As parents, we want our kids to be healthy. We know that proper nutrition is important to their health and development, but getting small kids to eat vegetables can seem like an impossible task. If you have a picky eater then no doubt you have fought numerous battles at the dinner table. Studies have shown that kids are much more likely to eat vegetables that they helped grow in their own garden. What if those vegetables came in crazy colors? Growing colorful, odd looking might do the trick.
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Purple cauliflower is popular in southern Italy. It's an excellent source of vitamin C (just like the normal variety) and has some cancer fighting properties of other purple-hued plants (such as eggplant or blueberries). Purple cauliflower can be grown in zones 3 and up in full sun.
Also known as Roman Cauliflower, this vegetable looks like a blossom of green seashells. It is similar to cauliflower in texture and flavor, but slightly more buttery and crisp. They are a cool weather plant and grow just like normal broccoli or cauliflower.
The horned melon (sometimes called kiwano) is a strange looking fruit. The outside looks like a spiked lemon. Inside is a green gel that looks like ectoplasm. They are very messy to eat and have a ton a edible seeds inside. Their taste is a mix of banana, lime and cucumber. They like warm weather so are best suited as a summer crop. Horned melons grow a lot like cucumbers but require slightly less water. They grow fast and are vigorous climbers.
The skin on carrots can range from traditional orange to red, pink and purple (The insides are still orange). Red and purple hued carrots were originally grown in the Middle Eastern Countries, but are now seen nearly everywhere. They are fairly easy to grow but prefer soil temperatures between 50-60 degrees F.
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Blue potatoes have been grown for thousands of years in South America. The “All Blue” or “Russian Blue” varieties are a lot like a russet. Blue mashed potatoes will taste the same as white mashed potatoes....but are so much cooler!
Purple beans are a lot easier to pick than green ones because they really stand out. They tend to lose their color the longer they are cooked. You might even get your kids to eat them raw!
Vegetables with blue and purple hues contain a pigment called anthocyanin. Studies have shown that these foods have antioxidant properties. They can improve memory and protect against heart attack and cancer. They have also been shown to improve vision and even help with weight control.
These bizarre crops might seem rare, but finding seeds is not difficult. All seeds can be easily found online and many can be found in gardening centers as well. Many of these unusual fruits an vegetables can be found at a farmers market too.