Fun Food Facts
Click one of the pictures to read more.
||Corny Or What
O' So Cherry
Lettuce Talk A Little
Need Night Vision?
|Lean And Green
||Mama Mia Pasta
|An Apple A Day
||Pretty Pink Peach
||Pick A Pepper
||The Food We Eat
- Popcorn pops because water is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel. As the kernel is heated, the water heats, the droplet of moister turns to steam and the steam builds up pressure until the kernel finally explodes to many times its original volume.
- Americans today consume 17.3 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year! The average American eats about 68 quarts!
- While the first breakfast cereal was made by adding sugar and milk to popped popcorn, a shortage of baking flours after World War II forced bread makers to substitute up to 25% of wheat flour with ground popped popcorn. Over the years, popcorn also has been used as an ingredient in pudding, candy, soup, salad and entrees.
- Popcorn's nutritional value comes from the fact that, like other cereal grains, its primary function is to provide the body with heat and energy.
- Microwave popcorn is the same as other popcorn except the kernels are usually larger and the packaging is designed for maximum popability.
- Did you know that an ear of corn never has an odd number of rows?
- Some Native Americans used popcorn for jewelry.
- The average American eats 54 quarts of popcorn each year.
"Corny or What??"
- One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of pop.
- There are about 600 kernels on each ear of corn.
- Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
- Each tassel on a corn plant releases as many as 5 million grains of pollen.
- Ethanol and new bio-diesel fuels made from corn and other grains are beneficial to the environment and promote energy security.
O' So Cherry!
- There are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree (the number varies depending on the age of the tree, weather and growing conditions). It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, so each tree could produce enough cherries for 28 pies!
- Today, in Michigan, there are almost 4 million cherry trees which annually produce 150 to 200 pounds of tart cherries.
Lettuce talk a little.
- Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.
- Darker Green lettuce leaves are more nutritious than lighter green leaves.
- Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That's about five times more than what we ate in the early 1900s.
- In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable.
- Almost all lettuce is packed right in the field.
- About 25% of all iceberg lettuce is made into fresh cut salads.
Need Night Vision?
- The plant pigment that gives carrots and other vegetables their vivid orange color is Beta-Carotene. Fruits and Vegetables that are yellow/orange in color contain Beta-Carotene and carrots are one of the richest in this nutrient. Our bodies convert Beta-Carotene into Vitamin A.
- The bright orange color of carrots tell you they're an excellent source of Vitamin A which is important for good eyesight, especially at night. Vitamin A helps your body fight infection, and keeps your skin and hair healthy!
- Carrots really can help you see in the dark! Vitamin A is known to prevent "night blindness," and carrots are loaded with Vitamin A.
Very, Berries Good for Life!
- Blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States.
- Michigan and New Jersey produce 66% of all the blueberries in the United States, followed by North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.
- Over 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown every year in North America.
- Blueberries are first picked by hand to gather the best of the early fruit. Later, if the fruit is to be mechanically harvested, a harvesting machine goes through the field and gently shakes each bush so only the ripe blueberries drop off.
- Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.
- In the U.S. in 1998, hens produced 6,657,000,000 dozen eggs - that's 6.657 billion dozen! After these eggs were laid, about two-thirds were sold in the shell and one third of them were broken - not by accident, but on purpose. Because after the eggs are broken out of their shells, they can be made into liquid, frozen, dried and specialty egg products.
- The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh!
- Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
- Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.
- It takes 24 to 26 hours for a hen to produce an egg; there is 30 minutes between each egg-producing cycle.
- About 240 million laying hens produce about 5.5 billion dozen eggs per year in the United States.
- Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.
- A hard boiled egg spins but a soft cooked or raw egg does not.
It's All About the Flowers and the Bees...
- A hive of bees flies over 55,000 miles to bring you one pound of honey. A honey bee can fly 15 miles per hour.
- Honey bees must tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey. Each worker honey bee makes 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- Honey bees visit 50-100 flowers during one honey collecting trip.
- Bees have been producing honey from flowering plants for at least 10 million years! And maybe even as long as 20 million years!
- Flowers and other blossoming plants have nectarines that produce sugary nectar. Worker bees suck up the nectar and water and store it in a special honey stomach. When the stomach is full the bee returns to the hive and puts the nectar in an empty honeycomb. Natural chemicals from the bee's head glands and the evaporation of the water from the nectar change the nectar into honey.
- In one day a honey bee can fly 12 miles and pollinate up to 10,000 flowers.
- Honeybee workers must visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey.
- Honey is one of the earliest forms of saccharine substances known to man.
- The purest of honey is from the honeycomb.
- Most honey that has been made up commercially has been thinned with added syrup.
- Did you know that honey has more calories than sugar? Honey has 64 calories, while granulated sugar has 46 calories per tablespoon!
- The ingredients in honey are water, pollen, fructose, glucose, organic acids, proteins and enzymes.
- It takes 50,000 bees to produce 500 pounds of honey in one year!
- Never give honey to children under one year of age. The nectar that the bees took from the flower may cause an allergic reaction.
Go, Go, Go Bananas!
- There are over 500 different types of bananas. That means if you ate a different kind of banana everyday, it would take almost a year and a half to eat every one!
- Although generally regarded as a tree, this large tropical plant is really an herb. That means it does not have a woody trunk like a tree. The stalk is composed of leaf sheaths that overlap each other and grow from an underground stem called a rhizome.
- The banana plant can grow as high as 20 feet tall. That's as big as a two-story house!
- Bananas are about 99.5% fat free.
- Bananas are a great source of potassium. Potassium helps build muscle power and keeps your body fluids in balance.
- Banana's are most likely the first fruit ever to be grown on a farm.
Great Green Forests
- An acre of trees can remove about 13 tons of dust and gases every year from the surrounding environment.
- Almost a third of the world's total land area is covered by forests.
- Some tissue-making machines can produce as many as 6000 feet of toilet tissue every minute out of trees.
- About 1.5 million tons of ground cocoa beans from the tropical tree are used each year to make chocolate and cocoa products. That's greater than the weight of more than 300,000 elephants!
- Every year in the United States each person uses the equivalent of one tree, 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter, to fulfill their wood and paper needs.
- Thirty to 40 gallons of sugar maple sap must be boiled down to make just one gallon of maple syrup.
Lean and Green
- The name asparagus comes from the Greek language and means "sprout" or "shoot."
- Asparagus is a member of the Lily family.
- Asparagus is related to onions, leeks, and garlic.
- One of the most popular varieties of green asparagus is named after Martha Washington, the wife of George Washington.
- California grows about 70% of all the asparagus grown in the United States.
- More than 50,000 tons of asparagus are grown in California every year.
Mama Mia Pasta
- Pasta is one of America's favorite foods. Last year, 1.3 million pounds of pasta were sold in American grocery stores. If you lined up 1.3 million pounds of 16 oz. spaghetti packages, it could circle the Earth's equator almost nine times!
- Noodles got their start in China, not Italy as many people might think.
- Pasta made its way to the New World through the English who found it while traveling through Italy. The English made pasta by cooking it for about a half an hour and then smothering it with cream sauce and cheese. This was the beginning of Macaroni and Cheese!
- America's first large pasta factory was built in Brooklyn, New York in 1848 by a Frenchman who would spread out his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.
- According to a Kraft Cheese Family study, America's top family main dishes are spaghetti, 52%; grilled chicken, 50% and Pizza, 49%. Favorite side dishes are baked potato, salad and pasta.
- There are over 400 varieties of natural cheeses!
- Each American consumers, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
- Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.
- A family of four could live for 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.
- One bushel of wheat will produce 73 one-pound loaves of bread.
- In 1997, Kansas's wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
- Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
- The first breakfast cereal ever produced was Shredded Wheat.
- Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites!
- Pumpkin flowers are edible.
- Pumpkins are 90% water.
- Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
- Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.
- Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
- In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
- The name "pumpkin" originated from "pepon", the Greek word for "large melon."
- Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
- In a year's time a dairy cow produces 1,500 gallons or 6,000 quarts of milk. A Jersey cow will give as much as 3 to 4 gallons or around 16 quarts of milk each day.
- Dairy cows provide us with milk and milk by-products like cheese, butter, and ice cream. In addition, milk is also used to manufacture glue, paint, and plastics.
- Straight from the cow, the temperature of cow's milk is about 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The average U.S. dairy cow produces 22.5 quarts of milk each day. That's about 16,000 glasses of milk per year - enough for about 40 people. One cow can give 200,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.
- It takes approximately 1.4 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
- Cheese was first made over 4,000 years ago in Asia.
- A cow has 4 stomachs. They are: the rumen, where the food is first stored, the reticulum where food that has been more thoroughly chewed is stored once the cow has chewed the cud and has swallowed it; the omasum where extra water is squeezed out, and finally the food goes to the abomasum. Some of the digested food is then stored in the cow's udder where it is made into milk.
- Cows are ruminants or cud-chewing animals eating hay, corn, soybeans, grass, wheat, and ensilage. Each cow eats 20 to 25 pounds of grain, 40 to 60 pounds of ensilage, 30 pounds of hay and drinks about 15 to 25 gallons of water a day.
- Cows are sedentary animals spending up to 8 hours a day chewing the cud while standing still or lying down to rest after grazing. When going to be milked, a certain cow in an established herd always leads the others with the weaker and older cattle trailing behind the group.
- A typical, full grown Holstein cow weighs about 1,400 pounds and produces 60 pounds of milk per day.
- One day's production is 2.6 pounds of butter or 7 gallons of milk or 6 pounds of cheese.
- A dairy cow consumes 35 gallons of water, 20 pounds of grain and concentrated feed and 35 pounds of hay or silage (a mixture of corn and grass) in just one day.
- It usually takes about 20 minutes for a cow to be milked. On average a cow is milked 2 to 3 times a day.
- Hamburger meat from a single steer will make about 720 quarter pound hamburger patties.
- The average American drinks 25 gallons of milk per year.
- Cream weight less than milk.
An Apple a Day
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- Washington state grows the most apples in the U.S.
- The apples from one tree can fill 20 boxes every year.
- Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air.
- In the winter, apple trees need to "rest" for about 900-1,000 hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to flower and fruit properly.
- If you grew 100 apple trees from the seeds of one tree, they would all be different.
- Apples are high in fiber.
- There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples grown in the world.
- Archeologists have found evidence that humans have enjoyed eating apples since 6500 B.C. Each of us eats more than 19 pounds of apples annually.
- The batter used to make pancakes is almost exactly the same as the batter used to make regular cakes. The pancake batter is just a little thinner.
- Did you know it takes 50 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple sugar?
Pretty Pink Peach
- Peaches are a good source of Vitamin C.
- The United States provides about one-fourth (25%) of the world's total supply of fresh peaches.
- The peach is a member of the rose family and will have a sweet fragrance when ripe.
- Most peaches that are imported to the United States during winter months come from Chile.
- Peaches are the third most popular fruit grown in America.
- Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second.
- Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year.
- Pepperoni is America's favorite topping (36 percent of all pizza orders we eat approximately 251,770,000 pounds a year!
- In America, anchovies always rank last on the list of favorite toppings.
- Pizza makers have tried virtually every type of food on pizzas, including peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs and mashed potatoes!
- There are approximately 61,269 pizzerias in the United States.
- Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year.
- In Japan, the most popular topping for pizza at Domino's pizza is Squid?
Pick a Pepper
- The most popular sweet pepper in the United States is the bell pepper.
- Bell peppers are usually sold green, but they can also be red, purple or yellow.
- Most peppers belong to the Capsicum annuum species.
- As bell peppers mature, their color changes from green to red and they become sweeter.
- Chile peppers are hot.
- Dried chile pepper wreaths are called "Ristras" - a symbol of plenty and hope.
- We are eating 900% more broccoli than we did 20 years ago.
- In 1970, consumption of broccoli was only a half a pound per person. Today, the average person in the United States eats four and one half pounds a year.
- In the United States, broccoli was probably first grown by immigrants from Italy in home gardens in Brooklyn, New York. In 1923, a group of Italian vegetable farmers in Northern California started to grow broccoli commercially and in a few years they were shipping fresh broccoli to Boston and New York.
- California produces almost all the broccoli sold in the United States.
The Food We Eat
- In 1996, each American consumed an average of 77 pounds more of commercially grown vegetables than in 1970, 63 pounds more grain products, 54 pounds more fruits, 32 pounds more poultry, 10 gallons more milk lower in fat than whole milk, 20.5 pounds less red meat, 73 fewer eggs, and 17 gallons less whole milk.
- It takes just 40 days for most Americans to earn enough money to pay for their food supply for the entire year. In comparison with the 129 days it takes the average American to earn enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes for the year.
- More than 96 billion pounds of edible "surplus" food is thrown away in the U.S. Each year. It is estimated that almost 27% of our food supply is wasted.
- Americans are eating about 14 pounds of turkey a piece each year, more than double the rate 20 years ago.
- In America, an average family of four consumes almost 6000 pounds of food per year.
- Native Americans introduced chewing gun to the pilgrims. They chewed resin from the black spruce tree to ease hunger pangs.
- You can thank Thomas Jefferson for some of your favorite foods. He introduced waffles, macaroni and ice cream to America.
- During a lifetime, the average person eats about 35 tons of food.
- In France, people eat approximately 500,000,000 snails per year.
- You're more likely to be hungry in you're cold! Temperature can affect your appetite.
- It takes 3500 calories to make a pound of fat! So, as long as you're active, and burning of calories, calories shouldn't have too much of a chance to turn into fat.
- It has been traditional to serve fish with a slice of lemon since the Middle Ages, when people believed that the fruit's juice would dissolve any bones accidentally swallowed.
- The average person eats almost 1500 pounds of food a Year! On average, that can be thought of as 150 pounds of meat, 290 pounds of milk and cream, 35 pounds of eggs, 48 pounds of chicken, 68 pounds of bread, 125 pounds of potatoes, and 80 pounds of fruit. That should be enough till your stomach.
5 A Day, there's no other way . . .
- Onions contain a mild antibiotic that fights infections, soothes burns, tames bee stings and relieves the itch of athletes foot.
- The onion is named after the Latin word meaning large pearl.
- Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. They have been around for more than 8,000 years.
- It is recommended that you eat five to nine servings of fruit or vegetables a day. A serving equals one-half cup.
- If you cook garlic cloves with lemon, the garlic will turn blue. The acid in the lemons reacts with the garlic to bring out the blue or purple color. But, while the garlic has a funny color, it tastes just the same!
- Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
- Sometimes frozen fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than Fresh! The longer that fruits or vegetables sit around waiting to be sold or eaten, the more nutrients they lose. Fruits and vegetables grown for freezing are usually frozen right after they're picked. Therefore, they have less time to lose their nutrients.
- It takes a combine 9 seconds to harvest enough wheat to make 70 loaves of bread.
- Americans consume 1.12 billion pounds of popcorn a year.
- Soybean oil is the most widely used edible oil in the United States; you can find it in mayonnaise, salad dressing, process cheese products, dessert frostings and much more.
- Peanuts are not actually nuts. Peanuts, like soybeans, are members of the legume family.
- There are 340 million M&M's produced daily.
- Did you know that Brazil nuts are only grown in Rain Forests?
- Peanuts are used in the manufacture of dynamite.
- According to the Texas Peanut Produces Board, Americans eat enough peanut butter each year to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon. Americans eat more than 4 million pounds of peanuts per day.
- Can turkeys fly? Some turkeys CAN fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 mph and can run up to 20 mph, but domesticated turkeys stick to the ground because they can't fly.
- It takes 75,000 violet Crocus to make 1 pound of spice saffron.
- .007 calories are consumed while licking a stamp.
- The first ice cream cone was made, served, and eaten in New York City on September 22, 1886. The maker, Italo Marchiony, was granted a patent on his cone mold in 1903.
- Each American eats approximately 22 pounds of tomatoes yearly. Over ½ of the tomato consumption is in the form of catsup and tomato sauce.
- The word ketchup originally came from China in the 1600s. The Chinese sauce was made from pickled fish instead of tomatoes. Imagine that on your burger!
- Tomatoes are very high in the carotenoid Lycopene; eating foods with carotenoids can lower your risk of cancer.
- Other vegetables high in carotenoids are carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.
- A horn worm can eat an entire tomato plant by itself in one day!
- In the United States, more tomatoes are consumed than any other single fruit or vegetable!
- Actually a fruit, it took a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1893 to make the tomato a vegetable.
- The tomato is in the same family as the potato, pepper, eggplant, and petunia.
- There are thousands of different tomato varieties.
- The French used to refer to the tomato as the "apple of love."
- Scienetists at Cornell University have identified two cancer-fighting substances in the tomato: P-courmaric and chlorogenic acids.
- A versatile vegetable for cooking, tomatoes can be prepared stuffed, baked, boiled, stewed, pickled, and fried, and there are the base for many sauces.
- Florida is the number one producer of fresh market tomatoes.
- Up until the 1800s, people were convinced that tomatoes were poisonous. It turns out that the acid in the tomatoes would react with the pewter plates and utensils that were common at the time, causing poisoning.
- Have a tomato with your Burger! When a source of Vitamin C (orange, lemon, grapefruit, strawberry, tomato, potato, etc.) is eaten with meat or cooked dry beans, the body makes better use of the iron in the protein food.
- Did you know there are over 150,000 varieties or rice?
- Half of the world's population live on a staple diet of rice.
- Ranch dressing was invented in the late 1950s by a former plumber, Steve Henson, who owned the Hidden Valley Guest Ranch in California.
- A single baked potato contains less than 250 calories and is over 99% fat free.
- Most of the nutrients in a potato reside just below the skin layer.
- White potatoes were first cultivated by local Indians in the Andes Mountains of South America.
- Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing!
- A baked potato (with skin) is a good source of dietary fiber (4 grams).
- Potatoes first appeared in Europe in 1586; they made it to North America in 1719.l
- Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, about half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods.
- Thomas Jefferson is given credit for introducing French fries to America.
- Germans eat twice as many potatoes as Americans.
- There are only 100 calories in an 8-ounce baked potato.
- 35% of an adult's daily requirement of vitamin C can be found in a medium-sized potato.
- Mr. Potato Head was introduced by the Hasbro company in 1952.
- Potatoes do not have to be stored in a refrigerator, buy they should be kept dark and dry.
- Potatoes are only 20% solids . . . and 80% water.