How Your Favorite Foods Are Grown

A couple of months ago I was browsing a website where someone had posted about how cashews are grown. How food looked while it was growing was something I’d really never thought about before. Once I found out about cashews I started to do Google image searches of every fruit and vegetable I could think of and was really surprised by some of the things I was seeing. I wanted to share a few of my favorites here and I’ll begin with the one that started it all.

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Cashews
Cashews grow on trees, inside of a shell that grows off a fruit called a cashew apple or marañón. The apple itself is a sweet, edible fruit that is eaten as is or made into juice. The shell that houses the cashew contains urushiol which is the same oil found in poison ivy and because of this, cashews need to be properly roasted to destroy the toxin. Read more here.

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Brussels Sprouts
How crazy does this thing look? Brussels sprouts grow in a spiral along a stalk which looks like a miniature palm tree. Here’s a photo of a field of sprouts after harvest and the leafy greens you see at the top of some stalks can also be cooked and eaten. (source)

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Almonds
Almonds grow on a tree that produces gorgeous white and pink flowers which eventually grow a hull. Inside the hull is a shell similar to a peach pit and inside that is where the almond grows. Read more here.

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Asparagus
I’m not exactly sure how I imagined asparagus grew, but it definitely wasn’t like this. Don’t they look beautiful just growing out of the ground like that? Once you plant asparagus it will continue to give you crops for up to twenty years! Learn more about asparagus here.

Did any of these surprise you? Have you ever grown or seen any of these crops or trees in person?

18 Comments on How Your Favorite Foods Are Grown

  1. Priyanka
    October 20, 2011 at 10:53 am (3 years ago)

    I have seen the cashew trees in person and tasted it too. It tasted a little off to me when it was freshly plucked and given. My taste buds have become too processed for the finished stuff :)

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s so neat! I’m assuming you ate the fruit, right? Are the trees small or on the bigger side?

      Reply
  2. Errign
    October 20, 2011 at 11:57 am (3 years ago)

    At Trader Joe’s when they’re in season, they sell Brussels on the stalk. so fun :)

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm (3 years ago)

      Ah, how cool! I’m definitely going to look around here for one when they’re in season. There’s no TJ’s here, but maybe they sell them somewhere else.

      Reply
  3. Melisande
    October 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm (3 years ago)

    i never knew about the oil in cashews! so interesting. i love the photos of the asparagus and almonds too. i grew up in a big agricultural county and saw so many strange crops and fields! it’s very fascinating to me.

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Isn’t that crazy? I read that you have to roast them outdoors because the smoke will really mess up your lungs with that oil. I’ve lived in Tennessee so you’d think I would’ve been exposed to some of these somewhere along the way but I had no clue. I find it very fascinating too.

      Reply
  4. Brittany @ Pretty Fit, Pretty Healthy, Pretty Happy
    October 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm (3 years ago)

    What a great idea for a post! I never knew about cashews having something similar to poison ivy on them. I’ve heard of raw cashew butter before, so I wonder how they get away with that without the toxin ruining someone’s cashew butter and jelly sandwich. Maybe wash them in calamine lotion? Kidding.
    I’ve seen the stalks at Trader Joe’s, too, Errign!

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm (3 years ago)

      I’ve heard of that too so I was a little confused about that part. The answer I found was that you have to steam them to get them out of their shell and there really isn’t such a thing as a truly raw cashew. Here’s a good post about it: http://www.wisegeek.com/are-raw-cashews-really-poisonous.htm

      Ingredients: Cashews, Oil, Calamine hahaha :]

      Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm (3 years ago)

      Isn’t it? This kinda stuff is so interesting.

      Reply
  5. Liz @ IHeartVegetables
    October 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm (3 years ago)

    WOAH. I just realized I had NO idea where cashews came from. Like none. I guess I would just imagine people picking them off trees. Weird.

    As for Brussels sprouts… EW. That thing freaks me out. I like to eat them but I Dont’ like to look at that branch thing!

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 21, 2011 at 9:16 am (3 years ago)

      I know, right? It’s the type of thing you never think about.

      I totally agree that brussels sprout stalk is pretty creepy looking. haha.

      Reply
  6. Vanessa
    October 21, 2011 at 2:04 am (3 years ago)

    My mind is blown right now. WHAT THE HECK. So amazing.

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 21, 2011 at 9:17 am (3 years ago)

      It is really amazing and so neat to see how things grow. Cashews were the one that really just got to me. So crazy.

      Reply
  7. Lindsay Beeson
    October 21, 2011 at 7:15 am (3 years ago)

    Umm, I want to walk though a patch of Brussels sprouts. Can you imagine?! Like a little fairie/hobbit/elf village.

    I love this!

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 21, 2011 at 9:18 am (3 years ago)

      Haha, yes! That is exactly what it looks like!

      Reply
  8. Beth
    October 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I guess i just assumed all nuts grew like walnuts or something. I wonder how / who decided to group “nuts” together in the first place since it seems like they come from fruits, plants, etc. Weird!

    I lived in Colorado for a few years and one time my aunt, mother, cousin and myself went asparagus picking. Lol. My aunt knew a lady who had a ton of land and it grew wild and crazy, so she’d let anyone come and pick it if they wanted some. Up until that day i had no clue how it grew. :)

    Reply
    • Anastasia
      October 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm (3 years ago)

      I assumed they grew like walnuts too. I read on the Wiki page that an almond isn’t a nut, but a drupe, which I’d never heard of before.

      Asparagus picking sounds fun! If I didn’t have any idea how it grew and shown up at a farm to pick some I would have freaked out when I saw it. haha. I’m assuming you don’t pull it out of the ground so it can continue to grow so do you just cut it at the base? It seems like it’d be tough to cut through. I want to go asparagus picking now :]

      Reply

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