Specialty Fruits Vegetables

CRABAPPLES are tiny apples with a strong, pleasing flavor for cooking and use in jellies and jams. They are too tart |to eat out of hand. They can be yellow, ed or green.

DAIKON (Japanese White Radish) is a large, tapered white radish about 8-10 inches long. It has a crisp texture and a flavor similar to an ordinary radish, but sharper and hotter.

iNNEL (Anise) has broad leaf stalks which overlap at the base of the stem and form a firm, rounded, white bulb. The leaves are green and featherlike and the plant has a licorice aroma and flavor. The bulb as well as the inside stalks are edible.

GINGER ROOT is the underground stem or root of the tropical ginger plant. It is light reddish brown and knobby, and is used as a tangy flavoring when shredded or mashed.


(German Mustard) has a potent flavor and is used in small quantities. The edible part of the plant is the white root, which should be grated or shredded.


ARTICHOKES (Sunchokes) are root vegetables of a gnarled, knotty appearance with a crisp, crunchy texture and delicious flavor. Eaten cooked or raw, they are very versatile and can be used as a substitute for potatoes.

JICAMA is a large turnip-shaped root vegetable with a light brown peel. Inside, it is white and crisp with a delicate sweet •flavor similar to water chestnuts. The peel is not usually eaten.

KIWIFRUIT has an unattractive brown fuzzy surface. The inside, however, is smooth, creamy, bright green flesh with a strawberry-melon flavor and tiny edible black seeds. Kiwifruit is about the size of a large egg, 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.

OHLRABI is a green leafy vegetable with a stem that thickens above ground and looks like a bulb. The whole plant is edible. The leaves are used like spinach and the bulb (about 2-3 inches in diameter) is served cooked or raw.


Specialty fruits and vegetables.

Courtesy United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.

KUMQUATS are small, orangegold citrus fruits with sweet-flavored skins and tart, tangy insides. Eaten whole, the flavors mix nicely. Remove seeds before eating.

MANGOS are subtropical fruits of varied size, shape and color. Their smooth skins can be green, yellow or red, and their shapes vary from round to oval. Sizes can be from 2 to 10 inches and 2 to 5 pounds.

NAPPA (Sui Choy, Chow Choy, Won Bok, Chinese Cabbage) has broad-ribbed stalks varying in color from white to light green, resembling romaine, with crinkly leaves forming a long, slender head. The flavor is mild.

PAPAYA is an oblong melonlike tropical fruit, green to yellow on the outside with golden yellow to orange flesh inside. A medium papaya weighs about 1 pound. The small black seeds inside are not to be eaten.

PERSIMMONS are a brilliant orange in color and soft to the touch (like a tomato). They are about the size of an apple. Enjoy their flavorful taste by eating out of hand.

PLANTAINS look like large green bananas with rough, mottled peels. They are used as a vegetable and must be cooked. Never eat them raw. Black skins indicate that they are sweet and fully ripe.

POMEGRANATES are about the size and shape of apples, golden yellow to deep red, with hundreds of kernels or seeds which are juicy and sweet. Inside, the pulp is crimson and too bitter to eat. Only the seeds are edible.


(Cactus Pear, Indian Fig, Barberry Fig, TUna) are pear-shaped with yellow to crimson skins covered with spines. Usually the spines have been removed before marketing. The flesh is yellow and sweet with a taste of watermelon; the skin is bright red when ripe. Peel back the skin to eat.

QUINCE looks like an apple with an odd-shaped stem end and skin that is pale yellow when the fruit is fully ripe. Quince has a distinctive biting flavor and should be served cooked in jams, jellies, sauces, puddings, etc., not eaten raw.

Casava Plant Images

YUCCA ROOT (Manioc, Cassava, Casava) is the large, starchy root of the Yucca plant. Used like a potato, it must be peeled before cooking and cooked before eating. Its flavor is mild but very pleasing.

SALSIFY (Oyster Plant) looks like parsnip with a full, grassy top, a firm gray-white root, and the juicy flavor of fresh oysters. The edible part is the carrot-shaped root, which should be peeled and then cooked.

SNOW PEAS (Sugar Peas, China Peas) are an oriental vegetable looking like regular peas, except that the pods are much flatter and translucent. They have a delicate flavor and add crunch and texture to a dish. Serve hot or cold after blanching 2-3 minutes.


Calabash, Suzza Melon) is a large edible gourd that is round to oval, about 2 feet long and 3-4 inches in diameter. The skin is pale yellow and edible; the inside forms translucent strands similar to spaghetti when cooked. Use it like pasta.

SUGAR CANE is woody sugar stalks cut into 4-6 inch lengths. Eat by pulling away the outer covering and chewing the cane. Boil the cane for a sweet syrup topping.

TARO ROOT (Dasheen) is a highly digestible starchy root with a mild flavor, used in many different ways like a potato. It should be peeled and cooked before eating.

TOFU (Soybean Curd) is similar to a very soft cheese or custard, with a bland flavor and the ability to pick up the flavor of the foods with which it is cooked.

TOMATILLOS (Ground Tomatoes, Husk Tomatoes) are small green vegetables} that grow on ground vines and look like tiny tomatoes. They turn from bright greem to yellow when fully ripe but are often used unripe, raw or cooked.

UGLI FRUIT is an unattractive, juicy citrus hybird, a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine. It is the size and shape of a grapefruit, with a mottled rough peel that looks loose. The rind has light-green blemishes that turn orange when ripe. The fruit has a mild, orangelike flavor.


Water Chestnuts, Waternuts) are the small edible roots of the tropical Water Chestnut plant. The deep brown skin of the roots is removed and only the white, crunchy inside is used (mainly in salads or stir-fry dishes) after blanching 2-4 minutes.

YUCCA ROOT (Manioc, Cassava, Casava) is the large, starchy root of the Yucca plant. Used like a potato, it must be peeled before cooking and cooked before eating. Its flavor is mild but very pleasing.

FIGURE 6-11 (Continued)

FIGURE 6-12 Fruits.

Courtesy of PhotoDisc, Inc.

FIGURE 6-12 Fruits.

Courtesy of PhotoDisc, Inc.

When using vegetables, you need to think about what's in season for maximum flavor and about how the dish will look and taste. Think flavor and color. For example, halibut works well with marinated beets, haricots verts, grilled zucchini, summer squash, or eggplant with a tomato relish.

I Also think variety. Serving vegetables doesn't mean switching from broccoli to cauliflower and then back to broccoli. There are many, many varieties of vegetables to choose from. Be adventurous.

  • Most of a meal's eye appeal comes from vegetables—use them to your advantage. The length of asparagus and green beans is a great way to bring a single entrée plate or buffet platter together. Be sure to use not only vegetables' colors but their ability to be cut into many different shapes that can accentuate your food.
  • Olives add exquisite flavor with even just a small amount. They are included in many of today's eating styles. Here are some great varieties.
  • Picholine—French green, salt brine-cured, delicate flavor, great for salads and relishes.
  • Kalamata—Greek black, harvested fully ripened, deep purple with great flavor, great for vegetable stews, component salads, relishes, and compotes.

FIGURE 6-13 Vegetables.

Courtesy of PhotoDisc, Inc.

FIGURE 6-13 Vegetables.

Courtesy of PhotoDisc, Inc.

Long Stemmed Bulb Green Vegetable
  • Nicoise—French black, small, rich nutty flavor; great for roasting with fish, vegetables, or poultry; wonderful in relishes, salads, and ragouts.
  • Manzanilla—Spanish green, available pitted and stuffed, adds zest to a salad or a vegetable dish.
  • Linguiria—Black Italian; vibrant flavor; good with roasted vegetables and meats, sautéed vegetables; relishes with fish; and composition salads.
  • Gaeta—Black Italian: wrinkled appearance, usually marinated with rosemary; makes a great stuffing addition as well as a flavoring for stews, ragouts, and sautés.

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