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Thread: European fruits and vegetables

  1. #1
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    Post European fruits and vegetables



    As Professor Jared Diamond explained so well in his book Guns, Germs and Steel, almost every variety of fruit, vegetable, cereal and domestic animal on earth used to be found only in one part of the world before humans traded and cultivated/raised them. For example, oranges and apricots originated from China, bananas from south-east Asia, apples from central Asia, carrots from Afghanistan, spinach from Persia, garlic and onions from the Middle East, while the pumpkin, tomato, avocado, potato and pineapple are all native of the central or southern American continent.

    Among fruits of European origin, berries are numerous, like the redcurrant, native of western continental Europe, and the cranberry, from northern Europe.

    Others originated in Europe, the Mediterranean and/or western Asia at the same time, like cabbages, leeks, asparagus, olives, grapes, cherries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. Lettuce originated in all Europe as well as the temperate parts of Asia.

    Some have a wider origin, like figs, dates pomelos, persimmons, and coconuts, which were found on several continents before human civilisations.

    Humans have also created new species through selective breeding and artificial selection. In this thread, I want to concentrate on varieties of fruits and vegetables developed in Europe.

    Fruits

    1) The (green or yellow) gage (Prunus domestica 'Reine Claude'), was developed in France, where it received the name of 'Reine Claude', in honour to the Queen-consort of King Francis I of France (1494-1547). It was imported to the UK in 1724, by Sir William Gage, from whom it receives its English name.

    2) The Mirabelle plum was also developed in France. It is a speciality of the region of Lorraine.

    Vegetables

    1) Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Belgium in the 13th century, and maybe earlier.

    2) The (Belgian) endive (aka witloof) was accidentally discovered by a Belgian farmer (Jan Lammers) in 1830.

    3) The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus), also called "French artichoke", were first cultivated in Southern Europe, possibly as early as the Greeks and Romans. The earliest written evidence is that it was cultivated in Naples in the 15th century, then imported to France by Queen Catherine de' Medici.

    4) The broccoli originated in Italy (possibly in Roman times, although there is no clear evidence), and was first mentioned in France in 1560.

    5) The red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra) is thought to have originated in Germany, where it was first mentioned in the 12th century.

    6) The Savoy cabbage (Brassica Oleracea L. var. capitata) probably originated in Italy in the 13th century.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 22-01-06 at 15:48.

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    Good morning Maciamo,

    Very interesting what you wrote about our fruit and vegetables.
    Today the world seems much smaller, one can buy almost any fruit or vegetable at the supermarkets coming from all over the world.
    Since I grew up in Indonesia, I prefer tropical fruit, nice and sweet.
    But I like to ask you, do you know where the strawberry comes from?
    It was the only Dutch fruit I liked when I came to Holland in 1946, although I have to eat it with lots of sugar and whipped cream.

    I guess that strawberries come from a warmer country than Holland?

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    Good evening Elizabeth,

    Strawberries are one of those fruits that have a wider origin. Romans already cultivated them in Europe, but Native Americans also had them before Columbus. We can thus be sure that they originated in both Europe and America. I am not sure about Asia... I read that the strawberries we eat today in Europe descent from the bigger American variety.

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    Yes, very interesting. Thanks for the info Maciamo.

    Olives are originated in Mediterranean and used widely in the European countries, Asia and America. Most common use for them in America is as oil even though it's much more expensive than the vegetable oil. They are also sold cured or stuffed with pepper at a supermarket around here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive

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    I find it interesting how what we call fruits and vegetables are often misnamed. Everyone knows that tomatoes are a fruit - in fact a berry. But strawberries are not berries, or even fruit - they are actually a vegetable, and their seeds are the fruit. Raspberries aren't berries either - it is an aggregate fruit. Each little bit is called a drupelet. Peaches, plums, mangoes and olives are also drupes - i.e a fleshy fruit surrounding one large stone, which contains a seed. Blackcurrants, cranberries, grapes, aubergines and chillies are all true berries, as they have lots of seeds inside a fleshy fruit. Peas, alfalfa and beans are legumes. Peanuts are legumes too - not nuts. 'Vegetable' is not a botanical term, it is just the word for anything that doesn't fit in another category. Something can be a fruit or legume in botanical terms, but can still be referred to as a vegetable in culinary terms - such as tomatoes and beans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    I find it interesting how what we call fruits and vegetables are often misnamed. Everyone knows that tomatoes are a fruit - in fact a berry. But strawberries are not berries, or even fruit - they are actually a vegetable, and their seeds are the fruit. Raspberries aren't berries either - it is an aggregate fruit.
    With that kind of reasoning, bananas aren't fruit either, but their seeds are. Why not all fruits with seeds or a stone then ? Isn't it as logical to call pumpkins, courgettes and aubergines "fruits" then ? (they also frow on a plant and have seeds...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    With that kind of reasoning, bananas aren't fruit either, but their seeds are. Why not all fruits with seeds or a stone then ? Isn't it as logical to call pumpkins, courgettes and aubergines "fruits" then ? (they also frow on a plant and have seeds...)
    I think bananas, pumpkins, courgettes and aubergines are all berries. Of course, that is in botanical terms. It would be a bit strange to go to the supermarket and say "I'd like to buy some berries. Do you have any courgettes?"

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    ~Bump~

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth van Kampen
    Good morning Maciamo,
    Very interesting what you wrote about our fruit and vegetables.
    Today the world seems much smaller, one can buy almost any fruit or vegetable at the supermarkets coming from all over the world.
    Since I grew up in Indonesia, I prefer tropical fruit, nice and sweet.
    My husband likes tropical fruit too but he didnft grow up in tropical country/ies.

    But I like to ask you, do you know where the strawberry comes from?
    It was the only Dutch fruit I liked when I came to Holland in 1946, although I have to eat it with lots of sugar and whipped cream.
    I guess that strawberries come from a warmer country than Holland?
    I heard some people can be allergic to strawberries. This is the only fruit people commonly eat that I heard of such thing. In many East Asian countries there are strawberries but I supposed they have been imported.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    I find it interesting how what we call fruits and vegetables are often misnamed. Everyone knows that tomatoes are a fruit - in fact a berry. But strawberries are not berries, or even fruit - they are actually a vegetable, and their seeds are the fruit. Raspberries aren't berries either - it is an aggregate fruit. Each little bit is called a drupelet. Peaches, plums, mangoes and olives are also drupes - i.e a fleshy fruit surrounding one large stone, which contains a seed. Blackcurrants, cranberries, grapes, aubergines and chillies are all true berries, as they have lots of seeds inside a fleshy fruit. Peas, alfalfa and beans are legumes. Peanuts are legumes too - not nuts. 'Vegetable' is not a botanical term, it is just the word for anything that doesn't fit in another category. Something can be a fruit or legume in botanical terms, but can still be referred to as a vegetable in culinary terms - such as tomatoes and beans.
    Well in this case potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taros are all carbohydrates not vegetables.

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    Strawberries are one of the best fruits that may generally exist. I like them so much.

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    Fruits carry a considerable quantity of fructose while other vegetables don't. In spanish we use the term fruta to designate these; an olive would be a "fruto", but never a "fruta". Strawberries are obviously "frutas" (fruits) It's all about nutritive and chemical characteristics, no matter how they germinated.

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    Cicoria di campo, a typical dish from Roma. I know it doesn't look good, but it's exquisit, and I LOVE it. Yum!!!

    426-cicoria%20in%20padella.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
    Cicoria di campo, a typical dish from Roma. I know it doesn't look good, but it's exquisit, and I LOVE it. Yum!!!

    426-cicoria%20in%20padella.jpg
    It is a very interesting name! I have never tasted it. Thank you for sharing with us. What taste does it have?

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