The Man Made Veggie

There are roughly over 20,000 different types of edible plants/vegetables in the world. You’d assume all of these occur naturally since they are plants. However, one of these vegetables is not like the others and is actually man-made: broccoli. Around 2,000 years ago, a group of Italian farmers were selectively breeding different types of cabbage amongst each other, and broccoli was one of those products. The word “broccoli” comes from the Italian word “broccolo” meaning, “the flowering chest of a cabbage.”

The plant that started it all was the Brassica oleracea, a wild cabbage plant that would bloom small flowers every other year. These florets were vital to farmers’ success, as the more florets the plant had the tastier it would be and the faster it would sell. Farmers would try to manipulate the plants to make them bloom more frequently. In a controlled environment, the plants would bloom much more, and from those plants, the farmers would take the ones with the most blooms and breed/plant those only.

This isn’t the only case of man manipulating plants to create better versions of them. The same has happened with carrots and peppers. Not all carrots are orange; originally they were a very dark purple (almost black). The orange carrots were said to taste better, so eventually, farmers would try to only reproduce the batches of orange carrots to sell. The Carolina Reaper pepper isn’t natural either. It was created by the breeding of the now second and third hottest peppers in the world, the Bhut jolokia and the red habanero. Man always has and will continue to alter plant breeds to produce the best quality batches as well as make the most profit.

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