Brewing Beer

This time we get into a brief overview of beer brewing from grain, including a bit about malting, mashing, boiling, and fermenting, along with the critical role of groundwater pH in driving the invention of the major beer styles.


Wheat was one of the first crops to be domesticated and is one of the most important food crops for humans today. Let’s talk a little bit about where modern wheat came from and how it’s changed from its wild ancestors.


Maize (or corn) is one of the most productive crop plants, having been domesticated from a humble, branching grass in southern Mexico with just a few seeds per branch into a powerhouse of productivity. Hear more about where maize comes from, where it’s used, and how it does what it does in this episode.


The vast majority of human calories comes from seeds. In this episode we hear about the 3 main parts of every seed and where those calories come from.


Apples were probably the first tree crop to be domesticated, with evidence suggesting this happened over 8000 years ago in modern-day Kazakhstan. In this episode we also learn about self-incompatibility and grafting, two ideas that allow us to grow the kinds of apples we love to eat.


Chocolate is delicious, with over 600 volatile flavor compounds and a smooth, creamy feel in the mouth that melts exactly at body temperature. Let’s talk a little bit about where chocolate comes from and what makes it so special.


If there’s a single plant product that I could not live without, it might be coffee. Let’s take a quick look at where this magical drink comes from and some of the factors that make it what it is.

Fruit Types

The wide variety of fruits we eat all develop from certain parts of the parent plant. While many fruits develop from the ovary wall, some of the most common fruits we eat do not! Listen here to find out more about the types of fruits and where they come from on the plant.

Introduction to Fruits

The only organ of the plant that is adapted for animals to eat it is the fruit. In this episode we explore how fruits develop from a flower part, and how this development is coordinated by the plant along with the developing seed inside. We also explore the changes that occur as fruits ripen, and how those changes are regulated to maximize attraction to animals.

The humble potato

Potatoes are a major food crop, only topped by rice, wheat, and maize in terms of total global production, and are the most efficient in terms of total energy converted to calories of all crops. Let’s take a closer look at some details of the potato, including when and where it was domesticated and how it defends itself from animals.