When brooding about extraordinary foods, most minds would raise images of obscure cuisine, and elaborate dishes with unpronounceable names. However, remarkable secrets lie hidden in foods we eat day to day, with fascinating scientific explanations behind them. From nuts to fruits, to vegetables, here are 10 Bizarre Natural Phenomena in Everyday Foods.
Anyone who has ever had a container of nuts has unknowingly witnessed a weird effect that no scientist has been ready to fully explain. In nearly every package of nuts, the Brazil nuts will appear at the highest, with the smaller nuts at rock bottom. an equivalent applies to cereal, with all the most important cereal at the highest of the box and zip but dusty shreds all the way at rock bottom. But why? public knowledge tells us that larger nuts would sink to rock bottom, with smaller nuts rising to the highest. Well, nobody quite knows. Dubbed the “Brazil Nut Effect” but more professionally referred to as “granular convection,” this phenomenon has stumped experts for years. The concept refers to when various pieces of small, similar mass objects rotate in a way almost like how fluids move. the method a package of nuts goes through to urge from the factory to the hands of a consumer requires much jostling. When the nuts are all pushed upward, the smaller ones will fall below the larger ones, pushing them upward. this may repeat during a cycle because the nuts are continuously shaken around. However, the Brazil Nut Effect provides a small wrinkle to the present logic. See, the Brazil nuts will reach the highest of the container and just stay there, thus ending the cycle. Scientists aren’t sure why they aren’t ready to move from their position on top. Of course, many theories are presented. Perhaps the nuts are too big to suit into any smaller spaces within the container then shake, or perhaps the density of the nuts play a task in pushing it towards the surface. Either way, the science has applications beyond this nutty predicament (get it)? Dr. Douglas J. Jerolmack and his team have even found a link between this phenomenon and therefore the reason why rivers can resist erosion because rivers too have larger rocks near the highest with sand and gravel further down within the river.
Corn has been around for thousands of years, yet few realize that each ear of corn features a unique similarity about it. See, corn will always have a good number of rows. this is often thanks to the very fact that a corn ear isn’t just a vegetable, but an inflorescence, meaning that it produces nearly 1000 female flowers. These flowers, otherwise referred to as the longer-term kernels, are going to be ordered into rows, forming the common image of an ear of corn. a mean ear of corn has 800 kernels, organized into 16 rows. The even number comes from the very fact that every spikelet (basic grass flower) will produce two florets, which are the tiny flowers that structure a full inflorescence. it’ll produce two because one floret must be fertile while the opposite must be sterile. Interestingly, this is applicable to foods aside from corn. Watermelon, for instance, supposedly features a consistently even number of stripes. regardless of the case, this stems (no pun intended) from the very fact that a cell will always divide into two cells that successively each divide into two more cells. As this cycle continues, the amount will always stay even. How odd!
Pistachios could seem innocent enough but little did we all know that they need a sinister side. That’s because pistachios, when stored in large quantities, are at high risk of spontaneously combusting. it’s a known incontrovertible fact that fat burns very easily, and every pistachio is almost 50% fat. Furthermore, pistachios have almost no water in them, and if they’re kept during a high-moisture area, then they become moldy. With their total absence of water and a high concentration of fat, pistachios are in danger of becoming flammable. This risk turns into reality when pistachios are packed approximately in large amounts, because the oils of the nuts can heat themselves up, causing them to burst into flames. Because they will self-heat, this pistachio-fueled nightmare can occur with no warning, with no human contact. This has led to several strict guidelines on how pistachios are shipped, as most of the planet pistachio production comes from the center East. this suggests that ships are required for transport, and no-one wants to ascertain a ship burn down from improperly packaged nuts.
Nutmeg may be a spice most ordinarily used round the holidays, as a sweet garnish to drinks or an ingredient in desserts. However, a bit like the pistachio, there’s a dark secret behind this festive spice. this is often because nutmeg is basically a hallucinogen, capable of causing powerful highs and unsightly side effects. Sudden bursts of panic, trouble urinating, and constantly xerostomia are just a couple of consequences of the hallucinogenic trip. Nutmeg itself is really a seed, and it contains a compound referred to as myristicin. Myristicin is employed in many drugs that are wont to affect psychological state , and it’s the rationale why nutmeg produces hallucinogenic effects.Though this might shock all folks , it wouldn’t have surprised anyone in 12th century Europe. Back then, it had been considered a drug instead of a garnish, and other people would use it frequently so as to induce hallucinations. it’s even believed that famous physician Nostradamus ingested nutmeg so as to realize visions that led to his scientific discoveries. Nutmeg remained a well-liked drug for years to return , but somewhere along the way its status shifted into the innocent spice, we all know it as today.
Nobody would think to match a standard cranberry with a well-liked children’s toy, but there’s a surprising similarity between the 2 . Though commonly cooked and softened so as to scale back the natural tartness of the fruit, a raw cranberry features a very different texture. When ripe, it’ll be ready to bounce within the same fashion as a bouncy ball. this is often thanks to the tiny air pockets inside each cranberry, also because the firm texture that permits it to bounce up off the bottom . In fact, cranberry farmers even use this as a ripeness test for his or her berries. it’s common for berry farmers to bounce each cranberry over a wooden barrier, where the berries that clear the barrier will enter circulation, while those that don’t, enter separate bins to become juice. Interestingly, this was discovered accidentally , when an old farmer from New Jersey referred to as John “Peg Leg” Webb poured his supply of cranberries down the steps . thanks to his peg , this was his best method of transporting them. However, he noticed that the more firm cranberries would bounce to rock bottom , while the softer and more battered berries would sit limply at the highest of the staircase. This discovery happened in 1880, and farmers are using bounciness to check cranberry ripeness ever since.
There is often a fine line between food being undercooked, overcooked or cooked to a T. Luckily, for those folks who can’t easily navigate this line, there’s one risk-free ingredient that we will use: The mushroom. You see, it’s on the brink of impossible to overcook a mushroom because their cell walls have a special molecular structure than that of meat or vegetables. While the cell walls in meat and vegetables contain protein and pectin respectively, the mushroom contains a polymer called chitin. Chitin is extremely heated stable, which suggests that when it’s cooked, the warmth has little effect on the molecular structure of the mushroom. this is often different than meats and other veggies because heat causes proteins within the meat to tense up (causing overcooked meat to be chewy) and it causes pectins in vegetable cells to interrupt down; leading to a bushy clump of green. In an effort to scientifically prove this phenomenon, Dan Souza, the chief editor of America’s Test Kitchen put mushrooms to the test once and for all. Souza took a mushroom, a bit of zucchini, and a hunk of tenderloin, and steamed all of them for forty minutes. Every five minutes he put each item through a texture analysis that calculated the quantity of force that might be required to bite into the said item. Not very surprisingly, the mushroom outperformed its competitors by remaining within 100 grams of force to bite into throughout the entire testing period. as compared, the tenderloin shot up 500 grams of force and therefore the zucchini went down almost 200. In other words, the mushroom remained texturally consistent while the tenderloin became tough and therefore the zucchini became limp and chewy.
With 1 / 4 of the world’s population eating chili peppers on a day today, it’s clear that a lot of people enjoy the jolt of spiciness that has become the trademark of those peppers. While people around the world have chosen to embrace the chili pepper and feel the burn, few people have stopped to wonder about the explanation for this sensation in the first place. All chili peppers contain a lively ingredient called capsaicin, which activates the heat-sensing protein in our brains when bitten into. When the protein senses heat, it causes the brain to send an attempt of burning pain to the pepper eater. this suggests that peppers are tricking our brains into feeling a burning sensation since we’ll not actually be burned from eating a pepper. Scientists have determined that pepper plants actually evolved this manner so as to stay predators from eating their fruit. Interestingly, birds don’t feel any burn when eating peppers, and peppers actually evolved this manner intentionally. this is often because unlike mammals, birds eat pepper seeds whole, so once they excrete these seeds, they spread the pepper plant and ensure its survival.
The rhubarb may be a perennial plant that’s almost like celery, but it’s commonly classified as a fruit thanks to its sour and fruity taste. Stuck in between these two categories, the rhubarb seems to be somewhat ignored in society, with the more traditional apple or broccoli thrust into the limelight. However, there’s a singular phenomenon that happens with the standard rhubarb, and it’s to try to to with the way that it’s grown. You see, since the 1800s, rhubarb farmers have harvested these veggie/fruits during a method called “forced rhubarb.” during this method, rhubarbs are grown within the dark, which causes them to mature at an alarmingly rapid rate. When rhubarbs grow this fast, it causes them to form a loud popping noise as they burst out of their initial buds and start to grow upward. As they still rise, they start to rub against other rhubarb stalks, which creates a stimulating squeaking and creaking noise. Rhubarb farmer Brian French says about the noise, “I have heard the noise before. Growing against one another . you actually need to listen for it.” the rationale behind this musical method of rhubarb growing is that the darkroom makes rhubarb plants unable to photosynthesize, which ends up during a less stringy and more tender rhubarb.
Of all the nuts on this list, cashews have perhaps the strangest trait of all. When asked what grows on a cashew , most would probably assume that it might be, well, cashews. Though that’s correct, the nut is really not the first fruit of a cashew . Native to the coastal areas of northern Brazil, cashew trees actually grow apples. the particular nuts sprout from rock bottom of every apple. Most folks have likely never heard of a cashew apple, or seen them being sold anywhere. this is often because, though they’re perfectly safe, the skin of cashew apples make them difficult to move . Cashew apples don’t attend waste though; the pulp is usually utilized in juices and other apple-related foods. Even more surprising is that the incontrovertible fact that the cashew “nut” is technically not a nut in the least , but a seed. The cashew seed is roofed by many highly toxic layers so as to scare animals away. Don’t panic, though, because only the shell is toxic. Any pack of cashews bought from a store won’t have the shell, thus making them perfectly safe for consumption.
Carrots became almost synonymous with the color orange, but carrots didn’t always have this distinctive hue. Originally, carrots were actually purple, but a gene spread among these plants led to the creation of the yellow carrot. The transition from the harvesting of purple and yellow carrots to orange carrots may be a bizarre and interesting tale. The origin of orange carrots began within the town of Arausio in Southern France. The classical pronunciation of this town was “Aurenja”, and with the French word for orange being Naranjo, the citizens of Arausio eventually changed the town’s name to Orange. a person named William The Silent gained rule over Orange in 1544 and was from then on referred to as William The Orange. After gaining the rule of Arausio, William The Orange went on to steer the Dutch to their independence from Spain, thus creating the Dutch Republic. At an equivalent time as this revolution, another revolution was happening. A carrot revolution. round the time of the Dutch independence, a carrot breed was created by Dutch carrot farmers that contained a plant pigment called beta-carotene. This pigment caused an orange color of the carrot, and therefore the Danish people began mass-producing it in honor of their hero William The Orange. It needs to the purpose where the opposite colors of carrots became not convenient to grow, which led us to the orange carrot that we all know and love.