17 Surprising and Delicious Man-Made Fruits and Vegetables

Some of our favorite fruits and vegetables are actually man-made and not natural. Even though they were man-made, they taste great and won’t be going away anytime soon. 

List out 5 of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Take a guess at which ones are and are not man-made. After going through this article, how many of these did you guess right?

Here’s the list of man-made vegetables and fruits that you might not have known were man-made. 

Variety of Fruits and Vegetables Being Sold at the Market

17 Man Made Fruits and Vegetables

Here are the 12 most common man-made fruits and vegetables that you may not know are actually man-made hybrids.

1. Broccoli

Man Made Broccoli
Man Made Broccoli

Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family (cabbage), originating specifically the Brassica oleracea. Other family members include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, collard greens, and others. 

Yes, it does seem that they’re all vastly different vegetables, but they are actually all descendants of cabbage through selective breeding.

Different parts of the cabbage were selectively bred for appearance, color, and taste. Through multiple generations, we have the vegetables that we have today. 

In fact, the broccoli form we have today has been around since the Roman Empire, so it’s stood the test of time.

2. Cauliflower

Man Made Cauliflower
Man Made Cauliflower

Similar to broccoli, cauliflower was selectively bred from cabbage, the Brassica oleracea. 

Cauliflower and broccoli tops come from cabbage that were bred their tops. This means that the head itself wasn’t selected for size or shape. Instead, only the part above ground was used.

3. Corn

Bowl of Corn Cobs

The corn we know today is a hybrid, but the actual ancestors and origins are unknown. 

Some experts believe that corn existed before the current crop of corn varieties were developed. And some believe that the existence of teosinte is evidence that the original corn had a similar appearance to modern day varieties of corn. Some even say that it’s more related to rice than maize.

Read the in-depth Man-Made Corn article.

4. Bananas

Cavendish Banana Variety in Grocery Stores

Bananas originate from a cross between the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. By themselves, they weren’t that edible.

One was hard to eat because it had too many seeds, even though it was sweet. The other was seedless, fleshy, small, and its toughness made it hard to eat. 

That combination makes up what we call bananas today. They are fleshy, sweet, and mostly seedless. 

5. Carrots

Preparing Carrots for Cooking

Carrots were originally found in the Middle East (Afghanistan and Iran) and Central Asia.

The bright orange carrots we see today are actually quite different from their ancestors. The original carrots were thin and either purple or white. 

Carrots get their orange color from beta carotene which gives them their vitamin A content. Beta carotene isn’t present in any other vegetable except pumpkins.

Many colors were actually bred by the early farmers, whether intentionally or unintentionally. 

Learn more about Man-Made Carrots.

6. Watermelons

Man Made Watermelon
Man Made Watermelon

Watermelons originated in African deserts. It took about 200 years for watermelon cultivation to spread across Europe and North America. Interesting enough, watermelons were found in paintings buried in 4,000+ year old Egyptian tombs. 

Today, there are over 1,200 types of watermelon with varying shapes, sizes, flavors, and textures. But most people think of just one type – the red flesh ones. 

The watermelon’s ancestors had non-red flesh, a paler color and many more seeds. 

7. Apples

Man Made Apples
Man Made Apples

Apples aren’t all that different from their ancestors in terms of how they look. All apples originate from one main apple variety, the Malus sieversii.

This cultivar grew wild in Xinjiang, China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, and Uzbekistan. Through the years, apples have developed different tastes and appearances based on where it is grown. 

There are over 7500 apple varieties out there today. If you’re an apple lover, traveling to different areas of the world will give you different tasting apples. 

8. Peanuts

Man Made Peanuts
Man Made Peanuts

The peanuts we know today are a cross-breed of the Arachis ipaensis from Bolivia and the Arachis duranensis from the Andean Valleys. How did they cross pollinate being so far away from each other?

10,000 years ago, the people who settled in South America and Bolivia brought over the the Arachis duranensis from the Andean Valleys. It was there that cross pollination occurred between the two to spawn today’s peanut.

9. Eggplants

Man Made Eggplant
Man Made Eggplant

The original eggplants were similar to eggs in its round shape and white color, which is where they get their eggplant name. 

The deep shade of purple that eggplants have now were bred through years. The early colors were yellow and multiple shades of purple. 

Eggplants also come in various forms like long skinny, short fat, and globe shaped. 

10. Oranges

Man Made Oranges

Crossing a mandarin with pomelo resulted in the orange we have today. Oranges were first grown in Southern China and later brought around the world by traders. 

11. Tomatoes

Tomato Plant

The tomato can be tracked back to Mexico and 700 A.D. with the early Aztecs. The tomato’s ancestors are the Lycopersicon esculentum.

They then traveled north into what is known as New Spain. From here, tomatoes made their way westward until reaching Italy. Now you can see why the cuisines from those areas utilize tomatoes as a popular base. 

12. Strawberries

Man Made Strawberries
Man Made Strawberries

Antoine Nicolas Duchesne bred the modern strawberry back in 1764 in France. He cross-bred the male Fragaria moschata and the female Fragaria chiloensis that resulted in the strawberry.  

France has a long history with the strawberry and many of the largest strawberries are from France, especially wild strawberries. They are often larger and more flavorful. 

13. Grapefruit

Man Made Grapefruit
Man Made Grapefruit

Grapefruits have come a long way since they were first discovered over 300 years ago. Captain Shaddock of the West Indies was the first to cross breed pomelos and oranges to create this unique citrus fruit which eventually spread throughout Europe.

They were referred to as “forbidden fruit” due to their interesting taste. It wasn’t until they made it over to Jamaica in 1814 that they received their name after a planter named John Lunan found how similar they looked to a bunch of grapes..

Today, grapefruits are popular amongst those who appreciate their tartness combined with sweet undertones. They can be eaten on their own or used in recipes to add some tanginess.

Apart from being tasty, they are also incredibly nutritious: aside from being rich in Vitamin C and Fiber, they are also known for containing many antioxidants which can help reduce cholesterol levels and maintain heart health.

Grapefruits also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked with protection against certain types of cancer and oxidative stress.

14. Tangerine

Man Made Tangerines
Man Made Tangerines

Tangerines are a very popular type of citrus fruit that bring a lot of joy to people from their sweet, slightly tart taste. However, there is much more to the tangerine than many people realize.

Though commonly mistaken for a hybrid of oranges, tangerines are actually not related to them at all! These juicy fruits are actually the result of careful cross-breeding between a number of different varieties of mandarins alone. To be classed as an orange, it must have pomelos in its lineage as well; however, tangerines do not.

Today tangerines remain popular around the world due to their soft rinds which makes them easy to peel by hand. People often enjoy eating tangerines fresh or canning them for use throughout the year.

Tangerines offer a wide variety of health benefits including supplying essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium important for skin health, immune function and digestive health respectively.

Overall, what started off as successful experimentation of crossbreeding amongst multiple types of mandarins has since evolved into an interesting snack that provides numerous healthy attributes!

15. Radish

Man Made Radish
Man Made Radish

The radish is a man made root vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which includes cruciferous plants such as cabbages and mustard greens.

They are believed to have originated in China thousands of years ago and have been cultivated by humans for their edible roots and leaves. Over time, different varieties of radishes have been developed through selective breeding for specific traits such as size, color, and taste.

Radish cultivation was spread throughout Europe for centuries, becoming an important part of traditional cuisine in many cultures. Over time it has been adapted to different climates, temperatures and soil types; allowing some varieties of radishes to be grown in colder climates than others.

In many countries today, radishes are an important source of nutrition as it provides essential vitamins and minerals that are needed in a balanced diet such as Vitamin C and antioxidants. 

16. Kale

Man Made Kale
Man Made Kale

Kale is a wild mustard plant, across between wild cabbage and domesticated cabbage, which was created by farmers in the Mediterranean over 2,500 years ago. It’s believed the Romans and Greeks transformed the kale we know today.

With its many health benefits and versatility in cooking, kale has become a popular superfood in recent years. 

17. Almonds

Man Made Almonds
Man Made Almonds

 The delicious almond we all know and love was actually created by humans through selective breeding.

The wild almond, known as the bitter almond, contains a toxic compound called amygdalin. However, humans discovered that by selecting and breeding almonds with a recessive gene, they could create a new variety of almonds that lacked amygdalin and were safe to eat.

This process of selective breeding took thousands of years, but it ultimately resulted in the sweet and nutritious almond we enjoy today.

In fact, almonds are now one of the most popular nuts in the world, and are widely used in cooking and baking. They’re also incredibly healthy, packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

So the next time you enjoy a handful of almonds or sprinkle some almond slices on your salad, remember that they’re not just a natural wonder, but a man made one too!

What are Man Made Vegetables and Fruits?

Man-made fruits and vegetables are those created by humans through cross-breeding and selective breeding to create new varieties with desirable traits such as flavor or appearance. 

In some cases, cross-pollination will also occur to create new hybrids. This is especially popular with open pollinated vegetables and fruits, whether pollination is done by hand or by insects, like bees.

These new man-made hybrid fruits and vegetables will then go through more cross and selective breeding for their flavor and appearance traits. 

Man-made vs GMO Vegetables and Fruits

Man-made and GMO are often mistaken to mean the same thing, but they are actually different. It’s important to understand the difference. 

GMO stands for genetically modified organism. It refers to any plant whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

The most common way to do this is to insert genes from one species into another. These plants can produce different proteins than normal crops because of the inserted gene. They may also contain higher levels of pesticides and herbicides due to the added genes. 

But when it comes to man-made foods, no genes are manually altered like in GMO. Man-made goes through planting and growing, and cross-breeding is done through pollination. GMO involves procedures done in labs. 

Now that that’s out of the way, here are popular fruits and vegetables that you might not have known were actually man-made.

Are Man-Made Vegetables and Fruits Good for You?

Man-made vegetables and fruits are quickly becoming more popular for their potential to provide higher nutrient value than natural produce. These modified plants have been selectively bred to absorb the most nutrients from their immediate environment, enabling them to create a more nutritious product.

Studies have shown that these manipulated varieties are capable of providing the same amount of essential vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients as any traditionally farmed fruits or vegetables.

This means when you consume them, you’re likely getting more nutrients than you would get from a fruit or veggie that hasn’t been selectively bred.

Man-made vegetables can also prove beneficial for supporting neighboring traditional plants in an agricultural setting. When cultivated alongside these crops, they can transfer some of the necessary nutritional elements underground so as to aid in their growth, leading to increased yields and healthier end products for consumers.

With continuing exploration into ways in which man-made veggies can best thrive, again yielding the desired result at market, many researchers are in agreement that they provide sufficient nutritional value; however it should not replace traditional produce but act as a supplement instead.

Is There Any Health Risk For Eating Man Made Vegetables?

Man made vegetables do not have any significant health risks themselves because they’ve been naturally bred and not genetically modified like GMO vegetables. 

However, the way that the vegetable plants are grown can result in health risks for us. Many large farms and companies grow vegetables using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides which can have negative effects on our health if consumed in large quantities.

Therefore, it is important to purchase organic or locally-grown man made vegetables whenever possible to reduce the risk of consuming these chemicals.

These chemicals can cause health problems like not having enough minerals, gaining weight, stomach issues, diabetes, trouble having babies, and maybe even some types of cancer.

That’s why it’s important for people who purchase vegetables to know about how they were grown, and how to properly wash and prepare them for consumption. Eating too many of these chemicals could be very bad for their health.

Man-made Vegetables and Fruits Final Thoughts

The origins and history of these man-made vegetables and fruits are pretty interesting. If you’ve been wondering what vegetables are man-made, I hope this list helps you learn something new about your favorite foods.

Here are other popular man-made fruits and vegetables not mentioned earlier:

Photo of author

Written by:

Denise Davis
Denise Davis is an avid gardener, deeply rooted in growing organic veggies and crafting homemade fertilizers. She cherishes the earthy essence of composting and the continuous learning that gardening provides. Denise sees gardening as a holistic activity, offering physical and mental benefits alongside the joy of consuming what you cultivate. Her passion is to inspire others to embrace gardening as a rewarding, healthful lifestyle.

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