Fashionable Watches

Wild vs Domesticated Foods Ep.5

Wild vs Domesticated Foods Ep.5


Our common foods today didn’t come from
common places. On this episode of wild vs domesticated foods we take a look at the origin
of some of the world’s most popular foods. Wheat
Requested by Henri over on my patreon, wheat a grain used for thousands of years by humans
started its domestication almost 10,000 years ago. A staple food of humans along with maize
and barley, wheat started it’s cultivation in South east Turkey and at that time it was
called Einkorn. (T. monococcum). Now quickly I’ll mention rice before someone boils over,
rice is the 2nd largest cereal crop produced today but it’s production was localized
to Asia not making it a global food at the time wheat was going through domestication. Containing two sets of chromosomes wheat is
genetically described as a diploid. Along the same time Einkorn was being domesticated
so was Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum). Emmer wheat was created by the natural hybridization
between Tricticum urartu and an Aegilops species both being wild grasses. Both wild grasses
were diploids which yielded a tetraploid or one with four sets of chromosomes which is
the same as Durum wheat a common wheat grown today. Durum wheat was created in the same
manner as Emmer wheat using natural hybridization. These, at one point wild grasses, became the
domesticated wheat we know today as farmers made selections based on different wheat’s
beneficial traits like yield size and ease of harvest. Common bread wheat and spelt were also a result
of natural hybridization and became the ideal choice for farmers. Emmer wheat and Aegilops
tauschii or wild goat grass were selected. This combination yielded a 6 chromosome or
hexaploid wheat which took many generations to fully develop. Wild Cherry
Originating between the Black and the Caspian Seas sweet cherry domestication dates back
before recorded history. The earliest known mention of the cherry goes back to 372-272
BCE, Theophrastus “History of Plants” had mentioned cherries had been cultivated
for hundreds of years in Greece. Pliny a philosopher suggested the Roman general Lucullus introduced
cherries to Europe in 74 BCE but there is evidence that shows cherries were already
known in Italy well before then. Cherry pits have been found in several stone age caves
in Europe. In the 1300s King Charles V of France had over 1000 cherries trees planted
in his gardens. Turkey the largest producer of cherries in the region is also the origin
of the name of the fruit coming from the Turkish town of Cerasus. Colonists from the 1600’s
migrated from Europe bringing cherries with them. In 1847, Henderson Lewelling brought
with him an ox cart full of plants to western Oregon which became the first cherry tree
to be planted in the Northwestern United States. Henderson’s younger brother Seth created
the most famous sweet cherry variety grown today, the Bing as well as some lesser-known
one the Lincoln and Black Republican. The Lincoln was named after President Lincoln
as he was a strong supporter of his cherries. The Bing named after Seth’s friend and orchard
foreman was a towering man at over 7 feet tall. In 1952 the Rainier cherry was created by
crossbreeding the Bing and Van varieties. Having the shortest period between flowering
and ripe fruit than any other tree fruit the cherry can be ready in just 60 days. Other cherries have since been created such
as the maraschino dessert cherry which originated on the Balkan Peninsula and northern Italy.
Merchants added liqueur to local cherries called Marasca. These cherries became an import
product to the United States in the 1890’s. In 1896 producers of cherries in the US started
to experiment with their domestic sweet cherry and reducing the liqueur and adding almond
oil. By 1920 the liqueur had been eliminated completely and the American Maraschino cherry
had become more popular in the United States replacing the foreign variety. A few fun facts about cherries, in New York,
Broadway turns west at East 10th because a cherry tree once stood there. There are more
than a 1000 varieties of cherries in the United States, only 10 are produced commercially.
Kansas at one point made it illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie. Wild Coffee
Dating back 14 centuries to Yemen and Ethiopia coffee’s origin will be fought over by both
countries with no proof which country it really came from. It is said a Kaldi a goat herder
discovered what coffee could become. Apparently, after eating some of the coffee berries Kaldi
noticed his goats couldn’t sleep at night. He reported these findings at a local monastery,
which were not welcome, in fact the monk burned the coffee berries and beans which yielded
a wonderful aroma. These burnt remnants of the coffee beans were mixed with water essentially
creating the first cup of coffee. News of this discovery at the monastery spread fast
which began the spread of coffee and its energizing effects. Historians believe that coffee was
mixed with ghee or clarified butter or animal fat and rolled into small balls and chewed
before it was ever made into a drink. After it’s local popularity this bean moved east
across the Arabian peninsula. The cultivation of this plant began in the Arabian peninsula
but by the 15th century it was being grown in Yemen, Persia, Turkey, Syria and Egypt
by the 16th century. Public coffee houses started to show up in
towns and cities called, qahveh khaneh. These places exploded with popularity with people
coming together to talk, listen to music, watch performers and play games like chess.
These places became the place where people who talk and exchange important information
and were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise”. European travelers returning home from a journey
to the east brought back stories of an unusual black beverage. Soon after by the 17th century
coffee had become popular across all of europe. Now the coffee haters of the world called
it the “bitter invention of Satan” so it wasn’t loved by all. Clergy of Venice
condemned coffee when it arrived in 1615, this caused so much of an uproar that Pope
Clement VIII had to step in and make a decision on it. He tasted it for himself, loved it
and gave it his approval. The same thing happened in Europe as their eastern neighbours, coffee
houses were popping up all throughout Germany, England, France, Holland and Austria serving
as meeting points for people. In England for the price of a single penny you could buy
a cup of coffee and engage in conversation spurring on the term “penny universities”. Coffee soon replaced common morning beverages,
beer and wine resulting in new waves of people being alert, energized and being highly productive.
By the mid 17th century 300 coffee houses called London home which drew in many artists,
merchants and brokers like Lloyd’s of London which started at the Edward Lloyd’s Coffee
House. Brought to New Amsterdam or what’s called
New York today by the British, coffee’s popularity rose quickly in the United States
but tea was the preferred beverage. This all changed when King George II imposed a heavy
tea tax in 1773 which caused colonists to revolt resulting in the Boston Tea Party when
342 chests of tea were dumped into the harbour and coffee soon after became the favored beverage. Around this time just a few years earlier
in 1720 through French naval officers like Gabriel Leclerc coffee plants were brought
on his ship and planted in Martinique. We do know despite his efforts coffee had already
been growing in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Suriname a few years before his arrival.
From here it’s popularity spread through the rest of the world. We don’t really know
if the coffee bean which is actually a seed originated from the southwestern highlands
of Ethiopia or from the area around the city of Mocha in Yemen but maybe some mysteries
aren’t meant to be solved. Sugar Apple
The sugar apple an incredibly sweet delicious fruit likely comes from the wild sugar apple
or rollinia. The rollinia is a large jungle fruit with complicated origins. Conflicting
journals state the origin of this delicious fruit comes from two different places. One
journal states it to be indigenous to the West Indies and tropical South America where
the other claims it came from lowland Central America and was distributed to Mexico and
eventually throughout tropical America. We do know the sugar apple has been grown in
the West Indies since at least 1689. We know this because this was the time of Sir Hans
Sloane’s voyage to Jamaica when he collected samples of the fruit. It’s likely the sugar
apple was introduced into Brazil in 1626 by Conde de Miranda and brought to the Philippines
by the Spaniards and India by the Portuguese by 1590. Once established in these locations
sugar apple cultivation spread to nearby China, Australia, Hawaii and Indonesia. Being so popular commercially in India, many
botanists claim this is where it came from. These claims are supported with the presence
of wall paintings and carvings however a more recent 2005 journal states India was the second
location of the sugar apple. We do know the purple sugar apple, this beautiful variety,
was created in India in 1911. Not much is known how the rollinia was domesticated
but it is stated that it was the base for multiple different annona fruits including
the sour sop, cherimoya and atemoya fruit. These fruits along with the sugar apple are
distinguished as botanical species instead of cultivars. Today the sugar apple is grown in not only
Central America but Northern South America including northeastern Brazil where it is
quite popular. Also a staple in the Philippines, Thailand and Cuba only Florida and Hawaii
can produce them in the United States. An attempt was made to grow them in southern
California without success though. Wild Chickpea
Found only in parts of southeastern Turkey and Syria the ancestor of the chickpea cicer
reticulatum was believed to be domesticated 11,000 years ago. Being a part of the first
farming practices on the planet chickpeas have been instrumental is how all food is
produced today. It is said it is one of the 8 founding crops of agriculture which are
as mentioned earlier einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, barley, bitter vetch, peas, lentils,
chickpeas and flax. The wild chickpea was most likely domesticated in Turkey which we
can’t confirm until time machines are a thing. We can confirm the domesticated chickpea
was found at different locations, dating back to different times around Turkey and Syria
though. This initial stage of domestication took place during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic
period which yielded the first variety of chickpea the desi. There are 2 main groups
of chickpeas or garbanzo beans being the desi and kabuli. It is believed the desi came first
but between them both there are 21 different varieties that come in all sorts of different
shapes and colors. I grew the black chickpea myself in my garden last year which didn’t
yield very many chickpeas probably due to a lack of heat. You really come to appreciate
modern machinery as harvesting chickpeas is tedious. Each pod contains a single chickpea
and needs to be opened individually. It is believed the desi, the smaller angular chickpeas
originated in Turkey and were later brought to India where the other main chickpea the
kabuli was developed. The kabuli is the common chickpea consumed today which are larger and
more round. Through the process of domestication wild
chickpeas gained many traits. One of these is double the amount of tryptophan, you know
that amino acid in turkey that makes you sleepy, or is that a myth? Tryptophan does boost brain
serotonin levels which accelerates growth and increases birth rates. The wild chickpea
is only harvested in winter when it’s ripe. in summer was an important added trait, this
also reduced the pressure of having a perfect harvest in winter when more water is available.
In winter, chickpeas are susceptible to Ascochyta blight a disease that can wipe out the entire
crop, so having that 2nd harvest became important. In 2013 the chickpea had its genome sequenced
showing more diversity in the desi line of chickpeas suggesting it came first. Today
being the world’s second most widely grown legume the chickpea is only out produced by
the soybean. Which story of domestication did you find
most fascinating and which do you want me to cover next? Share your thoughts and subscribe
and until the next one have a good one.


Reader Comments

  1. Wow, I would've liked my history classes had they had info like this! And now I must search that black chickpea…

  2. It would be really cool to be able to try all these different things. To see the changes in taste etc from the start plants to the modern variety.

  3. Awesome info. Its amazing how much the food we eat today has been changed. One of my ancestors brought the first apple seeds to the rocky mountains. A few years ago I got to go and see the last remaining apple tree on the old family homestead. Its amazing that tree is over 100 years old and still thriving with little care.

  4. Interesting video, definitely one of my favorite kind of yours. Ps finally got to try sheep sorrel since it’s in season

  5. Coffee is most probably Ethiopian in origin. Linguistic evidence thraces the origin of the word coffee from "Kaffa" region of Ethiopia, a home of the plant. Coffee in Kaffa is called būno, which itself was borrowed in to Arabic as bunn "raw coffee".

  6. Regarding cherries, the sour varieties (often called "wild", though they're not really) are much richer in vitamins, while the sweet ones have slightly more minerals. Another noteworthy fact is that sour or "bitter" cherry trees are far more resilient to both colder climates and parasites, but they require more moisture compared to the regular sweet cultivars.

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