Are you bored with general fruits and vegetables lately? Do you want something a little more interesting then the average apple or simple salad?
Welcome to the world of unique fruits and vegetables, which offers you a great variety of hybrids and other fun foods. From a pomegranate to an artichoke to a tangelo there are so many out there that you should try them all. So stop peeling that orange, quit cutting that cucumber and expand your appetite to give your taste buds a real treat.
The pomegranate has its roots in the Middle East and India, and is a fruit whose seeds and pulp are the main attraction which makes it unique from many other fruits. Here’s a little Jewish fact — they supposedly contain 613 seeds which represent the 613 commandments. For those who love tangy and tart, this is the fruit for you.The seeds and pulp can be eaten on their own or baked into a dessert.
My favorite way to have a pomegranate is to have it in a smoothie or a juice. It is loaded with vitamins and has that extra kick that I am usually looking for. The actual fruit along with its juice can be found at most grocery stores and they make a delicious smoothie called Pomegranate Paradise at Jamba Juice.
Moving on to my favorite, the artichoke, a vegetable originating from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. There are so many great ways to eat an artichoke. Try a great appetizer dip and n add artichoke hearts to a salad to add some extra flavor. Many restaurants grill up artichokes and baste them with olive oil or provide you with a dipping sauce.
My favorite way to eat one is to wash it, and then steam it for 25 to 45 minutes. Then I infuse some butter with garlic and melt it together, lightly salt and pepper the artichoke and dig in. The way to eat the petals is to dip the white fleshy side into the butter, place in mouth dip side down while gripping the other end, and pull through the teeth to remove the deliciousness. The heart can also be eaten but you should remove the fuzzy part called the choke and cut it up and dip it too. You can find them at most grocery stores and Farmers Market has a great deal for them as well.
Some of the most fascinating fruits are the hybrids — crosses between one or more types of fruits. For the citrus kick I recommend the tangelo, which is a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo or grapefruit and originating from South East Asia. They are very juicy and have loose skin which is easy to peel.
My favorite type of hybrid is one many students might not know: the olallieberry. This unique berry is a cross between the loganberry and the youngberry which are crosses between blackberries, raspberries, and dewberries. It originated in the United States and has become more and more popular as the years go on. You can make it into a pie or syrup but my favorite is the jam. My fellow food science majors and I actually make the jam here on campus and sell it at campus market and El Corral and it’s pretty good if you ask me.
Lastly I want to introduce the grapple which is not a hybrid fruit but rather an externally flavored fruit product. It is an apple which has been specially treated to make the flesh taste like grape. They’re pretty good and I have seen them at Costco and other grocery stores.
I hope this has opened your eyes to some of the more unique fruits and vegetables out there. Sometimes they are a nice change to fulfill the recommended five a day. So the next time you are having people over and you don’t know what to make for an appetizer or for dessert, instead of the usual chips and salsa or plate of cookies, try starting them off with an artichoke and ending the night with an olallieberry pie.