Summer is a wonderfully delicious time to indulge in fresh vegetables. But how about taking some time this summer to taste some more unusual vegetables and see if you want to add them to your garden or at least your menus.
Here are our picks for five to try before summer ends:
- Kohlrabi. This odd looking vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and looks similar to a turnip. You can eat both the bulb portion and the greens. It’s a colorful vegetable that can be white, purple or green. You can eat kohlrabi raw in salads, some say it tastes similar to broccoli stems, or cook it like a turnip. Cooked kohlrabi is supposed to have a mild, nut, cabbage-like flavor.
- Okra. If you live or are from the South, then you’ve probably eaten okra or at least tasted it. If you never tasted okra you should give this vegetable a try. Okra is a member of the Mallow family, related to cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. It is the seedpods that are eaten and have a flavor that is a cross between an asparagus and eggplant. The pods, when cut, exude a sticky juice that is used to thicken stews and gumbos. Okra can be eaten raw, is excellent sautéed or fried. Very young, tender okra can be sliced, dipped in egg, breaded with corn meal and fried.
- Vidalia onion. If you like onions, you have to try a Vidalia. This type of onion is known for its sweet, mild flavor, and by law, can only be a Vidalia if it is grown in a specific production area in Georgia. You can eat these onions as you would other varieties, but since they are so sweet you can also grill them whole with a little olive oil or butter and eat them that way. They are a seasonal treat you should try.
- Zephyr Squash. Summer and fall are great months for eating squash. This season check out this unusual looking squash, which is both yellow and pale green. Faint white stripes run the length of this squash. It’s best to pick and cook this squash when it’s about 4 to 6 inches long. This squash is delicious both raw and cooked. It has a nutty flavor to it.
- Fennel. We’re not talking fennel seeds here which are used in a variety of recipes, but rather the vegetable Fennel that contains a pale green/white bulb on the bottom with stalks that resemble celery growing out of it. You can eat all of it, the bulk, leaves and stalks. Many say fennel tastes a bit like black licorice. Fennel is most often used in Mediterranean or Italian cooking, but you can also eat it raw. It’s very crunchy and slightly sweet.
What would you add to this list? What’s your favorite unusual vegetable that we should try.