Man Made Fruits and Vegetables: (#1 You’re Going to Be Shocked)

Table of Man Made Fruits and Vegetables and Their Origins

FruitOriginal StateTransformationDiscoverer/Creator
BananaRed and GreenSweet, YellowJean Poujot
CornWild Grass (Teosinte)Large Kernels and CobsAncient Farmers
CauliflowerWild CabbageFlowering PortionMedieval Botanists
BroccoliWild CabbageFlower ClustersMedieval Botanists
AppleSmall, Sour Crab ApplesSweet and CrispVarious Horticulturists
WatermelonTough Rind, Less JuicyJuicy Red FleshAncient Cultivators
CarrotPurple and WhiteOrange, SweetSelective Breeders
StrawberryNot Sweet, More Like VegetablesSweet and FragrantFrench Botanists
OrangePomelo (female) and Mandarin (male)Sweet and CitrusyAncient Cross-Breeders
EggplantSmall, Green, RoundElongated and PurpleBotanical Improvement
image of  What Are Man-Made Fruits and Vegetables?

Can you believe that not all fruits and vegetables are naturally made? It’s true, and you may find it shocking that many of the things you eat daily are man made.

When you pick up your produce from the grocery store, you are probably reaching for items made by man, not by nature. But don’t be alarmed. These are still very nutritious and provide the same great benefits as Mother natures fruit.

Are you curious to find out which fruits and veggies in your fridge are made by man? Check out this article for information that will surprise you.

What Are Man-Made Fruits and Vegetables?

When we say man made, we don’t mean put together on a conveyor belt and shipped out in droves. This term implies that humans craft vegetation. They do this by cross breeding or selectively breeding other plants.

  • Cross breeding– To create a hybrid plant, you must locate a male and a female plant. Then you place the pollen of one into the other plant’s reproductive organs.
  • Selective breeding– This is the same as cross breeding. In this situation, farmers choose the “parents” with the best traits to create offspring. This could be specific portions of a plant or various plants.

Hybrid fruits and vegetables can also flourish from pollinating insects such as bees. This form of cross breeding typically doesn’t create large fields of crops. It can be why you see mutated vegetation sporadically throughout the year.

Man Made is Not GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)

Technically speaking, GMO produce is man made. But these products are created in a lab, where scientists alter the DNA of each plant. These fruits and veggies go through a careful and intense process.

With GMO plants, scientists insert the genes of one specific plant into the other. These plants then grow to produce specific traits picked by the creator. Most GMO plants also involve a lot of chemicals to thrive too. With the extra genes, there is a high chance they contain more herbicides and pesticides.

Table of Natural vs. GMO Foods

CriteriaMan-Made (Selective Breeding)GMO (Genetic Modification)
Creation ProcessCross-breeding plants naturallyAltering DNA in a lab
Genetic AlterationNo genetic alterationGenetic material is modified
PesticidesFewer pesticides usedMay require more pesticides
Health ImpactGenerally considered safeControversial, concerns about long-term health effects

10 Fruits and Vegetables that Are Man Made

Did we grab your attention? If so, we don’t want to leave you hanging. So we created a list of the most common fruits and veggies that come from the hand of man rather than naturally.

The list below will blow your mind. You will see these items in various gardens around the world. And are a popular crop for farmers of all sizes. These fruits and vegetables wouldn’t be possible if not for curious botanists and farmers from the past.

Check it out.

1. Bananas Haven’t Always Been a Sweet Treat

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The bananas we know today are not the same as the original version. The banana was originally found over a thousand years ago. First grown in Papua New Guinea and various areas throughout South East Asia. (*)

Cultivation of this delicious fruit gave farmers an ingredient for cooking, only cooking. Plantains, or cooking bananas, are bitter and not edible. Atleast until after you cook them.

Instead of the bright yellow color present in today’s banana, the originals were red and green. The distinct difference between the “old” and “new” makes it easy to differentiate the two.

Jean Poujot was the founder of the new, sweet, yellow bananas in 1836. The plant grew by mistake. But he quickly noticed the sweet flavor and decided to cultivate them himself. Thankfully the new fruit caught on in other countries, blowing up in popularity quickly.

2. Corn Has Very Old Roots

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Yes, believe it or not, corn isn’t a natural food either. At least not the corn we know and love today.  Corn has been around for thousands of years (more than 6000). It started off as wild, weedy grass (teosinte) more than 9000 years ago.

Teosinte is maize originating in Mexico and spread throughout Southwestern US and Peru.  Now corn is rows of brightly yellow kernels clustered together.  In the past, maize was tiny kernels growing separately from one another.  It had no cob and no ears. (*)

Researchers believe the cultivation took place to create larger kernels and cobs. This transformation of teosinte also lets farmers grow the crop in cooler temperatures.  Columbus took credit for finding corn when exploring America. But it was the Indians who started planting the crop long before.

Even though it started as a natural resource first provided by mother nature. The corn we have today wouldn’t be possible without selective breeding techniques.

3. Cauliflower, Once Cabbage

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Cauliflower has a unique background, just like the first two. This particular vegetable is 100% hand designed. It came from the same plant as broccoli and other similar veggies, grown for a sweeter and more hardy crop.

Cauliflower is one of many Brassica oleracea species from the mustard family (Brassicaceae).  The vegetable came to be in the middle ages when botanists began selective breeding. This is to create a new crop from wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea).

That is right; cauliflower started life as cabbage (well… wild cabbage). The flowering part, to be exact. This happens when parents of the same part of the plant are hand bred. The male and female plants came from the flower clusters, growing something new from an old crop.

4. Broccoli is Close Kin to Cauliflower

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Broccoli also has cabbage parents. This green vegetable is the closest kin to cauliflower. One parent comes from flower clusters. Unlike cauliflower, the other parent comes from the Brassica oleracea stem.

No other vegetable in the Brassica oleracea family has a flower cluster parent. This flowering portion is how broccoli’s head of florets came to be.

Modern day broccoli is nutritious. It is full of vitamins and nutrients, just like cabbage, but offers a sweeter flavor.

Many people stray away from eating raw cabbage. But broccoli is a favorite amongst vegetable lovers. Whether in its raw form or as an ingredient in various recipes.

5. Apples We Know and Love Today

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Apples didn’t start off as the sweet, crisp, juicy apple we all know and love today. In fact, this fruit was sour and not something you would want to eat raw.

The first apples were crab apples or Malus sieversii, grown in the tall mountains of central Asia. These wild apples were hard, small, and very sour. They were definitely not something you would want to pull from the tree and take a bit from.

Today’s apples, all 7500+, came from the wild versions, cross bred for a more favorable fruit. Some apples are now designed for specific weather conditions, and others for taste.

Sadly, Malus Sieversii is now an endangered species. It is moving closer to extinction every year. The apple that provided the roots to sweeter options today could be gone forever.

6. Watermelons Were Needed for Survival

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The cultivation of this popular, juicy red flesh fruit dates back to 2500 B.C. in India and Egypt.  Scientists found the watermelon hieroglyphics on pyramid walls and on other historical artifacts.

The thick, durable rind and 90% water inners were a great source of fluids in the hot desert. This fruit was easy to transport. And provided water to replace other sources with contamination.

Of course, watermelons from the past were not as sweet and juicy as they are today. The original fruit was yellow, and the rind was tough and hard to break through. Although you could eat the flesh, it was often used as a water source.

Through many years of cultivation and combining selective portions of various wild melons. We now have the sweet treat popular during picnics and a favorite in fruit salads.

7. Carrots Were Not Orange

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Did you know carrots were first purple and white? The vegetable is popular for its sweet taste, crunchy bit, and various cooking methods. Yet, in the past, they were thin, bitter, and had a woody core.

Wild carrots were often mistaken for parsnips and would be prepared the same way.

When selective breeding began, carrots were modified for their seeds and leaves. This, in turn, gave us herbs such as anise, Cilantro, and parsley, among others. It wasn’t until much later the root plant was also cultivated differently.

Now, these orange, thick, flavorful roots can be a delicious addition to raw salads. Or you can cook these veggies in stews, soups, or covered in spices.

8. Strawberries Are a Sign of Love

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The first sign of strawberries came from France in the mid-1700s.  The fruit came from cross breeding Fragaria moschata (male) and Fragaria chiloensis (female).

Strawberries are not actually fruit; the seeds of the Fragaria vesca plant are. Either way, the entire edible portion has always been highly regarded. Even seen as the fruit of love and reproductivity.

The sweet strawberries we have today are a cross breed between two varieties. Wild berries were not sweet at all and tasted more like vegetables. Nevertheless, the aroma has always offered a sweet, alluring scent.

9. Oranges are Quite Popular Around the World

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Oranges come from Southeast China and Northeast India. This fruit never evolved from a wild orange to the ones we love today. Instead, this sweet, citrusy, juicy snack is the offspring of a pomelo (female) and mandarin (male).

By cross breeding the two fruits, the orange was born with a thick, protective rind like the pomelo. And the sweet, tangy,  juicy flavor of a mandarin.

The first record of orange trees dates back to 314 B.C., noted in Chinese literature. As of the early 1980s, it is the most cultivated fruit in the world.

There are various orange hybrids on the market today. Each of them comes from cross breeding and human hands.

10. Eggplant

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Today’s eggplants are elongated and purple. The inside is spongy and absorbent, closely related to tomato and potato. It has a spiky component to the skin, protecting it from herbivores, and you can eat it raw or cooked.

The original eggplant was small, green, and round. The outside skin was smooth, making it a popular snack for small critters.

It was in the 7-19th century when botanists felt the need to make some changes.  Illustrations in botanical Chinese references show cultivation. This is where humans began to improve their flavor, hardiness, and appearance. It also makes the vegetable larger and more enjoyable.

Popular Hybrid Fruits and Vegetables You Already Knew Were Mad Made.

Combing various fruits and vegetables to create a new taste is very popular today.  How many of these man made fruits and vegetables have you tried?

  • Logan Berry– A cross between a wild blackberry and raspberry
  • Boysen Berry– A cross between Logan Berry and Eastern Dewberry
  • Tangelo- A cross between a tangerine and a pomelo
  • Pineberry- A cross between a pineapple and strawberry
  • Plumcot- A cross between a plum and apricot
  • Limequat- A cross between a lime and a kumquat
  • Broccoflower- A cross between broccoli and cauliflower
  • Brokali- A cross between broccoli and kale
  • Peacotum- A three way cross between a peach, apricot, and plum

These hybrids are interesting, to say the least, and are only a handful of man made vegetation available.

FAQs

img of Enter the World of Man-Made Produce: Fruits and Veggies

The Complete Man Made Fruits and Vegetables List

Get an extensive list of man-made fruits and vegetables with detailed information. Find out why they have been created and what makes them unique!
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • Bananas
  • Corn
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Watermelons
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Eggplant

Learn more: 8 Vegetables That Start With the Letter V

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