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The great vegetable challenge



Eight veggies you may never have heard of

Make veggies fun to eat


We all know we’re supposed to feed our families at least five servings of veggies each day. But if you’re like most folks, you get stuck on just a few of the most common vegetables and they begin to be boring on your plate.

Let’s find a fun way to spice up your dinner plates with something other than peas and green beans. And treat your family to a fun challenge as you go.

Here are eight vegetables you may never have tried. Spice up your salads, soups, and vegetable side-dishes with some of these. Keep a chart with points for tasting, eating an entire serving and maybe a bonus point for thinking of a new way to eat the strange, new veggie. Think of a fun family reward when you reach a certain number of points or when you’ve tried all the veggies on your list. Movie night? Pizza? Whatever appeals to your family can be the pay-off.

READ MORE: How to economize on groceries

Here are some little-known vegetables. You may find more that are new to your family at the local produce market.

Guar: Guar is a legume. It is also known as Cluster Bean. Both pods and seeds are eaten and are high in protein. Guar is grown as a soil-improving plant as well as for food. Cook in water until tender and then sauté.

Spider Plant: Also known as African cabbage, this green leafy vegetable is eaten like spinach. It is usually considered a weed. Leaves, stems, pods and flowers may be boiled or fried in a bit of oil. Addition of a bit of milk reduces bitterness.

Chicories: The chicory family includes radicchio, endive, frisee and escarole. All of these are varieties of the chicory and range from bitter to mild. They are greens eaten most often in salads.

Fava and Pea Tops: The trimmed uppermost tendrils of the fava and pea plants are edible. Chop them and sauté for one to two minutes.

Celeriac: This is a type of the celery plant, but only the root is eaten. Peel and slice the root into thin slices or boil and mash. This veggie is rich in vitamins B6 and C and minerals such as potassium and phosphorus.

Sorrel: This resembles spinach. It has a sour lemon taste and is used pureed in soups or in sauces for fish and is used in Vietnamese dishes.

Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi is known as a cabbage-turnip. It grows above ground and is eaten like a turnip. It can be boiled, steamed or microwaved whole. The leaves are also edible.

Witloof: Meaning white leaf in Dutch, Witloof is a creamy-white leaf vegetable. It has a nutty flavor. It is sometimes called Belgium endive.

Are you ready for the challenge? Here is a list of other seldom-heard-of veggies to add to the fun. Hunt them down, figure out how to eat them and enjoy the challenge.

Dudhi, long beans, karela, dragon fruit, jicama, garlic scapes, Mexican gherkins, jackfruit, durian, loofah, lychee radicchio, sea beans and garlic scapes. 

Join the great vegetable challenge!

Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and writer specializing in education, parenting and family life. She is the author of "Homegrown Readers" and "Homegrown Family Fun". Find Jan at www.janpierce.net.



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