Do you use the same type of lettuce in your salad every week and eat the same fruits and vegetables on a regular basis? Summer is the perfect time to try new produce. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables gives your body a broader range of vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. Plus — it keeps your palette from getting bored!
Next time you’re in a culinary rut, stroll through the farmers market or grocery store produce section and pick up something you don’t recognize. The flavor may surprise you.
Here are some less-common fruits and vegetables you can use to complement your favorite dishes or use in new recipes:
- Kumquat. These bite-sized citrus wonders are more tart than their bigger relative, oranges, and their peel is edible. The peel tastes like an orange peel but is sweeter and more tender.
- Star fruit. This fruit looks like a star when sliced and is quite tasty. The flavors are similar to citrus fruits and plums. You can pop the whole fruit into your mouth—seeds, skin and all!
- Jicama. This vegetable looks like a potato, has the crispy and juicy texture of a pear, but tastes sweet and starchy like an apple. It’s delicious raw and adds crunch and flavor to salads.
- Bok choy. For a distinct, peppery, fresh flavor, try this lettuce-like vegetable. You can enjoy it blanched, steamed, pickled or sautéed. It’s part of the cabbage family and is a cruciferous vegetable.
- Parsnips. Similar to carrots in their woody texture when raw, they actually have a lightly spiced flavor, similar to nutmeg and cinnamon.
- White asparagus. This type of asparagus lacks a green color since it grows underground. It is milder in taste, more tender and cooks quicker than green asparagus.
- Pomelo. Imagine the biggest grapefruit you’ve ever seen. Then imagine it seven times larger and you have a pomelo. Inside the outer layer are big and juicy citrus segments with bold flavor.
- Dragon fruit. Subtle in flavor, this fruit is a little sweet and a little sour with a creamy texture.
- Water apple. This pear-shaped, red fruit is actually a berry. The high water content gives it a crisp and refreshing flavor, similar to watermelon.
Not sure how to use your new produce? A simple chopped fruit salad is a great refreshing summer treat. Try experimenting with different combinations of fruits. Or try making this jicama salad.
Chopped Jicama Mex Salad
1 cup jicama, peeled and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and well drained
1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
¾ cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ avocado, chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Prepare the lime dressing in a separate bowl. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss.