Looking back I consider my eating history to be relatively healthy and balanced. As a child, my mom kept almost no junk food in the house and we certainly never had soda. I never had a Twinkie until I was offered one in the 9th grade. I didn’t actually eat that Twinkie because I took a bite and then spit that bite right back out in the garbage can. Those things are gross! (I know some of you are gasping in shock.)
Junk foods were reserved mostly for parties and even then, I never really craved them or wanted them. I ate them if they were there. We usually ate at home and I usually packed lunch instead of buying. There was a period of time in high school when fries were in vogue (they were extra good for a while), but nothing really stands out as really terrible eating. At home, if we ate out, we usually ate at nice restaurants that served quality foods. I also had a pretty good exposure to different ethnic foods.
Given that kind of history, imagine my surprise when I found out about all these vegetables that I never knew about prior to eating paleo. When you take grains out, you take out a huge source of variety. We also eliminated nightshades at my house, so the hunt for other colorful vegetables and variety was on. Over the summer and even into the fall, I discovered and tried a lot of new vegetables that I had never really been aware of.
1. Kohlrabi – This one is a giant one that I got at the Farmers Market here. These also come in a more friendly turnip sized variety.
2. Celery Root (Celeriac) – These are a pain to wash and peel, but have a lovely mild celery taste. I like them browned in some olive oil or butter with onions. Yum!
3. Purple Scallions – I just love colors. I never knew that you could get scallions in any other color than your standard green ones.
4. Vitamin Greens – The name strikes me as a little odd, but a tasty green that I had never met until finding some at the Farmers Market.
5. Beets – I was aware of your standard red beets, but growing up they came out of a can at Thanksgiving and I never liked them. When I discovered how to roast them fresh while housesitting for my cousin, I couldn’t get enough of them. The standard red ones are really tasty, but definitely try out the golden ones and the fun candy cane striped ones. You can eat the greens, too!
6. Red Kuri Squash – This one I think I discovered at the co-op. A deep and wonderful red-orange hue, this squash is great roasted. When roasted, this squash has a distinctly sweet taste.
7. Red Kale – Kale wasn’t really on my radar until I started eating paleo and frequenting farmers markets. I like red better than green. The more tender Red Russian Kale (not pictured) is a milder kale that is also fantastic.
8. Duck Eggs – I love eggs. I like to eat them in all the different ways that can be cooked. I think that scrambled is probably my least favorite. Well, you can also eat duck eggs. Duck eggs are alkaline (vs. chicken eggs that are acidic) and have an intensely yellow yolk. The eggs themselves are a bit larger. I’ve also tried turkey eggs. I’m hoping to try quail eggs, sometime. So far though, I think that duck eggs are my favorite.
9. Colorful Cauliflower – We only ever had your standard white kind when I was growing up. Nowadays, you can find all sorts of fun colors at farmers markets and even your local grocery store. Purple is a lot of fun, but there is also a yellow-orange color that people call “cheddar.”
10. Rabbit Meat – I always thought that rabbit was for frontiersmen. I’m pretty sure that I read about people eating rabbit in Little House on the Prairie, but I never knew anyone who had eaten rabbit before. I was reluctant to try it at first, but I’m glad I did. Rabbit is very mild and on the drier side. Supposedly, as a meat it’s better for your heart health and your cholesterol levels. Who knew?
11. Japanese Mustard Greens – Not much to say about these guys. I can’t recall how they tasted right now.
12. Chard – I love chard. The rainbow chard is especially beautiful and has a sweet taste when cooked. I recently cooked chard for my sister and now she can’t get enough. Red and rainbow chard are getting me through the winter, right now.
13. Summer Spinach – Who knew that there was more than one kind of spinach. Summer spinach is delightfully tender and slightly sweet. Look for these early next summer at your farmers market. Yum.
14. Romano Beans – Crunchy and tasty. These guys don’t need much cooking, just enough to bring out the green and you’re all ready to eat. You can crunch on them raw, too, if you’d like. A good alternative to your standard green beans.
15 and 16. Rainbow Carrots and Spring Onions – I love spring onions. They have a milder flavor than regular onions and are just downright tasty. I can’t wait to eat these again. Rainbow carrots are a lot of fun and the different colors all taste a little bit different. Most people don’t believe me when I say that the yellow carrots taste “yellow,” but they do. (I think that most people think I’ve lost it when I say that.) Whatever your thoughts on the taste of these fun colored carrots, buy them for the fun colors.
17. Sunburst Squash – These guys have a lot of different names, but I like sunburst squash the best. These pretty scallop-edged squash are delightful finds at the beginning of the summer. They are also prettier then. Eat them lightly sauteed in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and some fresh lemon thyme. One of my favorite finds this past year.
That about does it. There are always new foods to discover and try, so I’m sure there will be other discoveries to share. I’m considering buying a CSA share this upcoming year. I only worry that I won’t be able to eat all the produce and that it’ll limit all the fun picking out I get to do at the farm stand. I’ll probably try to get a winter share and do my own shopping in the summer.
I promise I’ll have cooking photos and updates up soon. I just can’t seem to get myself to finish up this one post that I started over a week ago. This post was started a while back, too. Hopefully, I can get a handle on these mind taxing blog posts and get caught up!