Alphabetical list of vegetables


Here is an alphabetical list of vegetables and a few related facts about each one. We hope you find it of use and maybe get to enjoy eating a few veggies you never knew existed.

Artichoke – There are two vegetables with the name artichoke and they are quite different from each other. The ‘Globe Artichoke’ is a tight head of fleshy leaves, delicious steamed or boiled and eaten with lemon butter or hollandaise sauce. The tips of the leaves are too tough to eat even after cooking and the fiberous ‘choke’ is also inedible, but the ‘heart’ is wonderfully buttery in texture with a great flavour. The ‘Jerusalem Artichoke’ is a knobbly tuber like a small malformed potato. It has a smoky flavour and is delicious and healthy but has a tendency to cause flatulence in most people so don’t eat too much of it.

Asparagus – tender green tips available during a short growing season. Asparagus plants continue to produce new shoots every year and can last more than a decade, producing a crop each spring. There are two major forms; the green asparagus (very popular seasonal treat in the UK) and the white asparagus. Both are delicious.

Aubergene – A vegetable that absorbs strong flavours well.Commonly rich purple coloured skin with a white fleshy interior he aubergene is called eggplant in America. A key ingredient in moussaka.

Beans – high protien seeds of legume plants.

Beet – Tubers with rich, nutty, earthy flavours. A sweet variety of beet is grown commercially in europe and asia for sugar manufacture. Red beetroot is often sold pickled. The red colour can stain almost anything and has been used in clothing dyes for centuries. ‘Borscht’ is the classic beetroot soup from eastern Europe.

Broccoli – green and delicious and full of vitamins. The ‘florets’ are actually underdeveloped flowers. A versatile veg that is used across the world in many different ways.

Brussels sprouts – traditionally eaten with Christmas Dinner in the UK. Brussels sprouts are small and green and look like mini-cabbages. They grow well in northern Europe and frosts do not damage the unharvested vegetables, hence their popular.

Cabbage – the king of vegetables. Easy to grow almost anywhere. Cabbages generally come in white, yellow, green and red colour schemes. In Germany the pickled ‘Sauerkraut’ is pretty much a national dish and in Korea a similar but spiced ‘Kimchee’ has equal status in the national cuisine.

Calabash – Also known as the bootle gourd, it grows on a vine and can be eaten young, or left to mature dried and used as a food container; hence the name.

Carrot – Introduced to most of Europe by the Romans, carrots have been popular for 2000 Years. However the orange colour is a comparitively recent addition. The first orange carrots were cultivated in the Netherlands in the Sixteen Hundreds.

Cauliflower – White relative of broccoli. Cauliflower cheese is a universal classic favourite way of serving this vegetable

Celeriac – a large knotted ball-like root vegetable which makes amazing nutty soups

CelerySlightly bitter (unless blanched) european stalks with a distinctive flavour, used in salads, stews and soups.

Chard green leafy vegetable, high in iron. It grows well during british winters and is used as an alternative to spinach.

Chicory – A bitter vegetable that is ‘forced’ (grown in darkness) and so has white leaves.

CollardsThis leafy green vegetable is also known as tree-cabbage and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Corn – North American native vegetable considered sacred by many native tribes. Confusingly corn is also the word used to describe the seeds of wheat and barley.

Cresssmall peppery sprouts

Cucumbers related to courgettes and traditionally used raw in salads. The cucumber grows quickly and holds lots of water

GourdsThe common name for fruits of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants (members include cucumbers, squashes, luffas, and melons).

Jerusalem ArtichokeIt isn’t an Artichoke and it doesn’t come from Jerusalem. The jersalem Artichoke is actually related to the sunflower. The bit we eat is an ugly little tuber (like a small thin and knobbly potato) that tastes amazing. It has a smoky taste that really excites the palette.

KalesUntil the Renaissance, kale was the most common green vegetable eated by the people of northern Europe

KohlrabiKohlrabi is a member of the turnip family and can be either purple or white.

Leek – The national vegetable of Wales.

Lettuce lots of green leaves used as a mainstay of salads. Varieties such as round, isberg, lollo rosso and radichio are popular.

MelonsWonderful fruits with a high water content. There are many farmed varieties . All have seeds surrounded by rich, watery but sweet flesh that is encased in a fairly hard shell.

Mushrooms – not technically a vegetable, but a far older member of the plant kingdom. Mushrooms do not use sunlight to produce energy, hence they have a completely different range of tastes than any other vegetable. Did you know that the largest single living organism on earth is a mushroom called Armillaria Ostoyae, the biggest of which is up to 8,500 years old and carpets nearly 10 square kilometres of forest floor in northeastern Oregon, USA. One variety was available in cultivated form for much of the 20th century, but in the 21st dozens of mushroom varieties have been successfully grown in commercial yields and can be purchased in the shops.

Okra also called ‘ladies fingers’ or gumbo is a wonderful pungent vegetable from the same family as hollyhock. It probably was first cultivated in Ethiopia and is still a North African staple, but has become popular in Europe, Asia and America too.

Onions Onions have been eaten for tens of thousands of years and we still aren’t bored of them. White and Red are the common colours for onions and they can vary in size from a few millimetres to almost a foot across.

Pak ChoiThe Pak Choi or chinese cabbage is a delicious leaf vegetable often used in Chinese cookery. It is a relative of the standard western cabbage but has a milder flavour and soft leaves.

Parsnips The sweet, starchy parsnip was a very popular european vegetable before the arrival of potaoes and Sugar Cane from the Americas. Although not the prize it once was, the Parsnip is a classic root vegetable, particularly popular in more northern lattitudes.

Peas – best eated within minutes of picking as the sugars rapidly turn to starch. Therefore frozen peas often taste better than ‘fresh’ peas.

Peppers – These are the fruit of the Capsicum family of plants. The hotter tasting ones (due to more Capsaicinoids in the flesh) are usually refered to as chillis.

PotatoesNothing finer than a steaming plate of mashed potatoes. An american staple crop that as been exported all over the world.

PumpkinsA popular gourd vegetable used in cooking and to make halloween jack o lanterns.

Radicchioa chicory leaf used in salads. Popular since ancient times, modern widescale cultivation of the plant began in the fifteenth century close to Venice in Italy.

Radishrich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid (folate), and Potassium, the raddish is a peppery vegetable popular in western and asian cookery. We usually eat the taproot, but the leaves can also be eaten in salads.

Rapini – Also known as friarelli this is a slightly bitter vegetable related to brocolli that often appears in southern Italian dishes.

Rhubarb A plant with large leaves that grow out of thick succulent stems with a very particular floral scent. These stems are popularly eaten as a fruit once sweetened and cooked. Rhubarb was originally native to China but has been popular in Europe since Roman times.

Rutabaga Alternative name for Swede

Salsify– A long thin root vegetable with a mild nutty flavour. Once common in Europe but has gone out of fashion in many countries and so is rarely grown on a commercial scale any more.

Shallots Small onions often with a more fiery bite.

Spinach -large green leaves wilt easily in a pan and are often served with a little butter and nutmeg as an accompanying vegetable. Spinach contains lots of healthy trace minerals including iron

Squash another generic name for fruits of the vine of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants (see also Gourds). Butternut Squash has recently grown in popularity in the United Kingdom.

Swede – Apparently a cross between cabbages and turnips swedes are a low calory root vegetable

Sweetcorn – a north american native plant loved throughout the world.

Sweet potato Ipomoea batatas (related to the morning glory) produces a starchy tuber. In the USA the red variety of sweet potato is often called a yam, although yams are a seperate vegetable in their own right.

Tomatoes not technically a vegetable, but a fruit. Tomatoes are best grown yourself because the uniform flavourless powdery fruits available in supermarkets are not worth eating.

TurnipsRoot vegetable will grow in cold climates.

Watercress very peppery small salad like leaves

WatermelonSweet tasting gourd reaches enourmous size and definitely the most refreshing fruit there is.

YamsSweet starchy tuber that are popular in African, Carribean and American cookery
We hope this alphabetical list of vegetables is of use to you.