12 Unusual Fruits and Veggies You Should Grow This Year

Hand holding a dozen green and purple patterned pods of Dragon's Tongue bush beans
Photo: Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Why grow something you can find in the grocery store when you could try pink celery, pineapple strawberries, or psychedelic-color tomatoes? These unusual varieties will expand your palate and earn you some serious bragging rights.

01 of 12

Brad's Atomic Grape Tomato

Brad's Atomic Grape Tomatoes with muticolored skin sitting on worn wood tabletop
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

These bite-sized tomatoes have skin with purple, green, yellow, and red streaks. Brad's Atomic grape tomatoes have a sweet flavor and grow in clusters on indeterminate plants. You can grow these in a container or the ground. Just give them some sturdy staking or other support structure to climb up.

02 of 12

Chinese Pink Celery

Hands holding a clump of stalks of Chinese pink celery
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Your ants on a log snack is about to get a lot more colorful. Chinese pink celery is lightly sweet and has the same crunchy texture as the green celery you find in grocery stores. Even the baby plants have bright bubblegum pink stems, so you'll have exciting color throughout the growing season.

03 of 12

Dragon Tongue Bush Beans

Hand holding a dozen green and purple patterned pods of Dragon's Tongue bush beans
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Want to amp up your bean-growing game? How about a pod with chartreuse and purple patterns? Dragon Tongue bush beans can be eaten in-pod or shelled. Each pod is about 7 inches long and grows on a compact bush-type plant that stays under 2 feet tall.

04 of 12

Apollo Brokali

Man in mustard button down shirt holding large stalks of Apollo brokali in each hand
Courtesy of Burpee

If you love broccoli and kale, this hybrid will be a winner in your vegetable garden. Apollo brokali has the florets and waxy stalk of broccoli and the lacy, flavorful leaves of kale all on one plant. The compact plant grows best in full sun.

05 of 12

Heirloom Pineapple Alpine Strawberry

Alpine Strawberries (pineapple variety) growing on vine
Courtesy of reneesgarden.com

When you bite into this strawberry, you'll taste hints of pineapple and rose. Heirloom pineapple alpine strawberries grow on a mounding plant that provides small fruits all summer long. You can grow these in containers like hanging baskets and window boxes to keep them out of rabbits' reach.

06 of 12

Blue Jade Corn

Cob of Jade Blue corn with dark navy kernels on stalk
Courtesy of Trade Winds Fruit

Turn your color expectations of corn on its head. Blue Jade corn is a sweet variety that features navy blue kernels all over the cob. Each plant grows about 2–3 feet tall, making this variety a good one to grow in containers.

07 of 12

Black Nebula Carrot

Slices of Black Nebula carrots with white centers in pile on stone tabletop
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

This carrot variety will add deep, rich color to your plate. Black Nebula carrots are a deep purple that almost looks black. It keeps its color when cooked and has a white center when you cut into it.

08 of 12

Strawberry Spinach

Hands holding long stems of strawberry spinach with green leaves and red berries
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

This underused native plant is as beautiful as it is tasty. Both the leaves and the scarlet berries of this spinach relative are edible, so you can create a summery salad with just this plant alone.

09 of 12

Oyster Leaf

Curled blue-green leaves on oyster leaf plant
Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Oyster leaf is an uncommon green that has a briny, earthy flavor similar to its namesake shellfish. It can be tricky to grow when starting these plants from seed, but well worth the effort.

10 of 12

Asparagus Pea

Lime green asparagus pea pods with ruffled edges on each pod
Courtesy of Seed Savers

This vegetable isn't actually a type of pea or related to asparagus, but tastes a little like both of these veggies. Also known as the winged bean, asparagus pea produces ruffled, edible pods once its pretty red flowers are pollinated.

11 of 12

Autumn Star Kalettes

Stalk of Autumn Star kalettes with blue-green leaves and dark purple stalk
Courtesy of Johnny Seeds

A cross between Brussels sprouts and kale, kalettes give you the best of both vegetables. The leafy florets sprout all over a thick stalk. Autumn Star has blue-green foliage on the florets and a deep purple stem.

12 of 12

Silver Queen Okra

Four light green pods of Silver Queen okra on wood tabletop
Courtesy of Pinetree Garden Seeds

These pale green pods will bring mild flavor and color to homemade favorites like fried or pickled okra. Silver Queen okra pods grow to be about 6 inches long. Pick okra when it's young for the most tender texture.

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