9 Surprising Ways Foods Grow That'll Blow Your Mind


When you’re more of a supermarket, rather than organic local farmer’s market type, it’s easy to forget that your dinner ingredients weren’t always encased in shiny wrapping. And while some foods are honest with us about the way they grow – apples, trees, fine – others are a bit more deceptive.

From cashews to asparagus, these are going to make you need a five minute sit down and a cup of tea.

1. Pineapples

A field of golden pineapples might sound like a wild fantasy, but no. The tropical fruit grows up from the ground, surrounded by densely packed dark green leaves. It’s a long way from the syrupy tinned rings of our childhoods.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus, we were really deceived by you. We thought you were a safe, homely number – the Victoria sponge of the greens world. But, no. You emerge, like a dead person with gangrene’s fingers, from the ground. This image will haunt our dreams.

3. Cashews

We wouldn’t normally associate the mild cashew with anything remotely controversial. But behold how they grow in a way that looks, frankly, pornographic, and be amazed. And perhaps a little affronted.

4. Cranberries

The sweet bursts of berry look like an impressionist painting when they’re ready for harvest.

5. Peanuts

Technically a legume, not a nut, the source of your peanut butter grows below the ground. When it’s harvest time, they’re dug up and shelled.

6. Cinnamon

Meet: the actual tree from which the bark that is ground into the powder that tops your special Christmas hot chocolate. We know.

7. Pistachios

Yes, all that salt has to be added to your jumbo party pack. Everyone’s favourite bar snack grows in clusters on trees in dry climates like Turkey, Iran and Italy, before a whole lot of shaking brings them to you.

8. Quinoa

The biggest South American import to the UK since Shakira, quinoa is the seed of these flowing plants. Fun fact: technically, it’s not a grain, as it doesn’t grow from a grass.

9. Sesame seeds

The classic aroma of Chinese cooking originates in these funny looking pods. Nature moves in mysterious ways.