As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, China’s agriculture industry has undergone significant modernization in order to keep up with demand. In order to keep crop growth sustainable and prevent reliance on foreign imports, China has become one of the world’s leading exporters of staple crops like rice, wheat, corn, and soybeans.
Here are some popular 8 crops grown in China that you may not have realized were grown right here in China.
The List of Crops Grown in China
- Zhu Rong (or Lotus Seed)
- Bao Sheng Shi (Bamboo Shoots)
- Fo Shou (Sichuan pepper flower)
- Gan Sui Zi
- Mu Dan Pi (Nutmeg)
- Ceonothus roots
- Chinese Thoroughwort Root
- Ma Chi Xian (Tea Leaf Pith)
Zhu Rong, also known as Lotus Seed, is not just one of the crops grown in China, It is a type of fruit cultivated primarily for its delicious and nutritious seeds. The plant’s roots can reach depths of more than 4 meters, which makes it more drought resistant than most other crops.
It is also extremely cold and hardy and can withstand temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit). Zhu Rong is available year-round, but peaks during the winter months (November to April). It is typically served as a snack food with salt or sugar added.
If eaten raw, the taste is reminiscent of sunflower seeds. If boiled with soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic for about 10 minutes, it becomes savory and tastes similar to peanuts. You can roast them as well!
There are over 200 different types of bamboo shoots found in China, and Bao Sheng Shi (Bamboo Shoots) is one of the most common. It is harvested when it’s a year old and cut into long, thin slices.
They are then boiled or steamed until they turn to a light brown color before being served with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and other spices.
If you enjoy this dish, consider trying some of the other varieties like Zhuang Zhuang Si Zi Ji Ren Shi which are thicker and can be peeled. Jie Fen Yu Ren Si Zi Ji Ren Shi is also an option that has a more unique taste because of its smoky flavor that comes from roasting instead of boiling.
3. Fo Shou (Sichuan pepper flower)
The flower buds are harvested when they are just turning red. They are then dried until they turn black. Fo Shou is often used to flavor Sichuan dishes and in certain areas of China, the flowers are brewed into tea. You might not see this crop while on a typical tour of Beijing or Shanghai, but it’s definitely worth seeking out if you’re traveling to a smaller town or region of China.
Shou Pu’er Tea: Shou Pu’er is a dark tea that is fermented and then aged. Its flavor can be described as earthy, savory, and woodsy. Like many other traditional Chinese foods, it’s believed to have medicinal properties. While not technically a crop, Shou Pu’er is an ingredient worth knowing about if you’re traveling through Yunnan Province.
Gan Sui Zi, also known as Reishi Mushroom or Ganoderma Lucidum Fruiting Body, is a type of fungus that typically thrives on wood and soil at low altitudes.
With its long history of use and a plethora of studies showing its ability to enhance immune function, protect against cancer, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and boost heart health, Reishi Mushroom has been labeled an herb with almost limitless potential. (Source) Reishi Mushroom is one of those age-old medicinal herbs that Western medicine has only recently begun to understand.
Nutmeg is a spice that is found in many Chinese dishes. It’s used to add a hint of sweetness and make dishes smell more appetizing. Nutmeg is derived from the nutmeg seed, which grows on a tropical evergreen tree.
The nutmeg seed is harvested when they reach maturity after 2-3 years. Once harvested, the seeds need to be dried for 4-5 weeks before they can be ground into powder form.
There are two types of nutmeg. White and brown. While white is more common, brown has a stronger aroma and flavor. The difference in color comes from how the nuts are handled during processing. White is processed with water, while brown needs to be dried slowly without heat over time so it doesn’t turn dark.
Nutmeg originated from Southeast Asia or South India, but today it’s grown primarily in Indonesia’s Banda Islands and Sri Lanka. These countries control about 90% of the world’s production because their climates allow them to grow nutmeg all year round.
While ceanothus roots aren’t currently cultivated on a large scale outside of Asia, there is hope for it to become more accessible as the population grows and people become more environmentally conscious.
Traditionally, there are two major species of ceonothus used for medicinal purposes: ceanothus americanus and ceonothus griseus. These herbs have been shown to be helpful for a variety of conditions from minor stomach problems to joint pain, according to Healing With Chinese Herbs.
The Chinese thoroughwort root is a plant that is used as an herbal remedy for colds, coughs, and other respiratory conditions. It is also reported to have antiseptic properties that can be used to treat wounds.
It grows well in moist environments and has been used as traditional medicine by the residents of the Yunnan province of China for generations.
It is still used by Chinese herbalists today to treat a variety of conditions, including colds, coughs, and other respiratory issues. It is also said to promote wound healing, stimulate circulation, provide relief from pain and relieve symptoms of allergies.
Some people use it for weight loss and blood sugar control due to its diuretic effects. In some cases, it’s even been touted as a cure-all treatment for HIV/AIDS with no evidence whatsoever to support such claims, so buyer beware!
8. Ma Chi Xian (Tea Leaf Pith)
This is one of the crops grown in China. Ma Chi Xian, also known as tea leaf pith, is a popular and traditional Chinese herb with a long history of use. The plant is native to areas of Eastern Asia including Japan and Taiwan. The leaves are harvested during the winter months and can be eaten fresh or dried for later consumption. Ma Chi Xian has been used traditionally as a digestion aid, an anti-inflammatory agent, and a natural diuretic to help relieve urinary tract infections.
Due to its diuretic properties, tea leaf pith is often taken as a dietary supplement to promote healthy weight loss and even treat symptoms of acute or chronic illnesses such as diabetes. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, especially among older generations who seek a natural way to manage their diabetes.
Tea leaf pith is also known to improve joint pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness by increasing uric acid production while reducing fluid retention and toxin buildup. Many people swear by it as a natural treatment for osteoporosis and arthritis, too.
Like many other herbs in Chinese cuisine, there is not much evidence to support these claims. However, tea leaf pith has proven useful as an inexpensive substitute for high-priced herbs like ginseng or ephedra due to its ability to increase energy levels when consumed at lower doses.
In conclusion, there are many unique foods and crops grown in China. They have been cultivated for thousands of years and have since spread to other parts of the world. For example, potatoes originated from Peru and tomatoes from South America.
However, a lot of people don’t know this! These foods are still part of daily Chinese culture and offer different flavors than their counterparts around the world. Please leave your suggestions about these crops grown in China.