Traveling Taste Buds: Trying Veggies From Around The World

The USDA recommends eating 5 to 9 servings of fruit and veggies per day, which can seem like an awful lot if you or your kids are some of the many who think 'vegetable' is a four letter word. The thing is most Americans stick to the same handful of vegetables, which is not only boring but, if you truly loathe something, sounds like the death bell for healthier eating habits.

The good news is that there are tons of veggies around the world that might be more to your liking. While some of them may be more difficult to get at the supermarket, ethnic vegetable growing might be the key to getting the kids to ingest something healthful, especially if they are already fans of ethnic cuisines such as Indian, Mexican, or Chinese.

Veggies from Around the World - Give These a Try

Having been a chef for a large part of my life, I may be a bit partial when it comes to trying to foods. But, trust me, it can really be worth it and your taste buds will thank you. And when you try your hand at growing some of these wonderful vegetables, you'll be able to enjoy them even more - since we all know that homegrown veggies taste better.

You can even take this one step further by including some of these tasty morsels in your child's homeschooling lessons. A trip around the world using vegetables from different countries makes for a great history lesson. Health is another teachable area. It's also a great way to learn more about your own ethnic background.

Some of the more common ethnic vegetables to consider growing are:

Lesser known ethnic vegetables to try include luffa, bottle gourd, Indian eggplant, bitter melon, and samphire (or sea bean), which is rather like a cross between asparagus and cactus. Oh, and on the subject of cactus, try nopales sometime. Nopales is the leaf of the Opuntia cactus, which also produces prickly pear fruit.

There are plenty of versatile root veggies from around the world to grow. Try growing the ethnic vegetables like oca, sunchoke, or manioc (also known as cassava and yuca).

Manioc is actually one of the most important food sources among people of the developing world, feeding over half a billion people. You might know it by its name of tapioca, the product dried and in its powdered form turned into a delicious dessert.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.