Two Vegetables in One


Yesterday I went to the Holland Farmers Market to pick up my basic produce needs for the week. I was looking specifically for lacinato kale to put in my Ribollita soup, but it’s hard to find it this time of year in Michigan. Curly kale is certainly a good back-up, and so is Swiss chard, which I bought from Eaters’ Guild Farm.

When I stopped by Fat Blossom Farm‘s booth to inquire about kale, the farmer suggested using rutabaga leaves as a substitute. Who knew? He said, “I love growing vegetables that have more than one purpose.”

That got me thinking: What other produce exists that can be used for more than one purpose? I have apparently gotten into a mindset about what vegetable parts to eat when I buy or raise produce. But many vegetables have more than one edible part. Here’s a list I came up with after doing a little research. Can you add more?

  • Beans (snap): pod with seeds, leaves
  • Beets: root, leaves
  • Broccoli: flower, leaves, flower stem
  • Carrot: root, leaves
  • Cauliflower: immature flower, flower stem, leaves
  • Celery: leaf stems, leaves, seeds
  • Cucumber: fruit with seeds, stem tips and young leaves
  • Onions: root, young leaves
  • Parsley: tops, roots
  • Peas: seeds, pods, leaves
  • Pepper: pods,  leaves after cooking, immature seeds
  • Potatoes (sweet): roots, leaves, stem shoots
  • Radish: roots, leaves
  • Squash: fruit with seeds, seeds, flowers, young leaves
  • Tomato: fruits with seeds,  leaves
  • Turnip: roots, leaves
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4 responses to “Two Vegetables in One

  1. Kohlrabi roots and leaves! The stems of squash plants can be peeled and cooked too. Cilantro roots and leaves. Raspberry, fruit and tea from the leaves.

    Also, carrot leaves to have a very mild toxin in them so it’s really better to add them to the compost or feed to your bunny. I think of nightshade leaves as being something to avoid eating, but I’m not quite definite that it’s really universally unwise…

  2. Nature’s Market had lacinato on Friday when I was there.

    • Scott, do you know where it was from? This time of year their kale may be local but I think during the winter they get it from California since their focus is on organic produce and kale is usually not available in Michigan then. I have gotten it there sometimes, but am trying to stick with local organic options whenever possible. Haven’t tried the Ribollita with the rutabaga greens yet but plan to have it for lunch today! Thanks for your comment!

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