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Foods the Americas Gave the World

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Ingredient Spotlight

I'm doing some research for a pre-Columbian dinner (details to come shortly) and while I knew that a lot of our indigenous food was a real gift to the world, it's almost staggering seeing it in a list like this. It's not complete (I left off a lot of the hard-to-find exotic fruits and edible weeds) but it's impressive!

LIST OF AMERICAN FOOD PLANTS
Source: Foods America Gave the World
By A. Hyatt Verrill, 1937 L.C. Page & Co Books

Diego-rivera-illust
Agave
Cacao
Sarsaparilla
Sassafras
Corn
Quinoa
Squash
Sunflower
Wild rice
Avocado
Gooseberry
Blackberry
Sapote
Blueberry
Cacti (nopales and tunas)
Cashew
Cranberry
Elderberry
Grapes (particular species are native to N. America)

Potatoes
Guava
Mamey
Papaya
Persimmon
Pineapple
Raspberry
Strawberry (Particular strains found in Chile and Colombia)
Achiote
Beans
Chiles
Chayote
Tomatillos
Lambs quarters
Tomato
Mushrooms (not exclusive to the Americas)
Peanut
Purslane

Riviera-plaque

Can you imagine an Indian curry without a chile? Italian food without tomatoes?
I would have bet that persimmons and purslane were Asian. Do you know? I've seen purslane listed as both Asian and as Mayan.

Images: The top illustration is from Mexico: A Study of Two Americas by Stuart Chase and the photo is a detail from a mural in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, both by Diego Rivera.



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