Wild vs Domesticated Foods Ep.4

Back with another episode unveiling the mysteries
of where out common food comes from let’s get into this. Blackberries have been adapted to grow in
all corners of the globe with examples like the himalayan blackberry. Since it grows everywhere it’s hard to identify
where it came from but we can narrow it down to North or South America, Europe or Asia
which is still a very broad area. The Greek and Romans used blackberries medicinally,
Native American consumed them as food, used as medicine and to dye animals skins. With more than 2000 species of blackberries
such as the thornless which is great for backyard growers, the majority of development was done
is more modern times in America. Wild blackberries haven’t changed in size
all that much but their taste has been improved along with the creation of other hybrids. A relative to the blackberry, the loganberry
was created by Judge Logan and introduced in 1880. The thornless blackberry was developed in
1921 but lacked flavour, further cultivation in the form of the Triple Crown berry has
brought it’s taste back but kept the thorns off. Other creations like the boysenberry we see
here is a mixture of a blackberry, loganberry and a raspberry. I should note these do taste notably different
from a blackberry if you’ve never had one. My personal favorite blackberry hybrid is
the tayberry which is a mix of the blackberry and raspberry. These are twice as long as a blackberry and
have a truly unique taste. Documented in 1696 as being used to make wine
and other liquors the blackberry has been a pie filling since the pioneer days. This berry was thought to ward off bad energy
and protect people against spells you know before science was a thing. The brambles thick with massive thorns were
planted around European villages to offer protection against dangerous wildlife or ones
looking to eat their crops like deer. Today we have new unreal blackberry varieties
like the Tupi Floricane Brazillian Giant Blackberry which can be as big as an oblong baseball. Originating from the wild mustard plant, or
scientifically Brassica oleracea comes not just 1 of our common foods today but six. Early forms of this vegetable were grown in
close proximity of several compatible undomesticated relatives. The domestication process of these vegetables
hasn’t been fully clarified, the initial location is still up for debate and it’s
progenitor or founding species. The Brassica oleracea our best guess where
all these vegetables came from is only found on West European Atlantics cliffs in Britain,
France, northern Spain and the German Islands of Helgoland and –. It is hypothesized that
the first domesticated forms were done so on European Atlantic cliffs and brought to
the Mediterranean. In it’s uncultivated form the wild mustard
or more commonly called wild cabbage is a hardy plant with high tolerance for salt and
lime that doesn’t compete well with others. For this reason they were pushed to grow near
limestone cliffs where other plants don’t want to grow such as the chalk cliffs on both
sides of the English Channel and the windswept coast of the Isle of Wight
This tall biennial plant or one that flowers every 2 years, forms a rosette of large leaves
in year one. These thick, fleshy leaves are much more robust
than other brassica species out there which is an adaptation that allows it to store more
water and nutrients in the harsh environments they grow. In year two they use those stored nutrients
to produce a flower spike 3 – 7 feet or 1 to 2 meters tall with many yellow flowers. They are rich in vitamin C and linked to reducing
many types of cancers. From the leaves of the brassica oleracea came
kale, collard greens and chinese broccoli or gai lan. Not much is known about this process, showing
up in Greek and Roman texts we believe these brassica family vegetables had been domesticated
long before then but there is no concrete evidence of that. Theophrastus the successor to Aristotle mentioned
three kinds of rphaphanos or brassicas, curly leaved, smooth leaves and wild type. He expressed his utmost disdain of cabbage
and the grape vine which is in reference to the idea that cabbage was grown near grape
vines and impart the taste of the grapes with cabbage. Domestication increased the size of the leaves
likely creating kale and collard greens first which are thought to be the source of the
other varieties created being gai lan, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels
sprouts. After the creation of these vegetables different
varieties of kale have been created like dinosaur kale, red russian and my favorite thousand
head kale. Collard greens haven’t strayed far from
their progenitor but others have been created like southern favorites like Morris Heading
collards and Georgia Southern with the frilly leaves. Gai lan varieties aren’t all the different,
they vary in size and stalk length. Recognized as a domestic vegetable since the
12th century, cabbage comes from the terminal bud. Farmers of ancient times retained large leaves
of their newly developed kale and dedicated their energy on reducing the internode length
and increasing the terminal bud’s size. Arising from the shoot are a cluster of immature
leaves which formed the cabbage. A cabbage is essentially an extremely large
terminal bud wrapped with tightly packed large leaves on a short, stout stem. White cabbage, red cabbage and savoy cabbage
are the three distinct varieties recognized. Savoy cabbage you’ll notice has outer leaves
that are dimpled much like lacinato or dinosaur kale, coincidence I think not. The basal stem of the plant was bred to be
enlarged forming the kohlrabi since the 15th century as far as we know. Meristem tissue located on the sides of the
stem is what allows the stem to grow outwards making the creation of the kohlrabi possible. The stem was cultivated over the years to
enlarge the base of the plant which at first would have been kale transformed to have a
bulb which we call kohlrabi. Within this bulb is parenchyma cells that
store nutrients and chemicals synthesized by the plant but also offer structural support. New parenchyma cells originate from the meristem
tissue mentioned earlier which allowed for rapid expansion of the bulb outwards yet maintaining
structural integrity. Over the years these plants have developed
huge bulbs like you can see here in my past few years of gardens. What’s interesting about kohlrabi too is
if when young a bite is taken out of it by a worm or bug the kohlrabi will continue to
develop around that bite and seal off the so called wound. They will still get to full size just look
completely mutant like this specimen I grew 2 years ago. There have been other varieties developed
beside the typical purple kohlrabi, like this giant white kohlrabi I grew this year and
a few other varieties of white and purple ones that don’t look all that different. Back in the 16th century according to the
earliest written records broccoli was growing in Italy. We don’t know if cauliflower and broccoli
were domesticated independently, there are indications that the early work shows wider
genetic basis for cauliflower which would imply to us that broccoli was selected from
cauliflower. A demonstration by Tonguc and Griffiths in
2004 showed that cauliflower was lower in diversity suggesting broccoli was domesticated
first. Cauliflower was likely developed from one
of the italian varieties of broccoli as they are both exceptionally large inflorescences
or flower clusters a top a thick stem. This means if you leave a broccoli or cauliflower
head past it’s ripe state those flowers will open and turn into a bouquet..an ugly
bouquet of flowers. This sometimes happens when broccoli is left
too long in the fridge. To get these vegetables so dense with flowers,
cultivars bred a highly dense inflorescence cluster or meristem. Prolific or almost mutant level amount of
inflorescence meristems were developed and packed in so tight that it started to form
a head. Now cauliflower heads are white because they
are devoid of chlorophyll, clever farmers would wrap the cauliflower leaves around the
heads so when they grow, they wouldn’t receive any sunlight. This in turn doesn’t allow chlorophyll to
develop keeping the head white. The reason for this is the chlorophyll will
add a bitter taste to them, which is what happens if you expose a cauliflower while
growing, it’ll develop a green head but also be bitter. This technique is also used when growing white
asparagus most notably in europe. Other varieties like romanesco, purple and
orange cauliflower have been developed as well as early purple sprouting broccoli which
we can see all the flowers easily and Rapini Broccoli. Rapini broccoli or broccoli rabe is an italian
broccoli with a small head of broccoli which was most likely a middle stage of domestication
of broccoli from a few flower buds of the Brassica oleracea origin plant to the full
broccoli heads we have today. Brussels sprouts, a weird vegetable one not
like any other are enlarged axillary buds off the main stem of the plant. They are like tightly wrapped tiny cabbages,
if you leave them to continue growing past their ripe ready for harvest state, they would
develop into short, thick branches. In fact you can see this if you cut a brussel
sprout in half, the short stem inside that is very much like you’d see in a cabbage
core. Between this stem and the tightly packed leaves
are miniature axillary buds. We don’t know a lot about the domestication
about this veggie either but we believe it was developed in the 13th century in Belgium. The lime, lemon’s green friend we all enjoy
the juice of on Mexican food.. dates back to.. well we don’t know exactly. The precise origin is unknown, we do know
have come from Southeast Asia and Indonesia. The lime comes from the wild lime or scientifically,
citrus hystrix, or commonly called kaffir lime which was transported to the Mediterranean
region and North Africa by Arabian traders around 1000 CE. In the 12th and 13th centuries Crusaders returning
home brought back the kaffir lime to the western Mediterranean which ended up going with Christopher
Columbus to the west. Columbus likely took the seeds which became
widely distributed in the West Indies, Mexico and Florida. Spanish missionaries tried to grow lime trees
in California but they didn’t survive. Citrus like the wild lime was an important
fruit back in those times to prevent scurvy during the 19th century. British sailors were issued a daily allowance
of citrus, like wild lime or citron as we covered in the previous episode. Believe it or not because scurvy was a widespread
problem of the time, citrus was a military secret as it allowed ships and sailors to
stay out at sea for extended periods of time thanks to the fruit. British sailors were given the nickname “Limey”
because of their use of limes. After limes made their way to North America,
miners and explorers demanded them to prevent scurvy so they were imported from Tahiti and
Mexico during the mid 19th century when stock was low. This small thorny evergreen shrub or tree
produces these lumpy round citrus fruit that are cultivated in Central America, Africa
and the Hawaiian Islands today. Not only are the limes edible but so are the
leaves. Kaffir lime leaves are much more popular than
the fruit itself, the leaves taste like lime which are added teas and are finely cut up
and added to salads, cooked dishes, soups and curries. The kaffir lime itself has a lemon scent to
it with a very strong sour lime taste that is bitter and soap like. The rough outer skin is ground up and added
to Thai dishes or used as a substitute for lemon zest. Since the development of the common lime or
the key lime, there have been multiple other limes developed like the Mexican lime, finger
lime, and Persian lime. Before you go, see if you can answer this
riddle of a food covered in a previous episode: “Remove the outside, cook the inside, eat
the outside, throw away the inside.” If you want to support my channel my patreon
is linked in the description, now why check out another video like my episode on carnivorous
plants, and until the next one have a good one.

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28 thoughts on “Wild vs Domesticated Foods Ep.4

  1. I tried a lot of blackberry cultivars and I still like the wild ones best, they may be small and hard to pick but they are by far the most flavorful.

  2. I live in the midlands South Carolina, USA. We have a wild lime/lemon, that is yellow when ripe, it is bitter & grows on the evergreen thorny bush like the whole family. Not sure it is a lime with yellow peel & it is bitter, braches are used in dried arangments, because the skin stays green & thorns work well with other dried plants. It is the only lime that lives in the wild here even in the snow, I have had one for 10 years, no water or fertilizer, just like in the wild & it is 10 feet tall. Yellow peel make me think it is a lemon.

  3. Purple califlour (probably spelled that wrong😂)…I wonder what it tastes like…..We used to pick blackberrys, when I was little, for my Grandma to make home made blackberry dumplings….my favorite! 😌…Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Your cabbage section is riddled with errors. The common ancestor is wild cabbage, wild mustard is Brassica Juncea. Kohlrabi isn't a bulb. The cauliflower section is…odd. Calabrese and broccoli are two different cultivars. Broccoli Raab/Rapini is Brassica Rapa. I'm sure I missed some more.

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