40+ Examples Of What Can Happen When Things Are Left To The Elements

By Giovanni DS

Modern life is always in a constant state of moving from one place or activity to another. Meaning, we often don’t take the time to stop and look around us. Slowing down and enjoying some unseen or neglected elements of daily life would make us all more appreciative of our amazing world. That said, some people take the just stopping sentiment too seriously, often leaving things undone for longer than they should. But that is not a bad thing, because that if no one ever forgot about their pasta or bag of potatoes, we wouldn’t see some of the fascinating things that can happen when things are left alone at mother nature’s mercy. Confused? Don’t worry, keep reading to see what we are talking about!

Leaving an Artichoke to Flower

Artichokes are a vegetable that people either really enjoy or cannot stand. Some can’t see what’s so special about them. And while they are certainly interesting looking when you buy them, they are hiding so much more behind those petals.

Source: Reddit by dopey_se

Yes, petals. Artichokes are a species of thistle, which is a kind of flower. A revelation that this user found out after he and his partner left an artichoke outside while on holiday, returning to find that it had started to flower!

Not a Great Idea to Leave Mushrooms Out too Long

Despite their peculiar shapes, sizes, or colors, mushrooms are (usually) a tasty addition to any meal and have been so for hundreds of years. Just always check and look out for the poisonous ones if you’re out picking your own!

Source: Reddit by jordana17

Being so scrumptious, you can’t blame some people wanting to grow their own with mushroom growing spore kits. If you do, please read the instructions and plant them ASAP. That is, unless you want your new mushrooms busting out of the box.

Avocados and The Sun Don’t Always Mix

Often used as the butt of many “basic millennial” jokes, avocados really are an amazing fruit (YES, a fruit!) and don’t deserve all that hate. Not to mention, they are packed with important vitamins and fats and can be used in many ways.

Source: Reddit by squishysplits

We want to point out that avocados are notorious for not being the biggest fans of direct sunlight. Even their pits can agree to that, as seen in this image which looks like the pit has actually been dipped in molten lava!

Why You Shouldn’t Burn Your Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is an addictive and tasty condiment and overall flavor enhancer popularly used in most East Asian countries. It has been used in China for over 2,000 years! The sauce is normally made by fermenting soybeans and wheat and extracting the liquid.

Source: Reddit by Ze_angry_chihuahua

Yes, it does sound a little odd, but you cannot deny that it tastes amazing! While it is great to cook with and add some zest to your meal, try not to burn it. Crystallized soy is a nightmare to clean!

Let it Freeze

Depending on where you live, winter can be a snowy and magical time of year or a wet and unbearably cold one. Not to mention those horrid iced-over streets that want nothing more than to make you slip and fall.

Source: Reddit by Animaloona

Speaking of iced-over, water tends to freeze, as you would guess. Sometimes it causes beautiful sculptures, such as this water fountain that created some cool ice art because someone forgot to turn it off before a cold front hit the area.

Nature Always Finds a Way

Being out in nature is extremely therapeutic and is one of the best forms of self-care. That’s what makes taking up gardening as a hobby a really good idea. It will allow you to grow your own flowers and learn some interesting things.

Source: Reddit by grapecough

What do we mean by interesting? We are talking about the above picture. This is what happens when you buy a packet of grass seedlings and leave it hanging around for a couple of months. Nature always finds a way!

Moldy Pasta

There is nothing worse than opening your fridge, moving some things around, and finding you forgot about some “food” for who knows how long. All you know for sure is that it is no longer food and is definitely not edible.

Source: Reddit by yanbochen

This unfortunate occurrence happened to the poster, who, for whatever reason (we don’t judge), forgot a bowl of pasta and mushrooms in the microwave for over a week! That furry mass is pure mold. But at least they were cooking fresh meals, which is why they didn’t use the microwave, right?

Attack of The Potato Spores

So far, it seems that many people have a habit of forgetting organic things or leaving them lying around. This packet of microwave potatoes sprouted some pretty impressive roots because it was left all on its own with no supervision.

Source Reddit by MapleButterBear

The owner of this now growing (and potentially sentient) packet of mushy potatoes forgot them in their dorm room, only to rediscover them after coming back from winter break. Wouldn’t blame them if they got a fright seeing it for the first time!

A Solar Powered Redesign

The sun is really pretty intense if you think about it. Not only can it cause wicked sunburns, but it can also wreak havoc on plants and vegetation. So, it should be no surprise that it is capable of doing more.

Source: Reddit by AlexArkham

We see a tub of mixed chocolates that the poster used to store clothespins. The sun managed to bleach almost all the colors away, except for the black and blue parts. The sun left them an artful and winter-themed design.

A Bowl of Not So Nice Beet Juice

Ok, we all get a little absent-minded one time or another, and sometimes that causes us to do some silly things. But it also makes us learn something we would never have known. Like, what happens when you leave beet juice out?

Source: Reddit by ThePhantomDullbooth

Well, wonder not, for this user did just that. Not intentionally, of course. They forgot a bowl of beet broth outside for some hours, during which time the top layer started to ripple! It is definitely unappetizing looking, but is it edible?

Giant Beets by Dr. Chick

We know nature is capable of doing truly wonderful and bizarre things. And some of these things will make you question whether they are even possible or real! Well, this next image of giant beets completely captures that sense of wonder we often feel.

Source: Reddit by AluminumFoilHats

No, those are real beets, but yes, that is a normal-sized rooster, which the owner humorously used for scale. Unfortunately, while massive, those beets will not taste very good due to increased levels of oxalic acid (which causes a sour taste).

Plastic Bends

By now, you should be very familiar with just how powerful the sun is. Most people would agree that it is not advisable to leave things in an unshaded car, especially in the summer; it’s basically an oven if you think about it.

Source: Reddit by net-force

Well, the poster of the next image learned that the hard way, after they discovered what the heat did to their plastic utensils. It completely bent and warped them! At least they have a funny story to tell their friends.

Attack of The Mumm…Banana

We’ve all left things in the back of the pantry, but some people end up with fascinating science experiments in theirs, such as this mummified and fossilized banana that someone’s father found in his coat pocket. How long do you think this process took?

Source: Reddit by The_GreatWhiteNorth

They think it might have been decaying in that pocket for over 20 years! But you never known; maybe the father always dreamed about becoming an archaeologist and unearthing a fossilized discovery of their own one day. We hope so, at least!

A Poor and Melted Chocolate Bunny

Chocolate is one of those universally loved treats that has captured the tastes of millions of people all over the world. However, while it’s always great to have some melted chocolate around for your baking adventures, the rule has some exceptions.

Source: Reddit by SuperFishy

One exception is when you buy and forget a chocolate bunny in the car (again!), which proceeds to melt and look like some ghastly mutant monster. No telling how it would taste, but hey, chocolate is chocolate, if you ask us.

Grow Pumpkins Right in Your Kitchen

If there is one hard truth of nature that everyone can agree to, it is that it will always find a way to flourish, no matter the challenge. A fine example is this picture of a green shoot reaching out of a kitchen sink.

Source: Reddit by SeeYouNextWed

This little sprout belongs to some pumpkin seeds that the poster dropped down the drain weeks ago as they were carving a pumpkin for Halloween. Thankfully for our buddy here, no one in the household turned on the garbage disposal!

Tomatocide or Tomato Flavored Road?

We all make mistakes here and there; it’s not only part of learning but also of being human. All we can hope for is that our bosses or teachers are the forgiving kind if you messed up as bad as this guy.

Source: Reddit by Deleted User

What you are seeing is what happens when hundreds of fresh and ripe tomatoes fall out of a moving truck and proceed to get driven over by every driver. The driver forgot to lock the door properly, and thus, a tomato massacre resulted.

The Potato From the Deep

To say the least, people and potatoes seem to have a rather odd relationship. We love to eat them in dozens of different forms and ways, but we also seem to love forgetting about them, only to find them months later in a new mutant form.

Source: Instagram by the_garden_of_

Upon discovery, they tend to look like this creepy and spiky-looking mutation that could easily be confused for a sea urchin. It must have been a real shocking discovery when this user found it slumbering within their pantry. We wonder if it had gained consciousness yet.

Broccoli Stalks That Are True to Their Name

Many people aren’t the biggest fans of broccoli, often finding it ok tasting or just plain gross. But this seemingly unassuming vegetable has a fascinating story of its own, one that started over 2,000 years ago in the Mediterranean.

Source: Reddit by crieseverytime

The name “broccoli” comes from the Italian singular broccolo, which translates as the flowers of a cabbage. An appropriate and fitting name when you see the above image shows two stalks of broccoli beginning to sprout and flower. They’re such delicate and pretty flowers too!

10-Year-Old Cooking Oil

There is no sugar-coating or two ways about it: some of us are lazy. But some people manage to elevate laziness to a piece of art. A horrid, unsightly, unpleasant, and possibly foul-smelling art form, but an art form nonetheless.

Source: Reddit by jammerz82

Such as this next… um… worrying image of a container of used cooking oil that had been forgotten for ten years! Being undisturbed for so long allowed the oil to coagulate, becoming both gelatinous, sticky, and no doubt stinky. Yuck!

The Potato Strikes Back!

You know, sometimes plants, flowers, fruits or vegetables can really be very weird looking, some of them a bit monster or alien-like if the right conditions are met. Like this next monstrosity that makes us wonder if it’s an alien or not.

Source: Instagram by Dowlesnest

One unfortunate soul forgot a tub of sweet potatoes in the back of their cupboard (surprise, surprise), for who knows how long, allowing it to come alive and unleash its growing tentacle-like arms! Fine, we’re exaggerating a bit. It’s still creepy!

Hungry, Hungry Trees

Trees really are impressive organisms. Not only do they help with producing the air we need to breathe and live, but they are also hardy and determined to make their environment work for them, branching out where they need to.

Source: Reddit by Dspot16

If you’ve been to cities with lots of old architecture and pavements, then you have most likely seen those uneven pavements and stonework that tree roots have lifted. Even more impressive is this tree that grew around a pair of discarded skates!

Foam Football vs Nature

Speaking of trees that grow around, through, or over whatever they want, they are not the only agent of nature that is super resilient. Another prime example is this old foam football (the USA kind) someone uncovered in their garden.

Source: Reddit by remixurlife

The foam football was not only completely covered in dirt, but it also became a home for various weeds that grew through it. Amazing to see! Our only question is, how long was this toy left forgotten in the yard?

When Your Energy Drink Has Too Much Energy

There is nothing better than drinking a nice ice-cold drink after a long hot day. The only problem is when you forget you put said drink in the fridge or freezer to get it adequately cold. This can lead to some explosive consequences.

Source: Reddit by Anxiety-Aficionado

Some people, like this chap, end up forgetting about their energy drink in the freezer for longer than they should have. Even though the drink was advertised as being better when frozen, it still burst its way through the tin.

Mmmm, Molten Caramel!

We have another similar but opposite case for you related to forgetting things. What does this look like to you? This absent-minded chief was busy cooking some caramel but ended up doing other things and completely forgot about it simmering away on the stove.

Source: Reddit by Skiddle1138

The result? A smoldering lump of molten and charred sugar that looks like he just scooped up some fresh lava. It is a wonder that the pot managed to contain this fiery mass. Hopefully, his boss was not too mad.

Mayday, Ship Overboard!

While the sea might be a beautiful and boundless place just brimming with life, it can also be a wild and unforgiving space for those with an absent mind. A fact that these poor sailors found out the hard way.

Source: Reddit by Deleted user

This is what happens when you forget to put your ship’s drain plugs back in. The plugs are there to help drain any water that seeps into the ship while at sea. But you have to remember to plug them back in!

Some Seriously Moldy Cheese

Ok, what we are about to say is sure to disgust a lot of you. Cheese is basically made from fermented milk or dairy, which might sound gross, but that bacteria is actually super good for your gut health, we hear.

Source: Reddit by vgonz9

So, some small amounts of mold and ferment are good for you. But then you get cases like this monstrosity that was once a box of cream cheese that someone forgot for who knows how long. This one can go straight to the can!

An Icy Technical Malfunction

Modern technology is both a blessing and a curse. It can make so many things in our lives easier, but other times, it makes them more difficult. And sometimes, it’s our own fault when something goes wrong, as in this next image.

Source: Reddit by thehemperorr

No, the owner didn’t stuff their freezer with ice. Fridges like this one use optical scanners to tell when the ice tray is empty. The only issue is that they forgot to put the tray back, so the fridge just kept making more ice!

Why is it always potatoes?

At this point, we really aren’t all that surprised to be reading more stories of people forgetting they had a bag of potatoes somewhere. How do people even manage to forget about them so often and for so long? We’re busy frying all of ours.

Source: Reddit by NachoLibreNick

That said, this person also discovered a pretty impressive bag of neglected potatoes that seems to be turning into some kind of potato tree. But as with all the other sad spuds, it’s best to get rid of them straight away.

Chocolate Bar Flavoured Dust Anyone?

We have seen what happens when you accidentally leave some good chocolate in the sun, turning that one firm delicious block into a borderline paste or malted sculpture. So, what does it look like when the chocolate is exposed to arid air?

Source: Reddit by godofthetechs

Well, you end up getting something like this, a pocket of crumbly chocolate-flavored dust that was once a Hershey’s chocolate bar. “Chocolate bloom” is the name for this phenomenon, where moisture particles dissolve and unbind the sugary surface of the chocolate.

Perhaps Some People Should Bake

Ever have that feeling where you look at or see something just really bizarre and think to yourself, “how did that happen?” Or, “what were they thinking?” If you don’t know what we are talking about, then take a look at this.

Source: Reddit by ihavesoreballs.

Yes, you are seeing a whole spoon embedded into a piece of cake, and no, we have no idea who they managed to do that. Our only guess is that they were too busy to realize they dropped the spoon into the batter.

Mr. Potato Moustache

We really wonder about some people, like this person who found (you guessed it) another sprouting potato laying behind their washer. At least this one was must have caused a couple of laughs thanks to its glorious mustache. Sam Elliott would be proud.

Source: Reddit by Drickss

No telling how the potato’s roots decided to grow like this, but we sure are glad they did. This should be a lesson to all to really keep an eye on your produce. Get it? Like potato eyes? We’ll show ourselves out.

Nature’s Gloves

As we know, most things will not live or be around forever. Everything will, at some point or another, decompose, decay, and return to nature as nature would have it. This next image perfectly captures this idea and leaves us feeling philosophical.

Source: Reddit by J_chevy88

This pair of discarded gloves had long since been dropped and forgotten about. So long, in fact, that nature actually slowly and gradually reclaimed them and the rug they were lying on. It is truly amazing what moss and other fungi can use at their cradle.

Potato Octopus

Ok, you have to be kidding at this point! What is with people forgetting they have a bag of potatoes lying around? Are they too hard to cook? Or is it simply that people buy too many at once and aren’t as potato-obsessed as we are?

Source: Twitter by Snakewhite

Well, whatever the reason, this Francophone was going through the cupboard only to get the fright of her life as this octopus-like lump of potatoes fell out onto the floor. The sheer length of the roots makes you wonder how long it was there.

Why it’s a Bad Idea to Press Sunflowers in Books

Ok, this one is really a head-scratcher and has seemed to confuse a good deal of people on the internet. First things first, the poster tried to dry press a lovely sunflower into one of their cooking books. It did not go as planned.

Source: Reddit by bowb4zod

Only it didn’t work. What looks like burn marks and ash is actually mold that started to eat the paper. Unlike some other flowers, Sunflowers are high in moisture and oil, meaning the cramped and dark book was perfect for growing a new lifeform.

Cactus Flower

Cacti are some pretty amazing and hardy plants; they have to be in order to survive in those hot and dry climates that they flourish in. But just because they have prickly and spiky outside doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of bringing joy.

Source: Reddit by Meike_T

Take this beautiful cactus as an example. It one day decided to surprise its caretaker by sprouting a single vibrant bloom. Sadly, most cacti blooms don’t last that long, living no more than a handful of days. So, treasure them while you can!

A Lettuce Tree for Christmas?

Lettuce is a strong staple and favored component of many salads, offering you some crispy green goodness to crunch down on along with your olives and tomatoes. Normally when we think of lettuce, we picture a round head of leaves.

Source: Reddit by Pscel

We don’t often see tall lettuce trees. Apparently, if you don’t regularly trim or harvest your lettuce, it will just keep growing upwards like a bush of flowers. They are quite pretty looking; who’s to say you can’t use them as decorations?

Explosive Condensed Milk

Ok, this next one is a wild story. The story goes that the poster of this crazy event had a tin of condensed milk lying around that he didn’t know what to do with. So, he decided to make some caramel with it.

Source: imgur by exploringthesky

Normal enough, right? Well, no. The recipe that he read said he just needed to boil the tin, which he did, but then decided to take a nap. The result? The tin exploded with so much force that it shot into the ceiling.

Crocs Can Shrink

Crocs, one of the supposedly most comfortable shoes and definitely one of the least attractive. Whatever your opinion, there is no arguing just how popular they are. Unfortunately, their style is not their only weakness; apparently, they can shrink!

Source: Reddit by Emm_Deee

Yep, Crocs can shrink, as this user discovered after they tried to dye one of their shoes. One was submerged for no longer than 2 minutes, but that was all the time it needed. They are not fans of heat.

The Power of Seaside Rust

There is just something so relaxing and even uplifting about living near or around the seaside. Hearing the sounds of the waves at night, to that hint of salt in the air in the mornings – it simply cannot be beaten.

Source: Reddit by mariobros237

Ok, fine, there are some mild negatives about living near the sea, one of them being rust. The salty air rolling over the ocean is fairly corrosive to anything metal. Check out this doorknob and the contrast between the outside and inside knobs.

Sun Damaged Curtain

At this point, we all should know how powerful and harmful the sun can truly be. But if you still require more proof, then look no further. We present the sun’s bleaching power on this tapestry, which laid outside for a year.

Source: Reddit by shangobango

In just a year, the sun succeeded in bleaching and stripping most of the color out of this no doubt once beautiful decoration. And some people still think it’s fine to go outside during the day without sunblock or a good hat!

Wood can Shrink?

Yep, you read that right. Wood can shrink, and it can expand. It tends to “shrink” during seasons with low humidity due to the lack of moisture. Similarly, seasons with high humidity can cause wood to expand as more moisture is absorbed.

Source: imgur by Xiana01

This new homeowner did not know about this and was really worried once they noticed large gaps appearing between the floorboards. This is also the reason you hear your house creaking now and then as it adjusts to the season.

Wood Not Only Shrinks, But it Also Bleaches

While wooden furniture is certainly beautiful and great to have around the house, it is not without its shortcomings. For one, years of exposure to direct sunlight will, you guessed it, bleach the wood. This isn’t necessarily a reason to go for all carpet.

Source: Reddit by Johnsonm

The owners decided to do some good old cleaning, removing the rug in the process and seeing the effect of the sun. That dark square you see is where the rug used to be. The damage is not terrible, honestly.

Paint Can Dry

While this might not be surprising for everyone, you would be surprised by how many people never actually think about this. Yes, paint can dry (but you don’t have to watch it, as the popular idiom says). But we often forget that paint can dry in its can.

Source: Unsplash by Taelynn Christopher

When not properly sealed and exposed to air for a long period of time, the paint within the pint tin/can will eventually dry and harden. That said, only the top layer will really be affected, leaving the rest to be fine.