Pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, ham - the toppings for pizza are endless, and sometimes hard to agree on! But one thing we can all agree on? Pizza is delicious! But where does pizza come from? Let's see how pizza is made from farm to plate!
1. Wheat for the Crust
Pizza crust is made from wheat. Farmers plant tiny wheat kernels, or seeds, in the ground using a drill. Wheat looks like fresh new grass when it comes out of the soil. It grows to about 24 inches high. The farmer harvests the wheat and hauls it in trucks or wagons to the grain elevator. From there, it is sold to food companies. There are a lot of steps to make wheat into flour for pizza dough. After the wheat is shipped to a mill, it is cleaned to remove weeds, stems, and other plant material. Then rollers press the kernels to break them into pieces. Finally, the small wheat pieces are shaken onto screens to sift out the bran and germ not used in wheat flour.
2. Tomatoes for the Sauce
Pizza sauce is made from tomatoes. Tomato plants take 75 to 85 days to produce ripe fruit. The seeds are usually started indoors. Then, after the seedlings are four to six weeks old, they are moved outdoors. Placed in gardens or greenhouses, the plants are supported with stakes to keep them from falling to the wet ground. When the tomatoes are ripe, they are carefully packed into boxes and sent to grocery stores. Some tomatoes are sent to canneries where they are processed for sauces or ketchup.
Cheese is made from milk. Cheese on pizza often comes from dairy cows, but goats and other mammals also produce milk. Mozzarella is a popular cheese used on pizza! The top cheese producing states are Wisconsin, California, Idaho and New York.
Pepperoni is America’s favorite pizza topping! Pepperoni and sausage meats are made from hogs. The top three hog producing states are Iowa, North Carolina and Minnesota. The animals are fed a special blend of ground corn, soybeans, vitamins, and minerals. The meat from hogs is called pork. It is ground up and special seasonings are added to make sausage, salami, hot dogs, bacon, and pepperoni.
Basil is an herb commonly used in pizza sauce, or sometimes as a pizza topping. Basil grows best in warmer weather and comes in different varieties. The most popular basil is sweet basil.