We all need food to live on! But different foods are also fascinating to learn about. Some foods are actually mislabeled and grouped incorrectly. Other foods have morphed throughout the years. And even other foods are just plain gross! These fun food facts are perfect for sharing with your students. Post one during your morning meeting or share them all during a science lesson.
Our Favorite Food Facts for Kids
Applesauce was the first food eaten in space.
John Glenn ate applesauce during the Friendship 7 flight in 1962. For more, watch this video about space food prep!
Pistachios aren’t nuts—they are actually fruits.
Pistachios are a “drupe,” a fleshy tree fruit containing a shell-covered seed.
Broccoli contains more protein than steak!
Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak, but it would take a LOT more broccoli to eat!
Raspberries are a member of the rose family.
Actually a lot of fruits belong in the rose family! Raspberries and strawberries are also members of the Rosacea family. And trees that bear fruit in the rose family include apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, and peach.
M&Ms are named after their creators: Mars & Murrie.
Learn how M&Ms are made in this video from Unwrapped.
Potatoes were the first food planted in space.
In October 1995, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology to plant food in space. The goal was to feed astronauts on long space voyages. Learn more about growing food in space in this video!
Cucumbers are 95% water.
Other vegetables high in water are lettuce, celery, bok choy, radish, zucchini, green bell peppers, and asparagus.
Honey is basically bee vomit. Forager bees regurgitate it.
Watch the whole process of how bees make honey in this video!
Figs aren’t fruits, they are flowers.
Even better, they are inverted flowers! Fig trees have flowers that bloom inside the pod, which then matures into the fruit we eat.
The filling in Kit Kats is made with crumbs from broken Kit Kat bars.
The Kit Kat rejects all get mashed up together and turned into the wafer paste. See a video of the entire Kit Kat process here.
Popsicles were invented accidentally by a child, 11-year-old Frank Epperson.
We love a good accidental invention! Check out more invention videos here.
Almonds are seeds, not nuts.
Almonds are actually seeds of an almond fruit!
Pineapple plants can take two to three years to produce a fruit.
While pineapple plants can grow only one fruit at a time, some live up to 50 years!
Berries can harbor up to 4 larvae per 100 grams.
Per regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Gross!
The average jar of peanut butter may contain 4 or more rodent hairs.
Another gross regulation from the FDA! Also, did you know that peanut butter can be turned into diamonds? Learn more in this video from KiwiCo.
Cotton candy was created by a dentist.
Learn more about this yummy invention in this video!
Watermelon and bananas are berries, but strawberries are not!
A lot of thought goes into classifying fruits and vegetables, and it all has to do with anatomy. Learn more here.
Rhubarb grows so fast, you can hear it!
As the buds crack open, it makes a sound. Some people say there’s a constant creaking during growing season.
Glass Gem corn has rainbow kernels that look like little beads of glass.
Charles Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer living in Oklahoma, bred corn to get these beautiful results.
Fruit salad trees grow different fruits on the same tree!
These are called multi-grafted trees and they can grow up to six types of fruit at a time.
Cashews grow on cashew apples.
See how cashews grow in this video!
Lemons float but limes sink.
Learn more about the buoyancy of lemons, limes, and oranges here!
The original carrots were purple and yellow, not orange.
The first records show that carrots were purple and yellow until the 1500s.
The cereal Froot Loops all taste the same even though they are different colors.
They are also the same flavor as Trix and Fruity Pebbles cereals!
Carrots are sweeter in the winter.
Carrots developed the physiological response of increasing their sugar content when it’s cold outside to stop ice crystal formations that cause damage. Check out this video for more!
Pound cake gets its name from its recipe.
The early recipe for pound cake was super easy to remember: one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, and one pound of eggs!
You can buy a $12,000 pizza.
Three Italian chefs will spend 72 hours in your home making a pizza topped with lobster, mozzarella, and three types of caviar! Learn more about this pricey slice!
Nutmeg can make you hallucinate.
A little bit of nutmeg is tasty, but don’t eat too much. In large doses, the seasoning can have mind-altering effects due to a natural compound called myristicin.
Some wasabi is actually horseradish.
It’s expensive and difficult to make real wasabi so a lot of supermarkets sell colored horseradish instead.
Red Skittles contain boiled beetles.
The red food dye called carminic acid that’s used for the candy is actually made from the crushed bodies of Dactylopius coccus, a type of beetle.
A burger could contain meat from 100 different cows.
The ground beef used at fast-food restaurants and grocery stores doesn’t come from a single animal. Each package is made from a collection of meat from different cows.
Ketchup was once used as a medicine.
In the 1800s, a doctor created a ketchup recipe that treats indigestion and diarrhea.
Nutella uses a LOT of hazelnuts.
At least one in four hazelnuts is used to make Nutella, with some universities even trying to find ways to grow them in labs to help offset global shortages. You can’t deny the popularity of this tasty spread!
Hawaiians didn’t invent Spam.
They may love it and prepare it in the most incredible ways, but Hawaiians didn’t invent Spam. It was created in Minnesota!
McDonald’s sells 2.5 billion hamburgers every year.
This means they sell about 6.8 million hamburgers every day—and 75 burgers per second!
Three Musketeers candy bars used to have three flavors.
The famous Three Musketeers candy bar originally had vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate flavors in one! However, during World War II, they changed to only chocolate due to rations.
Ancient civilizations used chocolate as currency.
A system of money in ancient Mexico and South America used cocoa beans.
There’s no cream inside Twinkies.
All of that fluffy, creamy goodness is actually vegetable shortening!
You can bounce ripe cranberries.
It’s easy to find out when cranberries are ripe—just drop some on the ground! If they bounce, they are perfect. Even farmers use this test!
Rotten eggs float.
Worried that your eggs have gone bad? There’s an easy way to find out. Just put them in a glass of cold water and if they float, throw them out!
Jam and jelly are different.
How can you tell them apart? Jam is chunky because it’s made with pieces of fruit. Jelly is smoother because it’s made with fruit juice.
Potatoes are 80% water.
You could probably juice a potato, but we’ll stick to mashed potatoes and fries!
Your food may contain some insects.
Did you know that the FDA allows some traces of bugs in the food we consume? You can have up to 30 insects per 100 grams of peanut butter, for example!
Margherita pizza is named after a queen.
During a visit to Naples, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita requested pizza. The queen loved the mozzarella pizza so much that they named it after her!
Thomas Jefferson brought mac and cheese to America.
After living abroad in France, America’s third president introduced the first macaroni machine to the United States.
Food tastes different in an airplane.
While flying, you may have noticed that some flavors don’t taste the same as they do when you’re on the ground. That’s because altitude changes your body chemistry and decreases your taste sensitivity.
Tonic water glows in the dark.
Tonic water contains quinine. This chemical component causes it to fluoresce, or glow, under certain light. Want to try it? Here’s a cool STEM activity for the classroom!
Brown sugar and white sugar are the same.
It might have a better reputation, but brown sugar is no less refined than white sugar. The only real difference? Some of the molasses lost during the refining process gets added back.
Almost half of American adults eat a sandwich every day.
Incredibly, a study found that a whopping 49% of Americans over the age of 20 eat at least one sandwich every day. Wow!
Gummies are shiny because of car wax.
These fruit-flavored snacks get their glossy sheen from a coating of carnauba wax, the same type of wax used on cars.
An astronaut smuggled a corned beef sandwich into space.
At one point during the six-hour mission, pilot John Young took out his sandwich but things didn’t go well. In zero gravity, it started to crumble, forcing him to quickly gather all the pieces before they could damage the spacecraft!