Food | Weird

21 Facts That Will Make You Look At Your Food Differently

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They say that you can never truly know somebody, and that's probably true. But you would hope that the food in your kitchen was a little more dependable.

It turns out that some of America's most popular foods are hiding bizarre secrets. Here are 21 foods you'll never look at the same way:

1. Bananas are clones

Ever notice that banana candies don't taste like the real thing? That's because the banana "flavor" is based on the taste of a Gros Michel banana. Those went extinct in the 1950s, and the gold standard for bananas switched to the Cavendish.

Cavendish bananas have been bred over decades to become clones of each other, with every single banana sharing the exact same genetic material. That's part of their a-peel: there's no seeds in a cloned Cavendish.

2. Every fig contains a wasp

Figs have a very special relationship with these bugs. Every variety of fig is pollinated by a different species of wasp. When the female wasp flies into the fig, they lose their wings and become trapped.

A fig wasp climbs onto one of the fruit.Wikimedia

Of course, enzymes inside the fig dissolve the bug before you eat it, but does that make it any less disgusting?

3. Mountain Dew is mainly orange juice

Yes, really. The third ingredient on most bottles of Dew is concentrated orange juice. But no, that doesn't mean it's a healthy part of a balanced breakfast.

4. Tea bags are not meant to be dunked

Well, today's modern ones are designed to be dipped in water, but that wasn't the original idea. When Thomas Sullivan started making them in 1908, they were meant to be free samples of loose tea. But his customers found it was easier to dip the whole bag in water instead.

5. Lots of foods contain beaver butt

You should be warned what "castoreum" means, in case you notice it on any ingredient lists. This substance is processed from the anal glands of beavers, and used as a vanilla substitute in lots of processed foods.

In the wild, beavers mix castoreum and urine to mark their territory.

6. Look out for "natural food coloring"

While food makers still use all kinds of natural products to make food dye, the key ingredient for the red color is a little gross.

A cochineal insect.

Carmine, or dried and ground up cochineal beetles, have been used to make red dyes for thousands of years. They're still found in all kinds of foods, including Skittles.

7. What's in wax?

Another food fact you'd probably rather not learn: what do they make gummy candies out of? It's carnauba wax, the same stuff that they use to give your car a good shine.

A carnauba plant.It Still Runs

Both varieties of the product are made from the leaves of the carbauba palm tree, which grows in Brazil. It's also used to make floor polish, shoe polish, cosmetics, and medicinal tablets.

8. "Acceptable" levels of insect parts

If you asked me what the "acceptable level" of bugs or rodent hair in my food was, I would say none. But I guess the FDA doesn't have my high standards.

The organization has outlined the levels of food contamination that they're take action over, and they're pretty relaxed. In chocolate, for example, less than 60 insect fragments in 100 grams of chocolate is okay. Yuck!

9. Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada

Does this count as false advertising? Whether you love it or hate it, Sam Panopoulos from Chatham, Ontario is responsible for this popular pizza variety. (He passed away earlier this year, so go easy on it with all the complaints about pineapple on your pizza.)

10. Strawberries aren't berries

They're really fruit, and so are raspberries. Berries come from a single "flower" with more than one "ovary," which is why they grow in bunches. That means strawberries, which grow individually with multiple seeds (on the outside) are fruits.

Meanwhile, bananas are berries. Maybe. They certainly fit the bill because they bloom in bunches, but the banana "tree" is made of tightly woven leaves. Some people think that makes bananas herbs. Lets just keep things simple and call everything a fruit. Okay?

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