6 uncommon fruits and vegetables you should try

We should all eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but sometimes eating the same fruits and vegetables can feel, well, a little… boring.

“If you’re like me, you get kind of tired of the same things – the carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage…” said Mary Ellen Autry, a registered dietitian at ADC.

Autry suggests shaking things up in the kitchen the next time you prepare a meal.

Carrots, broccoli and cabbage are all excellent vegetable choices, but there are dozens of others to choose from – you just have to be open to giving them a try.

How much?

The first thing you may want to do is find out how many vegetables and fruits you should eat every day, because it depends on your gender and age.

In general, you want to fill half your plate with vegetables, but you can also check the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov for resources and information on how much you should eat.

“When I went there, I put in my age activity level, and I was advised to eat 1 ½ servings of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables a day,” Autry said.

Once you know how much to eat, the real fun begins. Challenge yourself to choosing a new fruit or vegetable every time you go grocery shopping. To inspire you, Autry did her own investigation at the grocery store and came back with six fruits and vegetables to try.


kumquats on plate


Originally from China, kumquats look like citrus fruits, but they actually are not. These fruits are very high in Vitamins A, C and E.

Kumquats should be eaten peel and all.

“The bulk of the flavor comes from the skin, so don’t peel these,” Autry said. “They are usually eaten raw.”

Autry recommends adding kumquats to salads, using them as garnishes or adding them to tea for additional flavor.

Kumquat salad: Get the recipe!

Star Fruit

Sliced star fruit

Star fruit

Star fruit have the flavor of apples, banana and citrus, and they are very high in Vitamin C.

These fruits may have dark brown along their five ridges, but that’s normal. Just make sure the flesh is firm.

There is no need to peel it.

“This is a wonderful addition to salads,” Autry said. “You can put it into fruit cups, or you can put it in a glass of fruit juice.”

Star fruit & blood orange salad: Get the recipe!

Horned Melon

Close up of horned melon

Horned melon

These exotic fruits, which are native to a region of the Kalahari Desert are called African Horned Cucumbers or Jelly Melons.

Horned melons are high in Vitamin C and fiber. They taste like a combination of cucumbers and kiwifruit, but when they are fully ripe, they taste like bananas.

How do you eat it?

“When eaten raw, most people eat the pulp and they suck out the seeds,” Autry said.

Learn how to eat a horned melon.

Romanesco Cauliflower

Mary Ellen Autry holding romanesco cauliflower

ADC Registered Dietitian Mary Ellen Autry says Romanesco cauliflower can be prepared just like cauliflower or broccoli.

Romanesco cauliflower looks odd, but it tastes like a delicate cauliflower. You can find it in some grocery stores and at Austin-area farmers’ markets.

This vegetable is an Italian cauliflower varietal.

“My kids would be interested in eating this,” Autry said. “They wouldn’t look at this and go yuck, because it’s a cool vegetable.”

Prepare it like you would broccoli or cauliflower. You can add it to salads, boil it, steam it or even sauté it.


Rhubarb has a texture similar to celery, but you can peel it if it becomes woody and tough.

“You will almost always find it without the leaves,” Autry said. “The leaves are poisonous, and you don’t want to eat those.”

Often recipes with rhubarb will add sugar, because it is very tart.

“To stay on the healthier side, you might want to consider making an apple-rhubarb crisp because the fat and sugar content will be much less than in a pie,” Autry said.

Apple-rhubarb crisp: Get the recipe!



Purple and green baby kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, which look like little “hot air balloons,” are a rich source of Vitamin C and phytochemicals.

Look for plants on the younger side, because larger kohlrabi can be woody.

“You can also eat the leaves from kohlrabi,” Autry said. “Use them like you would collards or kale.”

If you are fortunate to get the leaves, separate them from the rest of the vegetable and store them in a plastic bag – they will last about three days. The kohlrabi itself will last about a week to 10 days in your refrigerator.