Early this morning (before the heat and humidity set in, again), I explored the Frog & PenguINN vegetable garden to see what was in bloom. Regular followers will know this has been a bountiful season, thanks to Grenville’s gardening talents. As some blog visitors are also gardeners and photographers, I put together a “quiz” by posting flower photos of what was in the garden, and letting you all “guess” what vegetable (or fruit as they are more correctly called) would be the end result. (YES, I will give “answers” but not until the next blog post. Grenville said he will give PRIZES.)
I found out that we’ve been growing a lot of fruit in our vegetable garden. Why you may wonder – or maybe you already knew this. Botanically speaking, anything with an enclosed seed that develops from a flower and grows on top of the soil is considered a fruit. But, many of these so-called fruits are are usually perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Learn something every day!
Here goes -- HOW many can you identify?
The flower displays first, followed by the clue.
CLUE #1 -The fruit from this flower is known scientifically as Cucumis sativus. This plant belongs to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash. It’s usually eaten in the unripe green form and is over 90% water; ripe yellow ones can be bitter. It is a creeping vine that roots in the ground. The large leaves form a canopy over the fruit to hide it.
CLUE #2 - This vegetable is also a fruit with an outer yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. It can be be roasted, toasted, pureed in a colorful soup, or mashed into soups, casseroles, breads, and muffins. Its taste is sweet and nutty,similar to a pumpkin. It grows on a vine.
CLUE #3 - This plant is native to India, Pakistan, Nepal. The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and has many small, soft seeds, which are edible, but bitter as they contain nicotinoid alkaloids. The fruit is fleshy, with a meaty texture and often used as a vegetable in cooking. Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape and color, especially purple, green, white and even orange varieties. This plant is a member of the family Solanaceae (also called nightshades) and is closely related to the tomato.
CLUE #4- The fruit of this flower also belongs to the nightshade family. The fruit is eaten raw or as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces, or drinks. While botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes, which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in an antioxidant, lycopene (an enzyme said to counteract the damaging effects of oxygen in tissues) and may have beneficial health effects.
CLUE #5 - The color can be green, red, yellow, orange and even white, rainbow (between stages of ripening) and purple, depending on when they are harvested and the specific cultivar. Green are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange. The taste of ripe ones can vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage; the sweetest ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and ripened in storage are less sweet.
CLUE #6 - This plant produces a legume that is flat, oblong and slightly curved, averaging about 3 inches long. Within the pod are the two to four flat kidney-shaped seeds that are generally cream or green in color, although certain varieties feature colors like white, red, purple, brown or black.
CLUE #7 - This flower produces a bulbous shaped vegetable with bumpy, yellow skin and sweet flesh. It is a short-season bearer and is high in fiber and vitamin C. The rich flavor makes it a great filler in a wide range of dishes, alone or as a side dish. When cut open, it has pale yellow flesh and seeds. The seeds and skin are edible with a sweet, slightly nutty taste. It is a good choice for summer grilling, gratins, and similar dishes. It can also be eaten raw and adds a nice texture to salads when grated.
HAVE FUN !
ANSWERS will be in the next post with photos of both the flower and the veggie or fruit (whichever you prefer).