An amazing amount of fresh food is wasted just because consumers refuse to buy any fruit or vegetable that appears less than perfect. We are actually in danger of forgetting what bananas, tomatoes, and carrots really look like.
This standardization of food is totally artificial and kind of a tragedy. If you go to an open-air market in Peru, for instance, you might find black, purple, white, red, brown, and yellow kinds of potatoes all sold side by side. In season, you might also encounter doritos, bananas only three inches long; these are twice as good to eat as “normal” bananas and perfect for dehydrating, but their shelf life is far too short for them to be exported.
Like “ugly” foods, there are numerous “heirloom” and unusual vegetables that people simply don’t know about. Purple spinach, orange beets, edible flowers, basil that tastes like licorice, and many more.
Any of these are simply glorious in juices, salads, or stir-fries, adding a touch of novelty, visual appeal, and flavors you simply won’t come across in most stores.
For most people, the only way to obtain these vegetables is to grow them.
Grow Your Own Vegetables
Kits like these now make this much easier. This one includes five types of vegetable seeds ready for planting (as well as 5 biodegradable starter pots), while others focus on special chili peppers, peculiar salad ingredients, and tomato cultivars you may never have heard of.
Unfortunately, although these hermetically-sealed seeds have a high germination rate, nothing is certain when it comes to taking care of living things. Although an instruction booklet is included, inexperienced gardeners would be well advised to do some googling on the topic and/or use automated watering. This is not a convenience product, but rather a project you’ll have to pay daily attention to.
You’ll also need a patch of ground, preferably one that receives partial sun, or at least a balcony on which you can place a couple of large planters.
Still, once you’ve learned the ropes, put in the required time and effort, watched your plants sprout, flower, and finally bear fruit, nothing tastes better than freshly-picked produce grown at home.