35 Weird Foods That We Now Know Are Edible, But It’s Surprising How Our Ancestors Found That Out, As Pointed Out By Folks Online

The evolution of the human diet is a history filled with intrigue and suspense. From learning how to hunt and eat meat to knowing which berries could cause stomach aches, our ancestors most likely experienced some steep learning curves. Fast forward a few millennia to the present day, where humans are now faced with somewhat similar choices... should we try the dodgy-looking, but cheaply priced restaurant that smells nice? Should we risk food poisoning or death if it may yield ecstasy? Given this behavior, it's only natural to wonder just how our ancestors knew what food was safe to eat. Or even why they were curious to try certain questionable foods in the first place.

Redditor The_True_John_Doe posed a question to the internet “What food made you think 'how the frick did our ancestors find out this was edible?'” They received numerous comments highlighting different kinds of foods, all in a great inquiry to marvel at and ponder why we humans could be drawn to some of the most questionable-looking, but tasty morsels in existence.

More info: Reddit

#1 Coffee

Coffee. Can’t eat the beans as-is; gotta roast ‘em first. Whoops, not yet; gotta grind ‘em. Hmm, not quite right yet, let’s pour water over them and drink the water. Hmm .. let’s try using *hot* water. Perfect!

Image credits: OriginallyFromNYC

#2 Gympie-Gympie Plant

The fruit of the gympie-gympie plant. It is also known as the suicide plant because its sting is so painful that there have been reports of people and animals taking their own life to escape the pain, which can last for days or even years. The sting is delivered by tiny hairs that cover the whole plant, yet someone was able to discover that if you painstakingly remove each hair from the fruit, it is edible.

Image credits: __hey__its__me__

#3 Oysters


Someone looked at that snotty looking thing from a shell and thought "yeah I'm gonna put that in my mouth"

Image credits: youdontknowme6

#4 Hákarl


Usually poisonous, unless prepared thus:

"The traditional method is by gutting and beheading a Greenland or sleeper shark and placing it in a shallow hole dug in gravelly sand, with the now cleaned cavity resting on a small mound of sand. The shark is then covered with sand and gravel, and stones are placed on top of the sand in order to press the shark. In this way the fluids are pressed out of the body. The shark ferments in this fashion for 6–12 weeks depending on the season. Following this curing period, the shark is then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. During this drying period a brown crust will develop, which is removed prior to cutting the shark into small pieces and serving."

Image credits: msvivica

#5 Puffer Fish

Puffer fish; only a small part of the fish is edible and the rest is deadly poisonous, so how did they find out which bit was edible.

Image credits: Michael_Stone_UDA

#6 Mushrooms

Some mushrooms that require special preparation. Eat it raw or cook it like most other shrooms and you end up dead. Boil it 3-5 times however, and it’s fine.

Edit: An example of a mushroom requiring this procedure is Gyromitra esculenta.

Image credits: anon

#7 Cassava

The cassava...

"However, cassava is poisonous unless it is peeled and thoroughly cooked. If it is eaten raw or prepared incorrectly, one of its chemical constituents will be attacked by digestive enzymes and give off the deadly poison cyanide. As little as two cassava roots can contain a fatal dose."

Image credits: nuovi

#8 Bread

Bread! Like how did someone put all the ingredients together to make the bread!! I think about it all the time.

Image credits: delpheroid

#9 Chili Peppers

Chili peppers.

Like imagine finding this pepper, taking a bite, and then feeling your entire mouth feel like it is on fire. Then you decide it's actually really good though and start including it into dishes to add spice.

Image credits: -eDgAR-

#10 Lobster

Lobsters. “Well this looks horrifying, i think I’ll taste it. “

Image credits: aquoad

#11 Castoreum

Castoreum. A sweet-tasting exudation that comes from glands near a beaver's a*****e. "Damn this beaver a*s smells great, wonder what it tastes like?"

Image credits: BCProgramming

#12 Poke Salad

Poke Salad

The Pokeberry/Pokeweed plant that grows in the southern US has edible leaves. Sort of.

If you eat them raw they contain a nerotoxin that will make you extremely sick or more likely kill you. If you cook them the toxin will still kill you. If you boil them, the toxin will still kill you.

So basically someone died after eating this stuff and their friends went "Well maybe if we boil it one more time" died and someone else went "Third times the charm?"

However, if you boil them, discard the water, boil again, discard the water, then boil one last time and discard the water again the left over cooked plant is sort of edible.

Image credits: Kulladar

#13 Nopales

Nopales, a kind of cactus, and it's fruit have been a staple in Mexico for millennia. I've always wondered what went through our ancestors' heads. "That plant and it's fruit is covered in thorns...I bet they're delicious".

Image credits: ThePeasantKingM

#14 Lye Fish/Lutefisk

Lye fish. Or "Lutefisk"... Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff but man..

First you go get a fish. Then you let it hang on a stick for months to dry out. Then you put it in water for a couple days. Then you put it in water with lye for another couple days. Then you put it in pure water again and then you cook it and eat it.

Image credits: anon

#15 Acorns

Acorns. How hungry one must be to figure out to pound them to powder and leach out the tannins. Three times!

Image credits: Mobiusteph

#16 Snails

Snails. Our ancestors must have been friggin' starving!

Image credits: anon

#17 Sea Urchin

Sea urchin

Image credits: Miryaa

#18 Durian

Durian! It's super spiky, it seems like it'd be tough to open (though I'm not 100% sure) and apparently it smells rank.

Image credits: yirao

#19 Maple Syrup

Maple syrup. "Let's poke a hole in this here tree, collect the sap, boil it for three days and see what happens"

Image credits: lovelyb1ch66

#20 Artichoke


Hmm, that purple thistle looks good...

Image credits: Sidmesh

#21 Blue Cheese

chayne108 said:

Blue cheese.

Your-Evil-Twin replied:

Yes! This! Like who looked at a piece of mouldy cheese and was like ‘this is some seriously gourmet s**t!’

Image credits: chayne108

#22 Honey

Honey. When something is guarded by swarms of easily pissed off insects with poisoned a*s darts, you would think that would be enough of a deterrent that nobody would f**k with it.

Image credits: coconut-greek-yogurt

#23 Cranberries

cranberries. If I had tasted a cranberry without any knowledge of the berry, I would be certain it was poison.

Image credits: ctophermh89

#24 Noodles

Noodles. Like who thought of swinging the dough to make em stringy.

Image credits: buzzbuzzwakeup

#25 Rice

Rice, who looked at a piece of thicc grass and thought: "yeah, I'll dry it out, bash it about then polish it and boil it just before it turns into a sloppy mess"

Image credits: snortypuff

#26 Yogurt And Cheese

Yogurt and cheese. It's like first of all they start drinking cow juice from cow titties. Then they save some for later. It goes off. Voila cheese

Image credits: Ncscam

#27 Heart Of Palm

Heart of palm

"Ugh, i'm bored... I'm gonna eat this tree now"

Image credits: Cracked_Emerald

#28 Truffles

anon said:


ElectricErik replied:

If the pigs are eating it, it must be f*****g delicious

Image credits: anon

#29 Caviar

Caviar, I imagine them say yum fish eggs and eating them, and then selling the to rich people.

Image credits: jack28415

#30 Guinness/Coke/Or Any Black Drink

Not even 'ancestors' - how did drinks like guinness or coke become a thing?

"Bro try this" "uh, no. That drink is black." "Yeah good call"

Vegemite is the same principle but in that case it was *literally* created as a prank from brewery waste products but then the prankee went "it's not bad tho".

Actually, I think I just answered the question. They did it on accident or were tricked/goaded into trying it, they did, and when it didn't kill them the consumable caught on.

Image credits: Zeruvi

#31 Ackee

Ackee. It's a fruit, and most of it is poisonous, though part of it is edible. In Africa, where it's most common (as far as I know) it's generally not eaten, but in Jamaica it is. It's eaten a lot. Our **national dish** is ackee and saltfish, and our national fruit is ackee.

Image credits: xero-theory

#32 Chocolate


Image credits: Skitzcordova

#33 Onions

Onions: "hmm, wonder if I can eat this bulb... OH MY GOD MY EYES! WHAT'S THAT SMELLL???"

Image credits: dogsolitude_uk

#34 Fugu

Fugu; like how did they find out that only a specific part of a blowfish wasn’t poisonous when correctly cut?

Image credits: SuccessfulFailure9

#35 Olives

Olives seem like they could be poisonous IMO. Don’t @ me

Image credits: _thatsmeinthecorner_