These Photos Showing How Our Favorite Foods Grow Feels Like Something We Weren’t Supposed To See

Unless you grew up on a farm, then you probably haven’t thought much about how food grows. It’s hard to believe that we can spend so much time and money eating, but we have absolutely no idea what our food looks like before it gets to the grocery store.

We think we have a good idea of what grows on a vine, or underground, or on a tree, but I’m here to tell you that we really don’t. The world has even been lying to us about what bananas look like. These photos almost feel like we’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at something we shouldn’t be.

Asparagus Grows Straight Up Like Darts

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I buy asparagus whenever it’s in season and never really considered the fact that it would grow that naturally straight. And I guess when you think about it, the pointed ends make sense for shooting up through the ground.

Even though it all logically adds up, it’s just uncomfortable to see these little single asparagus sprouts.

Cocoa Beans Start Out White

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The beans grow inside a large pod that hangs from trees. Once the pod is plucked, the beans are taken out, toasted, then ground into cocoa powder. You can eat the beans before toasting. Apparently, they have a nutty taste and turn bitter.

And before someone asks, no, white chocolate isn’t made from the untoasted white cocoa beans.

The Word Avocado Means ‘Testicle’ For Obvious Reasons

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In the native Nahuatl langue, avocado translates to testicle because the fruit grows from trees in a pair. This is definitive proof that humans have always made dirty jokes. All this tells me is that millennials can’t buy houses because they’re eating testicle toast every morning for breakfast.

Speaking of nuts, the nut coming up grows off another food in the strangest way.

Cucumbers Just Dangle There

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I remember The Magic School Bus episode where they grow cucumbers, and Keesha’s turns into a pickle. But nowhere in that episode do they drop the bomb that cucumbers grow on a vine.

I mean, it makes sense, but it’s weird to see them awkwardly hanging there.

Coffee Beans Are Ready To Pick When They’re Bright Red

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First, cocoa beans are white, and now coffee beans are red? Well, the beans themselves aren’t bright red, but the pods they grow in are.

The coffee bean pods will grow in big bushels and are ready to be cracked open to get the bean once the pod is a juicy red color.

Cashews Are The Seeds Of An Apple

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Cashew nuts are the seed of a cashew apple. After they pluck the apple and remove the seed/nut, they turn the apple into juice. People say it’s actually pretty good and tastes like a mix of mango, cucumber, and citrus.

Keep reading to see which trendy superfood grows like a grain, but isn’t close to being one.

Artichokes Have A Bright Flower Blooming On Top

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So artichokes have a huge purple flower that blooms on them, but you’ll never see one of them in the grocery store because the flower makes the plant inedible.

Once the flower blooms, the artichoke becomes so hard that you can’t even eat it. The flower is basically just there to look pretty.

I Honestly Thought Peanuts Just Showed Up Out Of Nowhere

Photo credit: @PeanutFarmers / Twitter

So, I’m not entirely sure how I thought peanuts grew, but I definitely didn’t think they were the roots of a plant. It looks like I could have been walking by peanut plants all my life and had no idea they were there.

The nuts are the seeds on the roots of the plant. Once they’re pulled up, you can pluck them off and crack open the shell right then and there.

Quinoa Grows Up Like A Grain But Is Closely Related To Spinach

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Quinoa is an ancient food that has just recently become trendy, and the question we’re all asking is: what is it? Is it a grain? A protein? A vegetable? The plant grows up like grain, but genetically, quinoa is closer to spinach. Apparently, the official definition of it is a “starchy seed.”

The vegetable coming up is technically a flower, and it grows surrounded by leaves.

Pineapples Are The Center Of Attention

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In retrospect, I totally should have expected a fruit as unique as pineapple to look like this. Pineapples grow individually in the center of a leafy plant.

It kind of looks like the opening scene from The Little Mermaid where all the basic mermaids are getting ready to present the star of the show, Ariel.

Brussels Sprouts Look Like A Christmas Jingle Bell Stick

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So first of all, they’re technically called “brussels sprouts” not “brussel sprouts.” The plural form makes sense when you see that they grow all together on this weird long stalk underground.

Also, as you can see, they look like one of those wooden sticks with jingle bells all around it when they’re pulled up.

Broccoli Is Technically A Flower

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The broccoli plant has to be one of the lamest looking flowers I’ve ever seen. The part we eat is technically the center of the flower, and the leaves around are the petals. Broccoli plants were cultivated in Italy but were considered “exotic” in America even though nothing about it looks exotic.

The fruit coming up grows more like a popular fall vegetable.

No One Told Us Banana Plants Have A Spiky Flower Hanging Off It

Photo credit: Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images

For years I was led to believe that bananas grow upside down in bundle on trees, and that was it. At some point, TV and books forgot to tell us all that there is a massive spikey flower growing off the end of the bundle.

And the flower is surprisingly important. If you cut it off too early, you can ruin the entire plant.

Eggplants Don’t Grow On The Ground

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I’m not sure why, but I just always assumed something as awkward as an eggplant grew on the ground like a squash plant. But no, it grows from trees, similar to an apple.

In fact, Italians used to call eggplants “crazy apples” because they were so similar to the fruit because if you ate them raw, you could get a stomach ache.

Cantaloupes Kind Of Grow Like Pumpkins

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Opposite of eggplants, I always assumed cantaloupes grow from trees. But I guess when you think about it, they’re a little too big and heavy to dangle from a tree. They actually grow along vines on the ground, similar to a pumpkin patch or a watermelon patch.

Coming up, this staple ingredient in Mediterranean food is just a simple flower bud.

Saffron Is A Stigma

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When I say stigma, I don’t mean saffron is disgraced. A stigma also refers to those thin tiny bits the stick up from the center of a flower.

Saffron stigmas are plucked for the inside of the flower, dried out, then used as a spice in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.

Cinnamon Is Just Dry Bark From This Thin Tree

Photo credit: LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP / Getty Images

To be honest, I’m a little let down with cinnamon. I thought it was much fancier than just being dried inner bark from a tiny tree. This tree is more than 100 years old, and it’s not even that big.

It makes me wonder how many cinnamon trees are out there to supply all the demand from Cinnabon.

Capers Are Flower Buds Which Is Why No One Likes Them

Photo credit: DEA / V. Giannella / Contributor / Getty Images

The tiny buds on the ends of the stigmas of this flower can be plucked, dried, and pickled to become capers. Since they’re so delicate, harvesting capers can be very time-consuming. The process still has to be done by hand.

So even if you’re like me and think that capers are too salty to enjoy, you can at least appreciate how pretty the flower is.

Rice Grows Underwater

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Rice is a semi-aquatic starch so it can survive in water. Growers flood the fields to prevent weeds from growing, even though the actual rice grains stay above water.

So most of us have seen the aerial views of huge rice fields around the world, but it’s a whole new world when you zoom in.

Dates Come In Bunches The Size Of A Small Human

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If you get stranded on a tropical island, you might be surrounded by palm trees that grow dates, not coconuts. They grow in huge bundles that can hold hundreds of seedlings.

They grow in such large numbers because dates have a 50% chance of becoming either male or female. Only the female seedlings grow the fruit that humans eat.