5 Silly Looking Foods

Monday, April 1, 2013

By Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

For you eager pranksters, it’s that time of year for the traditional April Fool’s holiday to have a little memorable fun.  When it comes to good nutrition and health there’s nothing funny about it – but you may just come across some entertaining food options.  Not all fruits and veggies are as perfectly symmetrical as an orange or have flawlessly spaced layers like an onion; but these “funny” looking nutritious attention-grabbers below deserve a spot in your kitchen. If you haven’t given them a taste, now’s the perfect time!

Odd Looking, Good-For-You Produce
These exotic fruit and veggies are anything but ordinary.  Not to mention they’re fun to munch and pack a nutritional punch!  Try incorporating one of them in your next dish in honor of April Fool’s Day.

#1: Kohlrabi
This delectable vegetable can be enjoyed raw or cooked.  Kohlrabi is part of the Brassica vegetable family (same as broccoli and cabbage). It contains health-promoting phytochemicals important to help prevent cancer.  It’s most readily available in grocery stores and farmer’s markets starting in late fall and some Asian markets carry it year-round. Kohlrabi makes a great addition to soups and stews.

To prepare, wash and peel the layers thoroughly and slice, dice or grate into salads, coleslaw or pair with a dip. To cook, boil or steam (with skin on), then peel after they’re fully cooked. Season with spices like dill, coriander or mustard.

#2: Dragon fruit  (pictured above)
A powerhouse fruit rich in antioxidants, calcium and fiber, this baby could breathe fire! It also contains Vitamin C, which is important for enhanced immune function. Dragon fruit is sweet and crunchy in texture and often compared to a cross between a pear and kiwi.

When shopping look for a bright, even-colored tone to ensure ripeness. Slice with a knife and scoop the center out with a spoon to eat. Try in your next smoothie or salsa recipe!

#3: Purple sweet potato
The traditional orange sweet potato comes in a lovely purple shade! It gets its color from its high sources of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect against liver damage, heart disease and stroke.  Purple sweet potatoes are also good sources of vitamin A, iron, fiber and calcium.

This potato has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.  To cook, simply steam, bake or roast like traditional potatoes.  These babies add great color as a side dish to your favorite meal.

#4: Starfruit
This five-pointed starry-eyed fruit is rich in fiber, vitamin C and potassium, just to name a few.  Its waxy skin starts off green and turns pale yellow or amber color when ripe. You can also tell its ripeness when the outer edges turn brown.

To prepare, lightly wash and carefully slice off each “point” to discard of any brown edges. Like an apple, slice and remove any seeds, then enjoy! Starfruit is perfect in fruit salads to add a juicy tartness; it also makes a beautiful garnish for cocktails!

#5: Lychee Berry
This sweet native Chinese fruit looks sort of like a yellowish-pink strawberry, but with a rough scaly skin.  Lychees contain a rich concentration of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants important to help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  They’re most commonly used in desserts or sauces to add sweetness and are very simple to cook with.

To prepare, cut with a knife lengthwise and gently peel off outer layer. Be sure to remove the shiny brown pit before serving, which should slip right out.

SO TELL ME: Which of these “funny looking” foods have you tried or plan to try soon?

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