Alphabet of vegetables

From asparagus to yam, roast up a treat tonight

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | V | W | Y

A-Z of fruit - Asparagus

Asparagus

Asparagus is a shoot vegetable – we eat the stalk and the tip. It can make a dish look more interesting with its unusual shape. Asparagus is a good source of a vitamin called folate, which is important for healthy blood.

A-Z of fruit - Beetroot

Beetroot

The root of the beet plant, which explains its name. People have grown it for food since Roman times. Raw beetroot is best for you and great for grating – peel it first. Try it in a salad or sandwich.

A-Z of fruit - Black-eyed bean

Black-eyed beans

In America, these beans are often 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. You can mix them with all sorts of other beans to make a salad.

A-Z of Vegetables - Broad Beans

Broad beans

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.

A-Z of fruit - Broccoli

Broccoli

Closely related to cabbage. We eat the flowerhead of the plant, which can be purple or green. It is great steamed and thrown into a salad or stir-fry.

A-Z of fruit - Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts

These are like mini cabbages and contain a lot of vitamin C. They grow out of the ground in knobbly rows on a long tough stalk.

A-Z of fruit - Carrot

Carrots

A favourite of many family mealtimes, carrots are a versatile root vegetable, which can be used in all sorts of dishes – from casseroles to cakes. Raw carrots are a great snack to have at hand. They contain lots of beta-carotene, which helps keep eyes and skin healthy.

A-Z of fruit - Dill

Dill

More of a herb than a vegetable, dill has wispy, fernlike green leaves, which are a tasty addition to salad dressings, fish dishes and pickles.

A-Z of fruit - Endive

Endive

The endive, a member of the lettuce family, is shaped like a bulb and has slightly bitter-tasting leaves that overlap each other. It's delicious mixed in a salad with sweet tomatoes and slices of orange.

A-Z of fruit - fennel

Fennel

This vegetable has a hint of liquorice in its flavour and when roasted in olive oil it goes really well with fish. Raw fennel is a crunchy addition to salads and you can also slice it and cook it like onion or celery to use in casseroles. The feathery leaves and seeds add flavouring to cooking, just like herbs.

A-Z of fruit - garlic

Garlic

If you eat enough garlic, you can repel mosquitoes – but you may not be so popular with those around you as it can make your breath smell! You only need to use one or two cloves to add loads of extra flavour to a dish. Evidence suggests that regularly including garlic in a diet reduces the risk of bowel cancer. Chop the garlic then wait 10–15 minutes before cooking in order to activate its health-promoting properties.

A-Z of fruit - Green Bean

Green beans

French beans, runner beans, common beans, bobby beans, string beans and Thai beans are all names for different types of green bean. Green beans are picked when they're 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 trimmed. They only need to be steamed or cooked in boiling water for a few minutes to be ready to eat. Green beans are a good source of fibre and contain beta-carotene, which helps us keep our eyes and skin healthy.

Haricot beans

These little white beans – found in cans of baked beans in most kitchen cupboards – are grown all over the world. Beans are a great source of protein as well as fibre.

A-Z of fruit - Iceberg lettuce

Iceberg lettuce

There are many kinds of lettuce to choose from. Iceberg has a cool, crisp taste and adds lots of crunch to a sandwich. Other types of lettuce can be curly, dark green or red. Iceberg lettuce leaves can make a good wrapper for other foods instead of bread.

A-Z of fruit - Jerusalem artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke

The knobbly Jerusalem artichoke is related to the sunflower. Despite its name, it isn't a type of artichoke and it doesn't come from Jerusalem. The part of it we eat is a little tuber, like a small thin potato.

A-Z of fruit - Kale

Kale

A member of the cabbage family. The leaves are dark green or sometimes purple. They contain vitamin K, which helps blood clotting, and iron, which keeps red blood cells healthy.

A-Z of fruit - Leek

Leeks

These are allium vegetables and are in the same family as onion and garlic. You can boil or steam leeks to add to a recipe, or stir-fry them with other vegetables. They are grown during winter in the UK and are a good source of fibre.

A-Z of fruit - Mushroom

Mushrooms

Although the mushroom is not a fruit or vegetable (it's actually a type of fungus!), it still counts as one of your 5 A DAY. They are tasty on toast with scrambled egg and a grilled tomato.

A-Z of fruit - Swede

Neeps

This is what swedes are called in Scotland. Neeps are round with a purple-green skin and the flesh is yellowy-orange. First peel, then you can roast, boil or steam them, but don’t let them overcook as they can turn to mush.

A-Z of fruit - Onion

Onions

This humble veggie has been eaten for thousands of years – and still makes us cry. They make a tasty addition to dishes, whether cooked or raw.

A-Z of fruit - Pea

Peas

Petit pois, mangetout, sugar snap and marrowfat are all different types of pea. Thousands of tons of garden peas are grown in the UK every year to make frozen peas, one of the UK's favourite vegetables.

A-Z of fruit - Radish

Radishes

While some radishes are small and red, others are large and white – and shaped like carrots. They all have a peppery taste and are really crunchy – great for giving salad a real zing.

A-Z of fruit - Rhubarb

Rhubarb

This pink-green, stalk-like vegetable was eaten in Asia long before it arrived in Britain. It can be mixed with sweeter fruit such as apple. Don't eat the leaves – they’re poisonous!

A-Z of fruit - sweet potato

Sweet potatoes

These tubers grow best in tropical places and crop up in lots of Caribbean recipes. They come in all kinds of knobbly shapes and are sweeter than ordinary potatoes. Try them baked, boiled or mashed.

A-Z of fruit - Turnip

Turnips

Sometimes confused with its bigger relative, the swede. Both are lovely cooked in a stew, boiled then mashed, or roasted. Raw turnip can be grated into a salad.

A-Z of fruit - Vine leaves

Vine leaves

These are leaves from the vines on which grapes grow. They are picked when they are quite young and then cooked slightly to soften them. They are used like a wrapping paper to make little parcels filled with rice or finely chopped vegetables.

A-Z of fruit - Watercress

Watercress

A peppery leaf, which goes well in salads, sandwiches and soups. It will last longer in the fridge if it is kept in a bowl or jar of water.

A-Z of fruit - Yams

Yam

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 are grown in parts of the Caribbean and Africa, where people often mash them up and eat them in spicy stews and soups. A yam can grow to be heavier than a human!

Which ones have you tried? Can you taste a rainbow today?