When you think about your favorite fruits and vegetables it can be a pretty small list. Even the most eclectic eaters in the world simply don’t eat that much variety when it comes to our greens (or other fruity colors). The fact is that on average we consume only 200 plant varieties in our daily lives. Of course, there will be many people who consume one or two who bring down the average but there will also be a few that eat 500 who drive it up.
This number doesn’t sound too shocking until you realize that there are 400,000 plant varieties in the known world. Of those, we can eat an estimated 200,000, yet we don’t. To think that there may be some delicious treats hidden out there that we don’t even know about almost gets the mouth salivating.
The reasons why are clear. In the early days before laboratories and the internet, settlers tried local plants and either lived or died. Those that allowed them to live they ate more of, those that made them die, they ate far less of. The odds in this game were a little too risky so when they had found enough plants that allowed them to live, they stopped looking.
Take into consideration that many plants we know today are still trying to kill us. The pepper is hot because it doesn’t want to be eaten, the tomato has small traces of cyanide and the durian, well, the durian stinks!
Humanity, in the end, chose the plants that were the easiest to produce on a large scale. In my experience, the plants that are most complicated are usually the tastiest. It is possible then that there are some extremely strange fruits in the rainforests of the world that could be hiding the tastiest fruit ever known. Perhaps it is time to kick off the age of exploration one more time.