June is National Fruits and Vegetables Month. While eating a rich array of colorful produce for good health isn’t a novel idea, your selections can be. If your usual choices leave you yawning, fortify your meals with some of these unique crops.
Okra: Found most often in Creole cooking, this member of the cotton family is low in calories and high in vitamin C. Okra can be added to stews and soups as a thickening agent, or sautéed with other vegetables. You can also boil, steam, or stir-fry this green, ribbed veggie.
Rhubarb: Almost too tart to take, this botanical vegetable often functions in the same capacity as bold fruits like cranberries — worked into pies as a filling. Even when cooked, rhubarb retains a significant dose of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. Try incorporating it into meat stews for a sour pop, or bake a pureed mixture with brown sugar and berries for a daring yogurt topper. One warning: Never consume the leaves, raw or cooked; they’re toxic.
Asian eggplant: Asian cuisine has become popular among American consumers. A favorite is this low-calorie fruit with its flavonoid-rich skin and mild flavor. Eggplants contain terpenes which may lower cholesterol and chlorogenic acid — a microbial- and cancer-fighting antioxidant. Enjoy them brushed with olive oil and grilled, or sautéed as part of a vegetable medley.