A–Z of fruit and vegetables
Here's our choice of fruit or veg for almost every letter of the alphabet. Can you come up with some more?
There are so many different types of vegetables and fruit! In fact, at least one for almost every letter of the alphabet.
Can you remember them all? Play the A–Z skipping challenge where you go through the alphabet naming one fruit or vegetable for every skip!
Explore our list of fruit and veg, plus learn fun facts about them.
Did you know there are thousands of different types of apples? Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady are just a few that are grown around the world. They can be eaten lots of different ways – including cooked! Why not try dried apple rings as a healthy snack: remove the core, thinly slice the apple and bake the rings in the oven at a low heat for about an hour.
Apricots can be eaten fresh or dried – both are packed with vitamins. Fresh apricots have a soft and slightly furry skin. They are high in beta-carotene, which keeps our eyes and skin healthy.
Asparagus is a shoot vegetable. We eat the stalk and the tip. It makes any dish look more interesting due to its unusual shape. Asparagus is a good source of a vitamin called folate, which is important for healthy blood.
Most aubergines are teardrop-shaped and have glossy purple skin. On the inside, they are spongy and creamy-white. Aubergines grow on bushes and are a type of fruit – although you wouldn't want to eat them raw! Perhaps cooked in a Thai chicken curry? Australians and Americans call it eggplant because some types look a bit like large eggs.
Sometimes called an avocado pear, this fruit is often mistakenly described as a vegetable because we eat it in salads. Avocados are at their best when they are ripe. They're really easy to prepare – simply cut one in half, remove the stone and eat with a little salad dressing or chopped into a salad. Avocados are a good source of essential fats (yes, the good ones) and are one of the few fruits that contain fat.
Butternut squash is a large and pear-shaped fruit with a golden-brown to yellow skin. Because it contains seeds, it is actually classed as a fruit rather than a vegetable. Once peeled and cooked, the flesh is soft and sweet. It can be roasted, pureed, mashed or used in soups or casseroles. It's a good source of beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene gives the flesh its bright orange colour.
> Bulk up a spaghetti bolognese by adding butternut squash
A great snack in a handy yellow skin! Bananas are a good source of energy and contain lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Potassium is important for the health of cells, nerves and muscles, and helps to lower blood pressure. Bananas grow in hanging clusters, sometimes called hands, in tropical regions. You can eat them raw, baked, dried or in a smoothie. Or make a simple ice cream by freezing banana slices then blending them!
Beetroot is the root of the beet plant , which explains its name! People have grown it since Roman times. Raw beetroot is best for you and great for grating but make sure you peel it first! Try it in a salad, sandwich or even in cakes! Small beetroots are usually the sweetest.
In America, these beans are called black-eyed peas or cow peas. They each have a little black dot on the side – this is where they were once attached to their pod, so it's a bit like a belly button! You can mix them with other beans to make a super salad.
Another name for this bean is the Fava bean. Broad beans grow in a green, leathery pod. The beans can be eaten fresh when they are green, or dried when they have turned brown. The way to identify them is by their flat, broad shape. Beans are a good source of protein and fibre.
Broccoli is closely related to cabbage – and it's another one of those 'greens' we're always being told to eat up. The part of a broccoli plant we normally eat is the lovely flower head – the flowers are usually green but sometimes purple. Steamed broccoli is tasty in a salad or stir-fry.
Brussels sprouts are like mini cabbages! They grow out of the ground in knobbly rows on a long tough stalk. They contain loads of vitamin C. Can you guess which country BRUSSELS sprouts originally came from? Well, Brussels is the capital city of Belgium!
Carrots are a root vegetable which means they grow underground. They can be used in all sorts of dishes – from casseroles to cakes. Raw carrots are great to crunch on as a snack and they make a healthy juice too. They contain lots of beta-carotene – this helps keep our eyes and skin healthy.
Cherries grow from stalks and a tree can produce fruit for as long as 100 years! Sweet varieties such as the Bing cherry are nicest on their own or in a fruit salad. Sour cherries like Morello are tastier cooked.
This citrus fruit is the smallest of the tangerines. The skin of clementines can be peeled away easily and the segments don’t contain pips, which makes them a lot less messy to eat than some other varieties. Citrus fruit is a good source of vitamin C.
A courgette is a type of squash and, if it isn't picked early, it grows into a marrow! Courgettes look like cucumbers and have very soft seeds. They can be cooked with onions, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers to make ratatouille. The American name for courgette is zucchini.
These fruit come from the date palm tree and grow abundantly in the Middle East. Dried dates make a super-sweet snack and are full of fibre. They can be chopped and sprinkled on cereal or baked in a muffin.
These dark little berries grow on bushes all over the UK countryside during the summer. They are not good to eat raw but are berry nice cooked with other fruit in desserts, or they can be used to make jam. You can also make elderberry cordial.
Endive is a member of the lettuce family. It is shaped like a bulb and has leaves that overlap each other – try peeling them off one by one to see how many there are. The leaves are a bit bitter on their own but they are delicious in a salad mixed with sweet tomatoes and slices of orange.
This vegetable tastes a bit like liquorice! Fennel is a plant that grows in the ground. A bulb shape grows at the base of the plant, and this is the part you eat. Raw fennel adds a super crunchy taste to salads. You can also slice it and cook it like onion or celery to use in casseroles. When cooked, it goes really well with fish. The feathery leaves and seeds add flavouring to cooking, just like herbs.
> Discover when fennel grows in our guide to what's in season
Figs are soft, sweet fruit, full of small seeds, and they're a great source of fibre. The skin is very thin – ripe figs do not keep or travel very well, so they are often eaten dried. Fresh figs are delicious as a snack, especially with Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. Figs are often used to make jams and chutneys or eaten in a salad with cheese – yum!
French beans, runner beans, common beans, bobby beans, string beans, Thai beans, wax beans and haricots verts are all names for different types of green bean! Wax beans aren't even green – they can be yellow or purple! Green beans are picked when they are very young – they should be bright in colour and firm. If the pods are bendy, they won't taste sweet and crunchy. To eat the beans, the ends should be chopped off – this is called topping and tailing. They only need to be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes then they are ready to eat.
Did you know garlic can help keep mosquitoes away?! And yes, garlic can make your breath smell a bit ... garlicky! We eat all different parts of plants and when it comes to garlic we eat the bulb. Open it up and you'll see lots of segments – known as cloves – with a papery covering. You only need to use one or two of these to add lots of extra flavour to food.
Red, green or purple, these fruit grow in bunches on vines. On the inside, they are sweet, juicy and jelly-like. Green grapes are also known as white grapes and are dried to make sultanas. Purple (or black) grapes are dried to make raisins. Red grapes make delicious fruit juice.
The guava fruit is widely grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It can be round or pear-shaped, with a thin skin that is green and turns yellow as it ripens. The flesh can be white or even pink, and the seeds can be eaten. Guavas contain vitamin C and lots of beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A in the body.
These little beans are white and grow all over the world. Baking them gives you baked beans – the beans are cooked in a tomato sauce! Try them on toast for breakfast. Beans are great for giving you energy. Instead of baked potatoes with your usual baked beans, try our recipe using kidney beans.
These bright yellow fruit grow on trailing vines along the ground. There are thousands of different kinds of melon – they all have a hard outside, which you cannot eat, and a juicy sweet inside that is delicious to eat straight from the fridge on a hot day.
There are many, many kinds of lettuce to choose from. Iceberg lettuce has a cool, crisp taste. It adds lots of crunch to a sandwich! Iceberg lettuce leaves can make a good wrapper for other foods – try wrapping one around a piece of cheese or a boiled egg. Other types of lettuce can be curly, dark green or even red!
Finding a fruit beginning with I is pretty tough – but there are fruits across the world that are! One example is the Illama fruit that grows in Central America. It’s a large fruit with a hard exterior, but when you cut it in half you can scoop out the sweet flesh inside.
The knobbly Jerusalem artichoke isn't an artichoke and doesn't come from Jerusalem! It tastes similar to an artichoke which is where it gets its name. It is related to the pretty sunflower. The bit we eat is an ugly little tuber (like a small thin potato). The yummy white flesh inside tastes amazing.
Jackfruit grow on – you guessed it – jack trees and can grow up to around 55kg! Canned jackfruit is used as an alternative to meat because it has a mild taste and meaty texture. People also use beans as a substitute for meat, like this tasty bean burger.
Hairy on the outside and soft in the middle, the kiwi is one of the few fruits that are green when ripe. One kiwi fruit contains all the vitamin C you need for the whole day. Vitamin C helps your body to heal cuts and bruises, and to fight colds.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. It’s usually green but can also be purple. Kale can be boiled, steamed, fried, baked or even eaten raw! It’s in season all year round.
These are in the same family as onion and garlic – they are allium vegetables. Leeks need to be washed well to remove any dirt and grit between the white sections. You can boil or steam leeks to add to a recipe or stir fry them with other vegetables. They are in season in the UK during the winter months and are a good source of fibre.
In 1747, Scottish doctor James Lind proved that eating citrus fruit could prevent scurvy. Today, lemons are still a great source of vitamin C. You can squeeze out the juice and mix it with water to make a zingy drink or use lemon to boost the flavour in savoury dishes such as risotto.
There are many varieties of melon – honeydew, cantaloupe and galia – to name a few. The flesh of these different melons, which is the bit we eat, comes in different colours. Cantaloupe is usually orange because it's high in beta-carotene, honeydew is usually pale-green to yellow and galia is usually a deeper green. But watermelon is not actually a melon, just a distant relative. Its flesh is usually pink as it is high in the antioxidant lycopene. Melons grow on a vine and have a strong outer skin to protect them, which we don't eat. Melon goes well chopped up in a fruit salad, adding lots of colour and flavour. It's very refreshing as a snack in the summer too!
Mangoes come in many different shapes and sizes. There are more than 2,500 different kinds of mango and they are an excellent source of vitamin C. Peel off the skin to eat the soft, juicy flesh inside. Why not add some to your next stir-fry? Can you guess which country grows the most mangoes in the world? Click here to find out.
Although mushrooms are not fruit or vegetables (they are actually a type of fungus), they still count as one of your 5 A DAY. They are tasty on toast with scrambled eggs and a grilled tomato.
> Make stuffed mushroom cat faces
Your brain looks like a giant walnut. To make it grow it needs protein, which is found in nuts! A nut is actually a fruit, or the seed of a fruit. There are lots of different kinds but they all have a hard, dry shell around a kernel (the part of the nut you eat). A Brazil nut tree can live for 500 years!
WARNING: Children under five years should not be given whole or chopped nuts due to the risk of choking. And don't eat nuts if you are allergic to them!
A type of peach with a thin, smooth skin and firm flesh. Be gentle with them! They bruise easily and the fruit will go bad where the bruise is.
One of the most popular fruits in the world. They grow well in countries such as Spain and Italy, where for much of the year it's hot and sunny during the day and cooler at night. A glass of pure orange juice counts as one of your 5 A DAY. Try cutting an orange into quarters and freezing it to make a healthy, cool treat.
If green olives are left on the tree, they turn black. Olives come in many sizes and flavours, so experiment to find the ones you like best.
You may well recognise red, yellow, green and orange peppers, but did you know that some are even white or purple? If you're not fond of the way one colour tastes, try another. The green ones are less sweet – red peppers are actually ripened green peppers. They are delicious roasted!
Petit pois, mangetout, sugar snap and marrowfat are all fancy names for different types of pea. Thousands of tonnes of garden peas are grown in the UK every year to make frozen peas. A bag of these can come in handy if you've had a bump but eating them is best of all.
If you buy peanuts in their shells, they are called monkey nuts – because monkeys love them! Birds and squirrels like them too. Peanuts belong to the same family as peas and beans, and grow underground.
WARNING: Children under five years should not be given whole or chopped nuts due to the risk of choking. And don't eat nuts if you are allergic to them!
From the same family as apples but softer. Pears can be yellow, green, reddish or brown on the outside but they all have white, juicy flesh inside. One of the best-loved English pears is Conference.
It can take two years to grow a pineapple – so savour them! This rough, spiky fruit is actually made up of lots of smaller fruit that have stuck together. Explorers chose the name because they thought the fruit looked like a pinecone.
Although we associate pumpkins with Halloween, they’re a versatile fruit that can be boiled, baked, roasted or mashed, and make delicious soups and the classic American pumpkin pie. They have plenty of beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A in our bodies. It's the beta-carotene that gives pumpkins their orange colour. Pumpkin seeds can also be roasted and eaten as a tasty snack, or sprinkled over yoghurt, and are a good source of essential fatty acids – the good fats.
This fruit comes from the same family as pear, but can't be eaten raw. Slices of quince go well with apple in desserts such as apple crumble. Quince smells of perfume when cooked, and some people use it as an air freshener.
While some radishes are small and red, others are large, white and shaped like carrots. Some of the red ones have pretty names like Cherry Belle and Scarlet Globe. Radishes give salad a real ZING! They have a peppery taste and are really crunchy.
Nearly half of all the world's raisins come from California in the US. Raisins are black grapes that have been dried in the sun. Sultanas are produced the same way, but with green grapes. Mini boxes of raisins are a great snack.
Rhubarb was used in Asia long before it was first eaten in Britain. People sometimes grew it in their gardens just because it looked nice! It can be mixed with sweeter fruit like apple. Rhubarb is lovely stewed on its own, but you could also use it as a delicious pancake topping.
WARNING: Don't eat the leaves as they are poisonous!
Anyone for tennis? Followed by strawberries of course. Around 25,000kg of strawberries are eaten at the famous Wimbledon tennis tournament each year. The strawberry is actually a member of the rose family! They are the only fruit to have their seeds on the outside – one strawberry can have as many as 200 seeds.
Satsumas, like clementines and mandarins, are types of tangerine. They grow on trees and grow best in warm weather. The heavier the fruit, the juicier it is.
These grow best in tropical places where the weather is warm. They are famous for appearing in lots of Caribbean recipes! They come in all kinds of knobbly shapes and, just like the name suggests, they are sweeter than ordinary potatoes. Try them baked with beans or cheese.
The long debate – is it a fruit or a vegetable? Answer – it’s definitely a fruit and that’s because it has seeds and grows from the flower of a plant. Take your pick from well-known cherry, beef or plum tomatoes, but keep a lookout for exciting Caspian Pink, Big Mama and Sunrise Bumble Bee varieties. Pop some small, sweet tomatoes in salads or lunchboxes as a tasty snack. Tomatoes are easy to grow in a pot in the garden or on a windowsill, too.
According to folklore, turnips were used as jack o' lanterns long before pumpkins! The turnip is sometimes confused with its bigger relative, the swede. Both are lovely cooked in a stew, or boiled then mashed, or roasted. Raw turnip can be grated into a salad.
An ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin. It's about the size of a grapefruit but tastes a bit sweeter and has a wrinkly skin that peels easily. This fruit comes from Jamaica and is also grown in the US. Despite its name, it's not that ugly although it can look strange because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough and puffy, and sometimes a bit blotchy.
Plums come in all sorts of colours but Victoria plums are dark red. They are grown in England and are sweet when eaten raw or can be cooked in tarts and crumbles.
This is a leaf from the vines that grapes grow on – and these leaves CAN be eaten! They are picked when young then cooked slightly to soften them. They are used like wrapping paper to make tasty little parcels filled with things such as rice or finely chopped vegetables. We eat lots of leaves like salad or herbs.
Watercress is grown in water! Top tip – it will last longer in the fridge if it's kept in a jar of water. It's tastiest in the three Ss: salads, sandwiches and soups. Try saying that quickly! You can also get garden cress that is grown in soil.
Watermelons grow along the ground and they can be enormous. They contain lots of water and make a refreshing snack. The flesh is usually pink as it is high in lycopene, an antioxidant.
The skin of a yam is thick and rough like the bark of a tree! Yams are a bit like potatoes but their flesh can be white, yellow or even purple. They grow in hot countries in the Caribbean and Africa, where people mash them up and eat them in spicy stews and soups. Unbelievably, a yam can grow to be heavier than a human adult!
This citrus fruit is similar to lemon and is commonly used in Japanese food. Just like lemon, yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit on its own (it would be very sour!), but instead used to flavour other food.
The American name for a courgette. Courgettes come from the squash family and grow into marrows if not picked early. They look quite like cucumbers, have very soft seeds and can be cooked with onions, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers to make ratatouille.