Apples and carrots are trustworthy standbys, but why not expand your palette by trying some more exotic fruits and vegetables? Not only will off-the-beaten path produce shakeup your meals, but it will also add extra nutrients and other fantastic health benefits to your diet.
Here are 4 unusual fruits and vegetables you should try:
You may have seen bottled drinks sporting “Dragon fruit” on the label. Pitaya is the alias of this bright pink fruit, which comes from cactus plants in Central and South America, Southeast Asia and California, according to the blog of New York Times bestselling nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. Pitaya is considered a superfood for its many health benefits and nutritional content. It contains high levels of antioxidants and Vitamins C and A, along with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds. According to the site, regular consumption of pitaya may reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and complications due to diabetes.
Pitaya has a light, sweet taste, similar to that of a pear. It can be enjoyed on its own or blended into smoothies, tossed on salads or mixed with yogurt and granola.
Look out for exotic fruits and veggies next time you’re at the market.
- Purple corn
You’re used to seeing pale yellow corn cobs piled high in your supermarket, but have you ever come across purple corn? The deep, rich hue of this Peruvian vegetable isn’t just for decoration – it’s indicative of purple corn’s incredible antioxidant content. According to ScienceDaily, purple corn contains a high concentration of anthocyanins, a color pigment full of antioxidants. Anthocyanins promote overall cellular health, help reduce inflammation and may help treat diabetes.
Despite being a vegetable, purple corn tastes like a mix of grapes, kiwi, peaches and prunes, according to the blog Purple Corn Benefits. You can enjoy it as a juice or in powdered form as a nutritional supplement.
Kohlrabi looks out of this world, but it's really just a member of the humble cabbage family, explained The Kitchn. Kohlrabi has a slight peppery flavor and texture similar to broccoli stems. You can eat it raw for a satisfyingly crunchy snack - The Kitchn recommended drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt. You can also cook with this cool cabbage. Cubes of kohlrabi will caramelize when roasted in the oven, making a great side to seafood or steak dinners.
Kohlrabi is loaded with fiber, aiding digestive health, and has tons of potassium, which supports muscle function and promotes lower blood pressure.
- Kiwano melon
Another alien-looking type of produce, the kiwano melon is also known as the jelly melon, horned melon and blowfish fruit, according to Parade magazine. A tough orange skin dotted with spikes protect juicy, bright-green inner flesh, which tastes like a mix between zucchini, kiwifruit and cucumber, with more banana-like flavor emerging as the fruit ripens. You can eat the fruit on its own or scoop it out and add to smoothies and fruit salads. Kiwano melon has a high water content, making it incredibly hydrating, while it also includes free radical-fighting antioxidants and beta-carotene along with Vitamins A, C and E.