’s versatility as a food, fabric dye and healing agent.
  • In the USA, Cranberries were first cultivated in the early 1800s and blueberries in the early 1900s.
  • Cranberries contain bacteria-blocking compounds that are believed to be helpful in preventing urinary tract infections, and scientists now think this same function may be useful in blocking the bacteria responsible for ulcers and certain oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease.
  • Native Americans called blueberries “star berries” because the blossom end of each berry – the calyx – forms a perfect five-pointed star. Tribal elders recounted how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to ease the children’s hunger during a famine. And according to legend, Native Americans gave blueberries to the pilgrims to help them make it through their first winter.

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Broccoli

Fun Facts

  • Broccoli is a plant of the cabbage family, Brassicaceae, formerly known as Cruciferae. It is classified as part of the Brassica oleracea Italica Group and is related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.
  • Eventually, the vegetable was named brocco in Italian, meaning branch or arm. The word broccolo is the diminutive form of brocco and refers to cabbage sprout, while broccoli is plural and refers to the numerous flower-like shoots that form the head of the plant. In agricultural terms, it is often referred to as a cole crop, meaning that it is grown for the head it produces.
  • People worldwide are eating over 940% more broccoli today than 25 years ago.
  • Today, the average person in the United States eats 4.5 pounds of broccoli each year.
  • Broccoli is one of the most popular garden vegetables to date, mostly because it is very easy to grow.

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Cabbage

Fun Facts

  • Many vegetables evolved from the original wild cabbage including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi.
  • All cole crops can be cross-bred, making it easy and economical to develop new cabbage varieties.
  • Primary uses of cabbages include processed coleslaw (40-45%), fresh head (35%), sauerkraut (12%), various fresh-cut products (5-10%), and dried (less than 5%).
  • Technological advancements in packaging have increased the number of cabbage heads for market about 30% since 1996.

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Carrots

Fun Facts

  • The carrot soon caught on in England as both a food and a fashion accessory. Ladies would often use carrot tops to decorate their hats.
  • The scene from the movie It Happened One Night in which Clark Gable leans nonchalantly against a fence eating carrots while talking to Claudette Colbert inspired the creators of Bugs Bunny to give him the same nonchalant, carrot-eating demeanor.
  • China is the world’s top carrot producer. The country produced 35 percent of the world’s carrots in 2004. Russia is the second top producer and the United States the third.
  • Carrots are about 87% water.
  • Eating too many carrots can cause a person’s skin to turn yellowish orange, especially on the palms or soles of the feet. This is called carotenemia. It is completely reversible once the consumption of carrots is reduced.
  • The longest carrot ever recorded was nearly 17 feet long.
  • The largest carrot ever recorded weighed 18.985 pounds.

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Celery

Fun Facts

  • The oldest record of the word celeri is in a 9th-century poem written in France or Italy, giving the medicinal uses (instead of food uses) and merits of the plant.
  • The late 17th and early 18th centuries in Italy, France, and England saw the first evidences of improvement of the wild type. Gardeners also found that much of the too-strong flavor could be eliminated, making the stalks better for salad use, by growing the plants in late summer and fall, then keeping them into the winter.
  • By the mid-18th century in Sweden, the wealthier families were enjoying the wintertime luxury of celery that had been stored in cellars. From that time on, its use as we know it today spread rapidly.
  • Celery plants don’t like hot weather at all. The crop will thrive only where the winters are mild, or where the summers are relatively cool, or where there’s a long, cool growing period in the fall.
  • Celery is an excellent source vitamin K, which helps heal cuts and supports the immune system!
  • Celery is also known to promote relaxation and sleep and act as a digestive aid.

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Cooked Greens

Fun Facts

  • There are many types of tasty and nutritious cooked greens.
  • Collards were grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans. They are the oldest leafy green within the cabbage family.
  • Like collards, kale descended from wild cabbage in eastern Europe and parts of Asia.
  • Bok choy is a descendant of Chinese cabbage that originated in China about 6,000 years ago.
  • Swiss chard was first grown in Sicily (Italy), but a Swiss scientist was the first to name it.
  • Collard, mustard, and turnip greens are commonly known as “Southern greens.”
  • In Chinese, bok choy means “white vegetable.”
  • Although it looks like romaine lettuce or celery stalks, bok choy is actually a type of cabbage.
  • Swiss chard is a type of beet grown for its edible leaves.
  • Some kale varieties are “flowering” and grown for their white, red, pink, purple, and blue ornamental leaves.

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Corn

Fun Facts

  • The average ear of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows.
  • Corn is grown on every continent of the world with the exception of Antarctica.
  • Most of the corn grown in the United States is used to feed cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry.
  • Corn is used in processed foods and industrial products, such as cornstarch and plastics.

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Pineapple

Fun Facts

  • The pineapple plant is an herbaceous monocot. It grows 2-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
  • Fresh pineapple is the only known source of bromelain, which is an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory properties. Pineapple also contains potassium, iron, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.
  • People decorate their homes and offices with pineapples as a symbol of luck, so that one’s efforts will come to fruition.
  • In some cultures the pineapple is known as one of the best gifts for a house warming party or the opening of a new business.
  • Pineapples have an enzyme in them, like kiwi and papaya, that when used with meats will make the meat more tender. This enzyme is no longer active after it has been heated so canned varieties will not have this same property.

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Plum

Fun Facts

  • A “plumcot” is 50% plum and 50% apricot.
  • An “aprium” is 75% apricot and 25% plum.
  • A “pluot” is 75% plum and 25% apricot.
  • Wild plum trees are symbolic of independence.
  • Luther Burbank brought twelve plum seeds back from Japan, now almost all plums grown in the United States are related to those seeds.

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Raspberries and Blackberries

Fun Facts

  • Both raspberries and blackberries are native to England. However, the wild raspberry is native to North America.
  • The tayberry, loganberry, and boysenberry are hybrids of blackberries and raspberries.
  • The boysenberry, a type of trailing blackberry, was cultivated in California by horticulturist Rudolph Boysen. Walter Knott began selling it at his roadside fruit stand in the mid-1930s.
  • There are four colors of raspberries: gold, black, purple, and red.
  • Compared to other fruit sources, berries offer the highest content of antioxidants and phytochemicals for fighting disease. Berries are also rich in many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium and zinc—minerals that are frequently deficient in the diets of most Americans

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Root Vegetables

Fun Facts

  • Root vegetables are the roots of plants that are eaten as vegetables. These roots grow into the ground from the base of the plant stem. They anchor the plant, absorb water and nutrients, and store energy. Root vegetables are divided into six subgroups: Tap Roots; Tuberous Roots; Corms; Rhizomes; Tubers; and Bulbs
  • For example, turnips and rutabagas are tap roots, while jicamas are tuberous roots.
  • Only the jicama tuber root is edible, the rest of the plant is not.
  • Besides complex carbohydrates, root vegetables also provide beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Turnips are produced mainly as a small (approximately 400 acres) commercial crop in Kern County and Imperial County in California.

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Salad Greens

Fun Facts

  • Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That’s about five times more than what we ate in the early 1900s.
  • In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable (behind potatoes and tomatoes which are technically fruits).
  • The salad green variety referred to as mache is also nicknamed lamb’s lettuce for its tender, velvety leaves.
  • The ancient wild relative of lettuce contained a sedative-like compound. Ancient Romans and Egyptians would take advantage of this property by eating lettuce at the end of a meal to help induce sleep.

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Spinach

Fun Facts

  • Spinach is a native plant of Persia, modern day Iran. It was introduced to China in the 7th century and was most probably brought to Europe in about the 12th century and to the US in 1806.
  • In the 10 years from 1992-2002, the annual consumption of spinach jumped 66% mostly due to the availability of pre-cut bagged spinach. In a survey conducted by Bon Appetit magazine in 2005, 56% respondents toted spinach as their favorite vegetable.
  • Spinach is one of the few vegetables that is available year-round. It grows best in cool, not freezing, moist condition especially during spring and autumn. It grows well in sandy soils.
  • California is the number 1 U.S. grower/supplier of fresh and processed spinach accounting for almost 75% of national production. Processed spinach can be canned, frozen, or pureed for baby food.
  • Popeye, a cartoon, was introduced in 1929 and U.S. spinach growers credited him with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption. It was a welcome boost especially during the depression era. Popeye was very strong because he ate spinach every day—that was the message he delivered in each cartoon. For many years, spinach was the third most popular children’s food after turkey and ice cream.

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Squash

Fun Facts

  • Squash originated in Mexico or Central America and belong to a family of gourds along with cucumbers and melons.
  • The Iroquois planted the “three sisters.” Squash, maize, and beans were the staples of nearly every Native American Tribe.
  • The word “squash”, in a Rhode Island Native American language means “eaten raw” however, most winter squash is eaten cooked and rarely eaten raw.
  • One cup of cooked butternut squash contains 214% of the daily value for Vitamin A. It’s also an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of potassium.
  • There are two main squash varieties: winter and summer.
  • Pumpkin is a type of winter squash.

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Strawberries

Fun Facts

  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
  • The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
  • In medieval times, strawberries were served at important functions to bring peace & prosperity.
  • To symbolize perfection, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
  • Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. Needless to say, she did not bathe daily.
  • There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
  • Over 53% of seven to nine-year-olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.

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Sweet Potatoes

Fun Facts

  • The sweet potato is not a potato or even a distant cousin. Potatoes are tubers and sweet potatoes are roots.
  • A root is actually a root of the plant whereas a tuber, although it grows underground, is a part of the stem of the plant (that grows underground).
  • The inside of a sweet potato is orange which  tells us that sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene comes from plants and changes into vitamin A when you eat it.
  • Sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A. It would take 23 cups of broccoli to provide the same amount of vitamin A as in one medium sweet potato.
  • One of the many things vitamin A does for you is help your body grow normally.
  • Sweet potatoes also have iron. Iron is an important mineral for your body. When you do not get enough iron from the foods you eat, you might feel more tired than usual.
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPI) has ranked sweet potatoes as the No. 1 most nutritious vegetable.
  • When Christopher Columbus landed on America’s shores in 1492, the Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes. Columbus and his men loved the tasty sweet potatoes so much that they brought them back to Europe to grow their own.
  • Native Americans called sweet potatoes batatas. The Pilgrims and Native Americans ate sweet potatoes at the first Thanksgiving feast. Do you eat sweet potatoes at your Thanksgiving dinner?

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Tomatoes

Fun Facts

  • There are more than 4,000 varieties of tomatoes ranging in size, shape, and color.
  • Tomatoes are grown in every state in the United States.
  • Tomatoes are also the most popular home-grown fruit or vegetable.
  • From the Botanist (scientist that studies plants) point of view, the tomato is a fruit. In the 1893 U.S. Supreme Court case of “Nix v. Hedden,” the tomato was declared a vegetable, along with cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas (all also botanically considered fruit.) This came about as a result of tariff laws in 1887, which imposed a duty on vegetables but not fruits.
  • According to the USDA, Americans eat more than 22 pounds of tomatoes each year, more than half of this amount in the form of ketchup and/or tomato sauce.
  • At first, tomatoes were used by our European ancestors as tabletop and ornamental plants, since they were widely believed to be poisonous (due to their belonging to the same family of the poisonous plant belladonna).
  • Tomatoes are a source of vitamin K and potassium, a good source of vitamin C and A, and are rich in lycopene.
  • Lycopene is an antioxidant that may decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease and also help to keep the immune system healthy. It cannot be produced in the body so it can only be obtained by eating lycopene-rich foods.
  • Cooked tomato products, sauces, and juices contain higher amounts of lycopene than raw tomatoes due to greater concentration (i.e., it takes many cups of raw tomatoes to make one cup of tomato sauce, and thus the lycopene concentration is greater).

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Zucchini

Fun Facts

  • Zucchinis contain 95%water; a small one contains about 25 calories. Substitute zucchini for a baked potato and save more than 100 calories.
  • Zucchinis were first brought to the United States in the 1920s by the Italians.
  • Courgette is what the French and the British call zucchini.
  • The flowers of the zucchini plant are edible. Fried squash blossoms are considered a delicacy.
  • Purportedly, the world’s largest zucchini measured 69 inches long and weighed 65 pounds, although there is no photographic documentation.
  • Zucchini is fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, rich in manganese and vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana.
  • One pound of zucchini equals about 4 cups grated zucchini; 2 cups of salted and squeezed zucchini; about 1 cup mashed zucchini; and 3 cups chunked zucchini.
  • Zucchini bread is one of the most popular ways to use zucchini.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. Small to medium sized zucchinis are the most flavorful and the darker the skin, the richer the nutrients.
  • The town of Obetz, Ohio has an annual Zucchini Fest each year.

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Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Every month we feature a new fruit or veggie. Get fun facts, recipes, and more!