Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus, C. scolymus)

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a perennial thistle of the Cynara genus originating in Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.4–2 metres (4.6–6.6 ft) tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves 50–82 centimetres (20–32 in) long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 centimetres (3.1–5.9 in) diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the “choke” or beard. These are inedible in older larger flowers.

In the US, large globe artichokes are most frequently prepared for cooking by removing all but 5–10 millimetres (0.2–0.4 in) or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns on some varieties that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender. The core of the stem, which tastes like the artichoke heart, is edible once the stem’s fibrous exterior has been removed
 
If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes, particularly those that have been cut, can turn brown due to the enzymatic browning and chlorophyll oxidation. If not cooked immediately, placing them in water lightly acidulated with vinegar or lemon juice prevents the discoloration.
 
Leaves are often removed one at a time and the fleshy base part is eaten, sometimes dipped in hollandaise, vinegar, butter, mayonnaise, aioli, lemon juice or other sauces, with the fibrous upper part of each leaf being discarded; the heart is then eaten when the inedible choke has been discarded after being carefully peeled away from the base. The thin leaves covering the choke are mostly edible.

 

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West Indian gherkin (Cucumis anguria)

Cucumis anguria, also called the West Indian Gherkin,Burr Gherkin, Burr Cucumber, or maxixe, and locally known as badunga or cohombro, is a vine grown for its fruit used as a vegetable. It is similar and related to the common cucumber (C. sativus) and its cultivars are known as gherkins.

The fruit is typically 4-8 cm in length, 2-4 cm in diameter, and covered with soft spines.
 
Plants are originally from Africa. They are popular in thenortheast and north of Brazl, where they are used in the local version of cozido (meat-and-vegetable stew). The flavor of this gherkin is similar to that of the common cucumber.

 

Winter melon (Benincasa hispida)

The winter melon, also called white gourd, ash gourd, or “fuzzy melon”, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable when mature. It is the only member of the genus Benincasa. The fruit is fuzzy when young. The immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length. Although the fruit is referred to as a “melon,” the fully grown crop is not sweet. Originally cultivated inSoutheast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.

Winter melon is also a common name for members of the Inodorus cultivar group of themuskmelon (Cucumis melo L), more commonly known as casaba or honeydew melons.
 
The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be kept through the winter much like winter squash. The winter melon can typically be stored for 12 months. The melons are used in stir fry or to make winter melon soup, which is often served in the scooped out melon, which has been intricately decorated by scraping off the waxy coating.
 
The shoots, tendrils, and leaves of the plant may also be eaten as greens.

 

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum var)

Tomato may refer to both the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) and the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of theAmericas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in green houses in cooler climates.

The tomato fruit is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces, and in drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as by the United States Supreme Court, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.
 
The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 metres (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is aperennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual.

Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica)

The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomato (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine. Tomatillos are grown as annuals throughout the Western Hemisphere. Often self-incompatible, tomatillos need a second plant to enhance pollination and guarantee fruit set.

 
The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be any of a number of colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green colour and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Purple and red-ripening cultivars often have a slight sweetness, unlike the green- and yellow-ripening cultivars, and are therefore somewhat more suitable for fruit-like uses like jams and preserves. Like their close relatives cape gooseberries, tomatillos have a high pectin content.
 
Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible (two or more plants are needed for proper pollination; thus isolated tomatillo plants rarely set fruit).
 
Ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. They will keep even longer if the husks are removed and the fruits are placed in sealed plastic bags stored in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.

Tinda (Praecitrullus fistulosus)

The tinda, also called Indian round gourd or apple gourd or Indian Baby Pumpkin, is a squash-like cucurbit grown for its immature fruit, a vegetable especially popular in South Asia. It is the only member of the genus Praecitrullus. “tinda” is also called “tindsi” in rajasthan.

 
The plant is, as with all cucurbits, a prolific vine, and is grown as an annual. The fruit is approximately spherical, and 5–8 cm in diameter. The seeds may also be roasted and eaten.
This unique squash-like gourd is native to India, very popular in Indian and Pakistani cooking with curry and many gourmet dishes. Green colored, apple sized fruits are flattish round in shape and 50-60 grams in weight. Plants are vigorous, productive and begin to bear fruits in 70 days after planting.
 
Can be confused with Tendli or Kundru due to similar sounding name from different languages and regions. Tinda in Punjabi or most North Indian Languages is “Indian Baby Pumpkin”.

 

Sweet corn aka corn; aka maize (Zea mays)

Sweet corn (Zea mays convar. saccharata var. rugosa; also called Indian corn, sugar corn, andpole corn) is a variety of maize with a high sugar content. Sweet corn is the result of a naturally occurring recessive mutation in the genes which control conversion of sugar to starch inside theendosperm of the corn kernel. Unlike field corn varieties, which are harvested when the kernels are dry and mature (dent stage), sweet corn is picked when immature (milk stage) and prepared and eaten as a vegetable, rather than a grain. Since the process of maturation involves converting sugar to starch, sweet corn stores poorly and must be eaten fresh, canned, or frozen, before the kernels become tough and starchy.

 
Sweet corn occurs as a spontaneous mutation in field corn and was grown by several Native American tribes. The Iroquois gave the first recorded sweet corn (called Papoon) to European settlers in 1779. It soon became a popular vegetable in southern and central regions of the United States.
 
Open pollinated varieties of white sweet corn started to become widely available in the United States in the 19th century. Two of the most enduring varieties, still available today, are Country Gentleman (a Shoepeg corn with small, white kernels in irregular rows) and Stowell’s Evergreen.

patola – ridgegourd

The luffa, loofah, or lufah are tropical and subtropical vines comprising the genus Luffa, the only genus of the subtribe Luffinae of the plant family Cucurbitaceae. The fruit of at least two species, Luffa acutangula and Luffa aegyptiaca (Luffa cylindrica), is grown, harvested before maturity, and eaten as a vegetable, popular in Asia and Africa.

 
The ripe, dried fruit is also the source of the loofah or plant sponge. Luffas are also used to make the soles of beach sandals.
Luffa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, includingHypercompe albicornis.
 
Parts of the plant are used to create bath or kitchen sponges, a natural jaundice remedy, furniture and even houses. It is also eaten as a green vegetable.
 
The fruit section of L. aegyptiaca may be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem or fibers. Marketed as luffa orloofah, the sponge is used like a body scrub. Softly-textured luffa sponges are not derived from the luffa fruit, but are manufactured by folding in several layers of soft mesh-like fabric into a cloud-like shape; commonly used in tandem with shower soaps.
 
Its juice is used as a natural remedy for jaundice. The juice is obtained by pounding the bitter luffa and squeezing it through a cloth. Bitter luffa seeds and dry crusts are also available and can be used for the same purpose.
 
In Maharashtra, India, dodka (Ridge Gourd/luffa) and ghosavala (smooth luffa) are common vegetables prepared with either crushed dried peanuts or with beans. In Northern regions of India, Torai is the common name for Luffa.
 
In China, Indonesia, the Philippines, the luffa or patola is eaten as a green vegetable in various dishes. The luffa is eaten when the fruit is young and the sponge has yet to become tough. It is also known as Chinese Okra in Canada.
In Paraguay, panels are made out of luffa combined with other vegetable matter and recycled plastic. These can be used to create furniture and construct houses.

 

Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal (Solanum melongena)

The eggplant, aubergine, melongene, brinjal, or guinea squash (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India.

It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4–8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2–4 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is fleshy, has a meaty texture, and is less than 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.
The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.
 
The plant is native to India. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory but appears to have become known to the Western world no earlier than ca. 1500. The first known written record of the plant is found in Qí mín yào shù, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The scientific name Solanum melongena is derived from a 16th century Arabic term for one variety.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit. There are three main varieties of cucumber: “slicing”, “pickling”, and “burpless”. Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged. The cucumber is originally from India, but is now grown on most continents. Many different varieties are traded on the global market.

 
The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around ribbing with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The fruit of the cucumber is roughly cylindrical, elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters (24 in) long and 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in diameter. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as fruits. However, much like tomatoes and squash they are often perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Cucumbers are usually more than 90% water.