Carmen Devito and Alice Marcus Krieg are talking about the Columbian Exchange on this week's episode of We Dig Plants. But don't misconstrue this discussion as a celebration! On the phone is culinary horticulturist and historian Scott D. Appell to talk about the history of some our favorite New World plants. Learn about the origins of corn, and how it developed as a human-bred crop. How did European settlers influence Native American cooking techniques? Learn about the history of other fruits, roots, and vegetables such as pineapple, mango, cassava, and taro. Did you know that at one time, pineapples were more valued than jewels? Also, hear about the hundreds of varieties of potatoes that developed in South America, and how potatoes became popular in France! This episode has been brought to Hearst Ranch.

"Guatemalans and Mexicans had this down for thousands of years. If you balance beans with corn, you'll have balanced proteins and amino acids." [11:40]

"It was the slave trade that was the great impetus to bring food plants to the New World from the tropics. After all, how do you feed millions of people over the centuries... so that they could work and harvest sugarcane?" [21:40]

-- Scott D. Appell on We Dig Plants