Forgotten vegetables are heirloom plants that have recently become neglected, or have fallen out of favor. People often forget they are edible, perhaps because of their improbable forms, and colorful appearance.
Today, some of these vegetables have regained popularity. You can find their seeds online, or buy them fresh at the farmer’s market.
Here are eleven of the best forgotten vegetables. Learn them, cultivate them, enjoy them.
This is an alternative to the standard potato. It was often used during the first World War.
Like the Jerusalem artichoke, its peculiar taste and floury texture is linked to its depreciation throughout the years. Some have compared the flavor to that of turnips, cabbage, and even potatoes.
Its rounded shape, yellow and green bi-color shades, are reminiscent of the turnip.
It is still difficult to find in grocery stores, however seeds can be purchased online as well.
Chorogi, also known as the Chinese artichoke, is a small root vegetable originally from China. It came to Europe and the Americas around the 1800s.
Its atypical shape can be compared to that of a big white caterpillar.
Widely consumed during the wars of the last century, it was subsequently abandoned from Westerners due to this connotation.
Yet, chorogi has a fine flavor. Its slightly sweet taste reminds us of salsify.
It can be found in high-end grocery stores, as well as Asian markets.
Close to the artichoke (hence the name), it was widely cultivated during the Second World War because it could be sowed throughout the year, even in the poorest of soils.
It is often compared to potatoes, and is notoriously resistant to diseases, and bugs.
Its ugly forms and hardiness has excluded this vegetable from most people’s plates.
The Jerusalem Artichoke is primarily found in organic stores, and specialty websites.
Salsify is often scorned for its fibrous texture, slightly sweet flavor and difficulty to peel.
It is difficult to find in its fresher state, however salsify is often sold canned or frozen.
Originally from France, Vitelotte is an ancient cultivar of blue-violet potato.
This small potato with quirky forms is characterized by its natural and amazing purple color.
This root vegetable has a purple heart, and develops a very sweet flavor.
It is cooked like any other potato (fries, mashed, etc.).
Vitelotte potatoes can be found in specialty markets.
The leaves of this tuberous chervil are toxic. Only the root can be eaten. Don’t confuse this vegetable with garden chervil (also known as French parsley), an herb whose leaves can actually be consumed.
The turnip chervil bulb looks like a small carrot, with white flesh. Its flavor is similar to that of chestnuts and potatoes.
These turnips are hard to find in their finished state. However, many online shops sell the seeds, so you can cultivate your own.
The common sorrel is often used like parsley, and had its heydays during the time of Louis XIV in France.
Her long green rounded leaves are reminiscent of spinach.
The garden sorrel grows in the ground. Its leaves are 5 to 6 inches on average.
Lovers of tart flavors can enjoy sorrel in soups or broths.
It has grown in popularity, which leads to grocery stores carrying it more and more. You can find it usually chopped, or whole.
Parsnip is one of the oldest cultivated vegetable on Earth. You can also sow it throughout the year. This big white root resembles a plump carrot.
Parsnips develop fruity flavors, similar to carrots. It also contains many vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fibers.
Grocery stores usually sell them during the winter.
The cardoon, also known as the artichoke thistle, has many cultivated varieties. It is native from the central Mediterranean region. It is notable for its large ribbed green leaves.
Its taste is close to that of the artichoke, with some added bitterness. The vegetable is usually boiled or served cold. Stems can be served battered and fried.
Farmers’ markets often sell cardoon between May and July.
Grown on saline land as on the Atlantic coast.
Salicornia is a genus of plants with species across North America, Europe, Africa and South Asia. Its name means “horn of salt.” You can therefore guess that it has an iodized taste.
The long, thin shape resembles a bean, which is why it’s also nicknamed “sea bean.”
It is highly edible, and can be cooked or eaten raw.
They are easily found in supermarkets and even restaurants (under its nickname).
The romanesco broccoli’s origins can be traced back to Italy.
This green cabbage looks like a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli. It has a compact head, with a sharp geometric surface, bristling with beautiful florets.
It is valued for its softness and sweetness.
Increasingly present on the shelves, you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding it, either fresh or frozen.