Fruit

Fruit
Includes berries, citrus fruit, melons, tropical fruit, and tomatoes
Fruits are the matured ovaries of plants, containing the seeds for the next generation of plants. Many plants cunningly make their fruits sweet, the better to attract animals like us to eat them and disperse the seeds. Fruits are often delicious enough to eat out of hand, but they can also be made into tarts, compotes, shakes, juices, preserves, liqueurs, and many other things.
ababai
ababai
Ababais resemble small papayas, and can be cooked or grilled without losing their shape. They're hard to find outside of Chile, where they're grown.
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acerola, acerola cherry, Barbados cherry, Puerto Rican cherry
acerola
These are very rich in vitamin C, and somewhat acidic. You can eat them out of hand, but they're better suited for making preserves.
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ackee, achee, akee, vegetable brains, vegetable egg
ackee
The pulp of this fruit looks and tastes like scrambled eggs when cooked, and Jamaicans like to serve it with salt cod. Look for cans of it in Caribbean markets. Warning: Only the yellow pulp on ripe ackees is edible. Eating underripe ackees that haven't opened on their own, or eating the pink portion of ripe ackees, can cause vomiting and death.
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acorn squash, Des Moines squash, pepper squash
acorn squash
This orange-fleshed winter squash is popular because of its small size--it can be cut in half and baked to make two generous servings. The rind, unfortunately, is quite hard and difficult to cut. To avoid injuring yourself, first slice off both the top and the bottom with a sharp knife, and use the stem end as a base for the more treacherous halving cut. Select acorn squash with as much green on the rind as possible, though most will have a single orange spot on one side.
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Agrinion olive
Agrinion olive
This is a large, green Greek olive with very tender flesh.
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ají panca chili - dried, aji panca chile
ají panca chili - dried
This reddish-brown dried chili is fruity, mild, and a little smoky.
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ajwa date, kurma ajwa, ajwa al madina
ajwa date
These dark skinned dates are grown around Medina, Saudi Arabia. They were said to have been a favorite of the prophet Mohammad.
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Aleppo olive
This is a black, dry-cured Middle Eastern olive that's hard to find in the United States.
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Alphonso olive, Alfonso olive
Alphonso olive
This large Chilean olive is cured in a wine or wine vinegar solution, which gives it a beautiful dark purple color and tart flavor. Its flesh is very tender and slightly bitter.
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ambrosia apple
ambrosia apple
Crisp and juicy, this is a great apple for snacking.
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ambrosia melon
ambrosia melon
This looks and tastes like a cantaloupe, but the flesh is a brighter orange.
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American eggplant, globe eggplant
American eggplant
This is the familiar large, dark purple, pear-shaped variety. Choose small or medium-sized eggplants (these have fewer bitter seeds) with healthy-looking green stems that are firm to the touch, but not too hard. Avoid mushy ones. Store them in the refrigerator.
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Amphissa olive, Amfisa olive, Amfissa olive
Amphissa olive
These are dark purple Greek olives that are hard to find in the U.S. They're great for snacking.
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Anaheim chili, Anaheim chile, California green chili, california red chili
Anaheim chili
These large, mild chiles are perfect for chiles rellenos. Mexican cooks also like to dice or purée them, and then add them to sauces, soups, and casseroles. They have a tough skin, but it peels off easily if you first char the chiles over a flame and then steam them in a paper bag for several minutes. Anaheims are available year-round, but they're best in the summer. You can occasionally find red Anaheims, which are riper and slightly hotter. When dried, this pepper is called a chile Colorado.
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ancho chili, pasilla rojo, pasilla chile, dried poblano, chile color
ancho chili
These mild, dried poblano peppers have a sweet, fruity flavor and are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They're brownish-black and wrinkled, and commonly used in adobos, moles, salsas, and various sauces.
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angled loofa, angled loofah, ridged gourd, ribbed loofah, sinkwa towelsponge
angled loofa
A native of Pakistan, this mild vegetable has a slightly bitter edge that pairs well with sweet and acidic ingredients in stir-fry dishes. You can also eat it raw, or dry it to make a loofa sponge. You can leave the peel on, but some people find the flavor off-putting. Remove any large seeds if you wish to cut the bitterness.
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Anjou pear, Beurré d'Anjou, d'Anjou pear
Anjou pear
These economical pears aren't as tasty as some of the other varieties, but they're still good for both eating and cooking. The peel stays light green even when the pear is ripe.
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apple butter, black butter, Irish black butter
apple butter
Apple butter isn't made from real butter. Instead, it's made by cooking apples until the sugar in them caramelizes, turning the sauce a rich brown color. It's used as a spread, and also as a fat-free substitute in many baking recipes.
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apple cider
apple cider
Apple juice and apple cider are very similar, except that all of the apple pulp is filtered out of the juice, while some remains in the cider.
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apple green eggplant, green apple eggplant, applegreen eggplant
apple green eggplant
These eggplant resemble green apples, and are mild and sweet. You don't need to peel them.
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apple jelly
apple jelly
You can use this like any other jelly, but it's often used as a glaze when roasting pork.
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apple juice
apple juice
Apple juice and apple cider are very similar, except that all of the apple pulp is filtered out of the juice, while some remains in the cider.
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applesauce, apple sauce
applesauce
Applesauce is a purée made from cooked apples. It's often flavored with sugar, lemon juice, and spices like cinnamon and allspice. It's often served as an accompaniment to pork, sausages, and potato pancakes. It can also be used as a fat substitute in baking.
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apricot
apricot
Like other stone fruit, apricots are sweetest--and most prone to bruising--when they're allowed to ripen on the tree. But unless you can pick your own, you'll probably have to make do with the slightly underripe, more durable apricots sold in markets. Allow them to soften at room temperature for a few days before eating them. They're best in the summer.
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aprium, plumcots, pluots
aprium
This is an apricot/plum cross, with apricot dominating.
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Arauco olive
Arauco olive
These are large green Spanish olives flavored with rosemary.
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Arbequina olive
Arbequina olive
These are tiny green Spanish olives with a mild, smoky flavor. They're hard to find in the U.S.
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Arkansas Black apple
Arkansas Black apple
This apple is renown for its long shelf life. It's good for making sauce and baking.
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Asian eggplants, Chinese eggplants, Japanese eggplants, Oriental eggplants
Asian eggplants
Include Japanese eggplants and Chinese eggplants, have thinner skins and a more delicate flavor than American eggplants, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter. They're usually more slender than American eggplants, but they vary in size and shape. They range in color from lavender to pink, green, and white.
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Asian pear, apple pear, Chinese pear, Japanese pear, nashi, nashi pear
Asian pear
Asian pears are crunchy, juicy, and very fragrant. Growers produce over twenty different varieties in an assortment of sizes and colors. They're often served raw, but they can also be cooked, though they never become as soft as cooked pears.
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Atalanta olive
Atalanta olive
This is a muddy-green Greek olive with soft flesh.
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atemoya
atemoya
This cherimoya-sweetsop cross has sweet custard-like pulp. Look for it in specialty produce markets during the fall
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baby kiwifruit
baby kiwifruit
You can eat this tiny kiwifruit hybrid skin and all.
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bacon avocado
bacon avocado
This sweet, smooth-skinned variety shows up in the middle of winter. It's not as flavorful as other avocados.
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Baldwin apple
Baldwin apple
This is a fairly sweet, all-purpose apple, but it's hard to find.
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banana, burro banana, Cavendish bananas, chunkey, chunky, red banana
banana
Most of the bananas you and I have eaten in our lifetimes are the yellow Cavendish bananas. The burro banana = chunkey = chunky is shorter than the Cavendish, and has an interesting lemony flavor. The manzano banana is smaller yet and a bit drier, but it fits nicely into lunch boxes. The red banana has a purple peel and is best used for baking. The plantain is larger than other banana varieties, and is usually fried, baked, or mashed before eating. Yellow bananas with a few dark spots are ripe and ready to eat, while green ones will ripen at room temperature in just a few days. Refrigerating ripe bananas will keep them from getting softy and mushy, though the peels will darken.
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banana pepper , banana chile, sweet banana pepper, banana chili pepper
banana pepper
These sweet, mild peppers with a fruity flavor are easily confused with hotter yellow wax peppers. Sample before using.
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banana squash
banana squash
This variety is so large that grocers usually cut into smaller chunks before putting it out. It's tasty, but its biggest virtue is the beautiful golden color of its flesh.
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barhi date (fresh)
barhi date (fresh)
These yellow dates can be peeled and eaten fresh or dried.
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Bartlett pear, Williams' bon chrétien, Williams pear
Bartlett pear
These are very juicy and great for eating out of hand. They turn yellow when ripe.
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bell pepper, capsicum, sweet pepper
bell pepper
Red and yellow peppers are riper, more flavorful, and pricier than the more common green ones. You can occasionally find bell peppers in other colors as well, like brown, white, pink, orange, and purple. Bell peppers are the perfect size for hollowing out and stuffing, or you can slice them into strips for snacking or dipping.
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bergamot orange
bergamot orange
This is a small acidic orange, used for its peel. The flesh is too bitter and sour to be eaten raw. Don't confuse it with the bergamot herb.
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bilberry, blaeberry, whinberry, whortleberry
bilberry
This small, tart berry is the European counterpart to the American blueberry. Bilberries are usually made into preserves.
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bitter melon, ampalaya, balsam pear, bitter apple, bitter cucumber
bitter melon
This bitter vegetable is believed to have medicinal properties and is widely used throughout Asia.
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