Fun & Fascinating Facts about Vegetables

For National Vegetarian Week, tibits takes a hysterical and historical look at the origins of vegetables.

As champions of fruit and veg and pioneers in plant-based dining, tibits practically owns vegetables, London’s vegetarian and vegan hotspot has decided to ‘spill the beans’ about some staple ingredients on the menu.


The Terrifying Tomato

In the late 1700s Europeans feared the tomato. As part of the deadly nightshade family they are one of the few that are edible rather than poisonous. The exact origin of the tomato isn’t known by can be traced back to Pre-Columbian times in 500 BC and were brought to Europe by a Spanish Conquistador in the 15th Century and introduced in England in 1597. Known as the ‘poison apple’ because aristocrats became sick and died after eating them, but the truth was that it was caused by the pewter plates they were served on, which were high in lead content.


Smart-Veg – Reading, Writing and Romanesco

A 500 year old cousin of broccoli only sweeter and nuttier in taste. As the name suggests it is thought to have Italian roots and many believe this natural example of a mathematical logarithm is a result of selective breeding by Italian farmers dating back to the 16th Century. It is a perfect example of Fibonacci Sequence, a mathematical phenomenon of steadily increasing numbers that is found all over the natural world.


The Doctored Carrot

Do you believe carrots improve your eyesight? This myth dates back an early 1940s famous British government misinformation campaign. The Royal Air Force had a new on-board radar system, which allowed their pilots to target German bombers more effectively during night-time missions. To keep this under wraps, the RAF spread a rumour that its fighter aces’ cat-like night vision was the result of a steady diet of vitamin A-rich carrots.


Mad for it… In Renaissance Italy, the eggplant is known as ‘crazy apple’

Italians believed that diets rich in eggplants can actually lead to madness. Eggplants aren’t REALLY vegetables; they’re berries and before cultivation it grew in a variety of colours from blue to yello to which and was often rounded rather than oblong, hence the name eggplant.


It’s no corny joke

Originally corn was so small it could not survive in the wild, as it has to be planted and protected by humans. Corn cultivated today is 1000 x bigger than its ancestor and is a human invention.

May 15th marks the launch of ‘National Vegetarian Week’ and with new research showing that eating a plant based diet can reduce the risk of premature death by almost a third, this is the ideal opportunity to join the estimated 1.2 million vegetarians in the UK and introduce more plant-based power into your diet… so why not pop into tibits this National Vegetarian Week to try the tasty spring menu?



The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.