Vegetables

Artichokes

It’s easy to forget that artichokes are largely a California phenomenon. Any dinner guest from outside the state will remind you of this: just notice the bewildered look on their faces as the artichoke is placed in front of them, followed by, “How do I eat this?” (more…)

Arugula

This delicious leafy plant enhances any salad with its peppery flavor. Arugula, as it’s known here in the U.S., is also called rocket in Britain and France, and rucola in Italy. To grow arugula at home, plant seeds in late fall and early spring to harvest by early summer. (more…)

Asparagus

The most anticipated harbinger of warm weather is the season’s first asparagus. When soil temperatures reach 50 degrees, the slender shoots emerge from the ground, leaving no doubt that spring has arrived. (more…)

Beets

Beets were first cultivated around the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe, and eventually spread to all parts of the world, but were descended from the sea beet, a wild seashore plant of which only the leaves and stems were eaten. Now, we consume the entire vegetable; the leaves, stems, and the root itself. (more…)

Bok choy

Part of the cabbage family, bok choy has a mild flavor and a tender texture. Originally cultivated in China during the Ming Dynasty for its medicinal properties, bok choy is now grown in North America and Europe. (more…)

Broccoli

Translated from Italian as “little arms or little shoots,” broccoli is eaten by many different cultures in many different ways. This hearty vegetable is in the brassica family, and is most closely related to cauliflower, (both are essentially the bud of a flower that will otherwise bloom and seed if left to grow). (more…)

Broccoli rabe

Broccoli rabe, or, rapini is a common ingredient in a very diverse range of cuisines. It most popularly used in Italian, Chinese, and Portuguese cooking. Broccoli rabe is a member of the Brassicaceae family and is most likely a descendant of a wild herb similar to the turnip. (more…)

Brussels sprouts

A member of the Brassica family, Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages—which makes sense, as they are believed to have been cultivated from the cabbage plant, most likely in the 18th century. Like many cruciferous vegetables, they are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. (more…)

Burdock

This root vegetable is most popular in Asia, where it originated, and is eaten like a potato in some cultures. It is also used as an alternative to artichokes because of its similar flavor. (more…)

Cabbage

The Greeks have a proverb: “cabbage served twice is death,” suggesting that serving leftover cabbage isn’t worth the terrible smell, texture, and taste. You can solve this problem by cooking your cabbage as irresistible as possible, leaving nothing to spoil. (more…)

Cactus Pads

Cactus Pads, or “nopales” in Spanish, are the flat green leaves of the prickly pear cactus The cactus is native to Mexico, where it is still grown, and can now be found throughout the U.S. and the Mediterranean. (more…)

Cardoons

The Cardoon is a thistle-like plant in the same family as the artichoke, which explains why its stalk is so similar in flavor. The cardoon is a very popular ingredient in Mediterranean style cooking, where it is native and has been cultivated since ancient times. (more…)

Carrots

Wild carrots originated about 5,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan. Both Egyptians and Greeks used the wild green, purple, white, yellow and black-rooted plants medicinally. (more…)

Cauliflower

If you think the cauliflower looks a lot like broccolli, well you’re spot on. Like its green cousin, the cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family and its white buds can be cooked, boiled, pickled, or eaten raw. (more…)

Celeriac

If you think the cauliflower looks a lot like broccolli, well you’re spot on. Like it’s green cousin, the cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family and its white buds can be cooked, boiled, pickled, or eaten raw. (more…)

Celery

One of the ingredients of the “holy trinity,” celery is a core ingredient for many recipes. In French cuisine, celery is sautéed with carrots and onions to create a mirepoix, or aromatic base. In Italian, Spanish, and Creole style cooking, a sofrito is made with celery, onions, and bell peppers. (more…)

Chard

Also commonly called “Swiss chard,” this leafy green is not from Switzerland at all, but was given its scientific name by Swiss botanist, Karl Heinrich Emil Koch. The French called it “carde,” because chard’s stalks have a similar appearance to cardoons. (more…)

Chicory

Chicory, or cichorium intybus, is a bushy perennial herb with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers. It grows as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia. The chicory root is also often ground and used as a coffee substitute or roasted and added to beer to give it a unique flavor. (more…)

Collards

Collards belong to the Brassica, making it an excellent choice in the cooler months. Although it was once called colwort, or “cabbage plant” collards do not have compact leaves that form a head like cabbage does. Collard’s blue green leaves are broad and smooth in texture. Collard’s leaves lack frilled edges like kale and mustard greens. (more…)

Corn

Native to the Americas, corn is thought to have originated in either Mexico or Central America. Corn has played and still continues to play a vital role in the livelihood of many native cultures. It has been utilized for not only sustenance but shelter, fuel and more. (more…)