FOOD

15 Surprising Facts (And Tips) About Fruit And Veggies

Technically, a strawberry is not a berry.

10/08/2016 11:10 AM AEST | Updated 10/08/2016 11:45 AM AEST
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Watermelon picking tip: look for a yellow spot.

We all love to eat fruit (and sometimes vegetables...) but often we forget how weirdly awesome they are.

Think about it: fruit and veggies are colourful, unique, perfectly packaged foods that exist in nature so they can reproduce. Thankfully, they taste fresh and delicious, and are packed full of vitamins and nutrients.

To make fruit and vegetables a bit more fun, here are 15 weird facts and tips about produce you eat every day, but probably don't know -- like how to choose the best avo, how many seeds a pomegranate has, and what was the first vegetable to grow in space.

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1. What do the numbers on fruit and vegetable stickers mean?

"The four-digit numbers on fruit and vegetable stickers are 'price look-up' (PLU) numbers," AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe told The Huffington Post Australia.

"These numbers are intended to be used by retailers to identify produce (including varieties) and make it easier to process them at the check-out."

2. How many seeds does a strawberry have?

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On top of this, strawberries and raspberries are the only fruits that wear their seeds on the outside. It's for this reason that they aren't technically a 'true' berry like blueberries or grapes.

3. Are bananas a fruit, flower or herb?

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The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which means "fruit of the wise men." You can ripen a banana (and other fruit and veggies) quickly by putting them in a paper or plastic bag with an apple or tomato.

4. What's the most popular fruit in the world?

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Tomatoes are actually fruits and are made of 94.5 percent water. The tomato plant originates from the nightshade family (which includes eggplant, potato, capsicum and chilli) from Central America.

5. How old are apples in the supermarket?

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Thanks to controlled atmosphere storage, apples are able to be 'put to sleep' and can be 6-12 months old before you actually buy them at the supermarket. An apple tree can produce up to 400 apples a year.

6. How do you pick the best watermelon?

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"Check the bottom of the watermelon for a creamy yellow spot -- if this spot is white or greenish, your melon may have been picked before it was fully ripe," Lindhe told HuffPost Australia.

"Additionally, ripe watermelons should be dark green in colour overall. Also, since the ripest watermelons have the most water, melons that are relatively heavy for their size should be riper."

7. How many seeds does a pomegranate have?

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The average pomegranate can contain 600 to 1,400 seeds or 'arils'. Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, K, folate and fibre.

8. Can carrots improve your night vision?

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Contrary to what our parents told us, eating carrots does not make us see better in the dark. This carrot myth stems back to World War II, when the British Royal Air Force pushed the message that carrots -- not radar technology -- were the key to the pilots' success. They not only hoodwinked the Axis powers, but also many generations to come.

9. Which vegetable was the first to be grown in space?

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In October 1995, NASA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison collaborated to help grow the first vegetable to be grown in space: potatoes.

10. Which contains more vitamin C: an orange or kiwi fruit?

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Despite orange's reputation for being loaded with vitamin C, a kiwi fruit contains nearly twice as much Vitamin C as an orange per cup. The tangy, fuzzy fruit is also rich in potassium and copper.

11. What's the world's most expensive fruit?

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Yubari melon, a juicy and extremely sweet orange melon, is the world's most expensive fruit, coming in at $23,000 per pair.

12. Which fruits are part of the rose family?

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Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, quinces, apricots, loquats and raspberries are all fruits of the rose family. How do you like them apples?

13. How do you tell if an avocado is ripe?

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"Hass avocados change colour as they ripen. For instance, if they are olive green in colour they will need between 2-3 days to ripen, while a Hass avocado with a purplish, black skin will indicate that it is ripe," Lindhe said.

"A Shepard avocado stays green as it ripens. A good indicator is if you gently press the top of the avocado and it's quite firm, it will need a couple of days to ripen."

14. What other 'vegetables' are actually fruits?

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Aside from tomatoes, other secret fruits include eggplant, olives, peas, avocado, cucumber, pumpkin, capsicum and zucchini. Our entire lives have been a lie!

15. What's the world's stinkiest fruit?

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Durian -- also known as "the king of fruits" -- is by far the smelliest fruit in the world, which can smell like a combination of rotten eggs, sweaty socks, wet garbage and underlying notes of sweetness. Oh, YUM.

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