Email Link SMS X Search Clock Right Arrow Caret down Caret up Caret left Caret right Thumbs up Speech Audio on Replay Plus Minus

40 Random Food Facts That I Haven't Been Able To Stop Thinking About Since I Learned Them

I'll never look at a Trader Joe's banana the same way again.

1. Cilantro and coriander are the same thing.

@elhuertitodelar / instagram.com

They're just two different names to describe the same plant. (There are also coriander seeds — which come from the plant too, and you can find them whole or ground up into spices.)

2. Peaches and nectarines are basically the same, too.

Sanny11 / Getty Images, Sneska / Getty Images

They're almost genetically identical except for one thing: a gene that's either dominant (peaches) or recessive (nectarines). That's what makes the skin either smooth or fuzzy.

Advertisement

Advertisement

3. In the U.K., arugula is called rocket.

Lidl

It's derived from the French word roquette.

4. The all-time bestselling food items at Costco are rotisserie chicken, bacon, and food court hot dogs.

@kirkland_forever / instagram.com

Prices of the hot dogs ($1.50) and chicken ($4.99) haven't changed since they were introduced more than a decade ago. (Also, the only other thing that Costco sells *more* of than these? Toilet paper.)

Advertisement

Advertisement

5. The cheapest item at Trader Joe's is bananas. They cost 19 cents each — and the reason why is a little dark.

Medianews Group / Getty Images

An episode of Inside Trader Joe’s revealed that TJ's used to sell bananas by the pound back in the day. They were packaged in bags of four or five, so if you wanted less than that, you were out of luck.

But 13 years ago, company CEO Dan Bane was visiting a TJ's — and he saw a much older woman buying fruit. “I asked her, ‘Ma’am, if you don’t mind me asking, I saw you looking at the bananas but you didn’t put anything in your cart,'” Bane said. “And she says to me, ‘Sonny, I may not live to that fourth banana.'”

Bane said they decided the very next day that Trader Joe’s would sell individual bananas. They priced them at 19 cents each, and they’ve been that way ever since.

6. Trader Joe's employees use a bell system to communicate with each other because higher-ups didn't like the way P.A. announcements sounded at other grocery stores.

@theshoppesatev / Via instagram.com

According to the Inside Trader Joe's podcast: One bell means someone is being asked to open another register. Two bells mean a customer has a question and someone needs to come to the checkout to answer it. Three bells mean a manager is being summoned.

Advertisement

Advertisement

7. This is how quinoa grows:

Aizar Raldes / Getty Images

The part of the quinoa plant that we eat is the seed. But to get the seed, the plant first needs to flower.

8. And this is how cranberries grow:

Facebook: WisCranberries

Unlike most other berries, they grow in marshes. More than 50% of the world's cranberries are grown in Wisconsin — and you can watch a video of the harvesting process here.

Advertisement

Advertisement

9. A few years ago, Butterfinger changed its entire recipe.

youtube.com

The brand reworked the chocolate mixture, among other things. (But worth noting: some people *really* hated the new version.)

10. Glass Gem corn! It exists.

Via Twitter: @watermicrobe

Oklahoma farmer Carl Barnes spent years breeding the colorful corn as a way to reconnect with his heritage.

Advertisement

Advertisement

11. Elephant garlic exists, too. 👀

marysheirloomseeds.com

Just like regular garlic, the large mature bulb is broken up into cloves. You buy seeds online here, or a watch a video of elephant garlic being harvested here.

12. Allspice isn't a mix of other spices.

walmart.com

Although it smells like nutmeg and cinnamon, Allspice is actually a fruit that's picked, dried, and sold either as whole "berries" or ground up into its own spice.

Advertisement

Advertisement

13. But chili powder *is* a mix of other spices.

It's not just chili peppers. Chili powder also typically includes spices like cumin, onion powder, and oregano — plus garlic and salt.

14. McDonald's fries were cooked in beef fat until 1990.

@hungrylittlefoodies / instagram.com

But in an effort to make them seem healthier, they're now cooked in vegetable oil.

Advertisement

Advertisement

15. And in France, McDonald's offers thick-cut potato wedges — in addition to the regular fries.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

You get to pick between the two for your side, and they're served with a "creamy deluxe" sauce. It's kind of like a creamier mayo with chives in it.

Read more: Here's How French McDonald's Are Different From American Ones

16. Jam is made with fruit — and jelly is made with fruit juice.

walmart.com

Jam is made with fruit, sugar, and often pectin (a thickener). Jelly is made with fruit juice, sugar, and pectin. Another way to remember the difference? Jam is chunky (it'll have mashed fruit); jelly is smooth.

Advertisement

Advertisement

17. Fruity Pebbles are just grains of white rice that have been flattened and puffed up again.

Food Network

With some coloring and flavoring added.

18. Pomegranates grow on trees.

Viewstock / Getty Images

They're so big that I think at first I assumed they... grew underground?? IDK IDK.

Advertisement

Advertisement

19. Asparagus grows straight outta the ground.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

All varieties: green, white, purple.

20. On Sesame Street, Cookie Monster's cookies are actually painted rice cakes.

PBS

That's because the grease from the chocolate and oil in real cookies could damage the puppets.

Advertisement

Advertisement

21. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous in large doses.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

The raw leaves contain oxalic acid, among other things. And if you eat a ton of them, it can be lethal.

22. Raw cashew shells are poisonous too.

Issouf Sanogo / Getty Images

They contain urushiol, which is toxic. To remove it, cashews go through an extensive roasting or steaming process before they're packaged and sold.

Advertisement

Advertisement

23. The same guy invented Cool Whip, Pop Rocks, and Tang.

walmart.com

Minnesotan William A. Mitchell = a busy dude!

24. A chipotle pepper is just a dried and smoked jalapeño.

katamaniacos.com

And an ancho chile is a dried and smoked poblano.

Advertisement

Advertisement

25. European chocolate generally tastes better than U.S. chocolate because it's required by law to have more milk fats and dry milk solids.

Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

In Europe, chocolate is required to have a minimum of at least 14% dry milk solids. In the U.S., the minimum is 12%. European chocolate is also slightly richer because it's required to have at least 3.5% milk fat. In the US, the minimum is 3.39%.

Read more: I Just Learned Why European Chocolate Tastes So Different Than American Chocolate

26. Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish have the same base.

Walmart

Sour Patch Kids are just pumped into a different mold and finished with a sour coating.

Advertisement

Advertisement

27. Mahogany cake was America's first chocolate cake — though it's been largely forgotten since.

Joe Lingeman / Via thekitchn.com

Dating back to the 1800s, it's America's first chocolate cake on record. Early versions used ermine frosting, a whipped buttercream that was the icing of choice in the US before cream cheese frosting came along.

28. A single spaghetti noodle is called a spaghetto.

BuzzFeed

🍝🍝🍝

Advertisement

Advertisement

29. Too much nutmeg can get you high.

walmart.com

It contains myristicin, a compound that has hallucinatory qualities — and bad side effects — if ingested in very large doses. (Don't try it, obvs.)

30. Paprika is made of ground up red bell peppers.

youtube.com

To make paprika, they're chopped, dried, and ground. And while they're typically red bell peppers, paprika can be made from other types of peppers too — depending on the variety. (Smoked, sweet, etc.) Watch a video of how to make homemade paprika here.

Advertisement

Advertisement

31. Reese's Pieces have a different filling than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

The filling of Reese's Pieces has a slightly different formula and consistency. Also, the color distribution of the Pieces is preset: A bag or box will be approximately 50% orange, 25% brown, and 25% yellow.

32. A few years ago, Nabisco redesigned its famous animal crackers box after PETA flagged it.

Nabisco / PETA

The new design uncages the animals and puts them in the wild.

Advertisement

Advertisement

33. Pineapples can take two to three years to grow.

Getty Images

It's a looong process. The next time you grab one at the grocery store, think about how far the thing has come!

34. It can take at least three years for a vanilla plant to produce its first vanilla bean.

Tony Karumba / Getty Images

Real vanilla is incredibly labor-intensive to produce. When the flowers finally do bloom, they stay open for only one day and have to be pollinated within 12 hours.

Advertisement

Advertisement

35. Jelly Belly is one of the few jelly bean companies that flavors both the inside *and* the outside of the bean.

This results in a more intense flavor — because jelly beans are typically only flavored on one or the other. Also, of the 100+ flavors that Jelly Belly makes, the most popular include: Very Cherry, Licorice, Buttered Popcorn, and Sizzling Cinnamon.

36. Ritter chocolate bars were invented to be square so they could fit into jacket pockets without breaking.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

And last year, Ritter won a German lawsuit allowing it to be the only major chocolate brand to sell a square bar rather than a rectangular one.

Advertisement

Advertisement

37. Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi all come from the same plant.

Karaidel / Getty Images

Brassica oleracea was selectively bred over hundreds of years to create dozens of very different veggies.

38. One of the most bizarre food-related disasters in history was the Great Molasses Flood in Boston.

youtube.com

In 1919, a storage tank that contained more than 2 million gallons of molasses exploded. It flooded Boston streets, crushed buildings, and killed 21 people and injured 150 more.

Advertisement

Advertisement

39. Out of all the popular alcoholic drinks, red wine makes you the sleepiest.

Jon Premosch / Buzzfeed

That's according to a study by British Medical Journal, which surveyed 29,000 people about how they felt (energized, relaxed, sexy, confident, tired, aggressive, etc) after drinking various types of alcohol.

40. Tootsie Rolls start out as gigantic 13-pound logs that are then shaped down to their mini size.

Cooking Channel

And they're still made using their original recipe from 1896.

What's the most interesting food fact you know? Share in the comments!

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending Recipes

Advertisement

Advertisement

Latest Tasty Guides

56 Dinner Ideas That You Can Make In A Half Hour Or Less
27 Delicious Lemon Desserts
We Asked Nutritionists And Dietitians What They Eat For Breakfast; Here's What They Said

Advertisement

Advertisement

21 Simple One-Pot Pastas
45 One-Pan, One-Pot, And One-Sheet Recipes For All Your Weeknight Cooking Needs
11 Recipes We Tried And Loved This Month

Advertisement

Advertisement

48 Food And Drink Hacks From Around The Internet That Are Actually Genius
9 Insane Recipes For Anyone Who Loves Brunch
20 No-Cook Meals You Can Make To Feed Yourself Or Your Family After A Power Outage

Advertisement

Advertisement

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Share on Pinterest Share on Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Email Share on Email More More