Unusual Vegetables To Grow And Eat: USDA recommends consuming 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. It might seem like a lot, especially if your vegetarian repertoire is made up of carrots and celery only. The thing is, there are tons of unusual types of vegetables out there that could spark your interest and get you excited not only to ingest them, but to grow these vegetables.
Unusual types of vegetables to grow
What are some unusual vegetables to grow? Well, I suppose some of them depend on a person’s definition of “unusual”, but here are my top 10 choices for the strange growing of vegetables:
- Yardlong beans – Green beans are a staple of the American diet, but what about Chinese yards? To many of us these almost 2-foot-long beans look like otherworldly. Collect them when they are about a foot long and cook them just like you would with a normal green bean. They are fun enough to use even on a plate of crudités (assorted vegetables).
- Winter radishes – Speaking of crudités, radishes are featured on many vegetarian dishes, but level up and try growing some winter radishes. Winter radishes include the giant white daikon myths, black radish varieties and even a watermelon radish.
- Fiddleheads – I’m sure you’ve seen this strange horticulture in the woods. Violinists not only have a great name, but they seem intriguing as the name suggests. Violin heads are the curled fronds of young ferns such as ostrich fern or vegetable fern. They must be cooked before eating and taste a lot like asparagus.
- Kohlrabi – Kohlrabi is an old-fashioned vegetable that my grandmother grew up on. The edible part of the plant looks like a bulb but in reality it is the swollen stem. We ate it sliced raw with salt, but a more modern touch is to cut it lengthwise into long, thin rectangles and then cook it for a healthy substitute for french fries.
- salsify – Salsify is a really strange vegetable to grow. First off, it looks like you’re growing a stick. It may not be attractive, but it is very versatile and tastes very similar to an oyster when cooked!
- Celeriac – Another unusual and ugly vegetable to grow is celeriac, which is rare here but widely used in Europe. Celeriac is an extraordinary substitute for potatoes and can be cooked in the same way but lacks the high starch content of tubers.
- sunchoke – Sunchokes are another versatile vegetable that tastes a bit like an artichoke. They can be cooked or eaten raw, but you have to be careful when you eat them, as they are known to cause bloating and gas, hence their nickname “fartichoke”. Grow this just to make kids laugh!
- lotus root – Lotus root has the strangest look you can get. It is grown for the root, which is then cooked in several ways, most commonly fried.
- Kai lan – To accompany the stir-fried lotus root, try growing Kai lan, also known as Chinese cabbage or Chinese broccoli. Like lotus root, Kai lan can be cooked in a myriad of ways and can also be eaten raw.
- Kerala – Kerala, also known as bitter melon, is extremely popular in India, where the whole plant is consumed. As the name suggests, this vegetable is, in fact, bitter with a cucumber-like consistency and is usually pickled or stuffed when eaten.
These unusual vegetables to grow only touch the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other strange and wonderful vegetables out there to try. Soon you will find consuming 10 servings a day to be child’s play.