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Rare Vegetables and Fruits You Can Only Grow

You won’t find these at the grocery store! These rare vegetables and fruits are difficult to find unless you grow them yourself. Of the thousands of food options out there, here are some of my favorites.

Radish Beans Are a Rare Vegetable You Can Only Grow
radish beans

When it comes to the grocery store, produce is not chosen based on its taste. Fruits and vegetables are selected based on their size and ability to travel and store well, For example, you know and recognize the orange carrot. But if I grow them, I will grow the red heirloom varieties for their sweet flavor.

Or tomatoes. Traditional sun-ripened varieties taste the best, and the varieties available in the grocery store don’t even come close to competing.

Yes, these rare vegetables that you can only grow don’t ship or store well. This is why you won’t see them at the grocery store. But if you don’t grow them yourself, you’ll never be able to taste their magnificence.

There are approximately 1.25 lakh plants which we can use for agricultural purposes. So, of course, I’m only going to name a handful. Use this list of rare vegetables and fruits as a starting point for your own edible garden.

Golden raspberry is an unusual fruit
golden raspberry

need for agricultural diversity

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that we only use 3% Out of 1.25 lakh plants available for agricultural use, What’s more, ¾ of the world’s food supply depends on just 12 mega crops, including rice, wheat and maize.

Although our food system is highly productive, it is extremely fragile. For example, take a look at bananas. During the late 19th century, the most popular banana variety was the Gros Michel, known for its flavor and resistance to bruising.

However, during the 1950s, a disease called Panama disease (banana wilt) spread and destroyed commercial banana production. This forced growers to switch to a new disease-resistant variety, Cavendish. Which now accounts for about 47% of global banana production and could be destroyed by another train of banana blight.

Another famous example is the Great Famine in Ireland. One-third of Ireland’s population depended on potatoes for food and potato blight affected most crops. an estimated 1 million people Died as a direct result, either due to disease or starvation.

By focusing on only a few highly productive crops, we are becoming more and more vulnerable. Extreme droughts, floods, varying temperatures and disease outbreaks have become common due to climate change and diversity is the best way to be resilient.

Unusual Vegetables to Grow at Home
Nettle is actually an extremely green plant, but most people consider it a weed.

Rare Vegetables and Fruits to Grow at Home

These unusual vegetables and plants are difficult to find, even in some cases at a garden center. Often times, you can get them from another gardener. Community gardens are great places to share plants!


Also known as Jerusalem artichoke edible tubers that can be cooked and eaten like potatoes, Above ground, they grow very tall, sunflower-like flowers. They can grow up to 5-10 feet tall.

The tubers are very abundant, coming back year after year, even when you think you’ve harvested them all. They are very low maintenance.

They taste slightly nutty and should be eaten in moderation as they cause gas and bloating.

Rare Vegetables to Grow
Harvest sunchokes in the fall.

radish beans

While radishes may be a very popular vegetable, their seed pods are a lesser known way to enjoy the vegetable. I discovered radish pods after volunteering at UBC to teach inner-city kids about gardening. Their gardens will be left alone in the summer, meaning Radish will become seeds even without cutting.

Radish pods taste slightly spicy and look similar to edamame. you can Eat them raw like snap peas Or add them to stir-fries, soups or salads.

One type of fruit

Yes, you can technically get rhubarb at the grocery store. But most people don’t do this because it is not the specific type of plant you are looking for. Instead, you usually have a plant in your backyard, or you’re gifted some rhubarb… and you realize you have to do something with it!

But I highly recommend that we start making rhubarb more mainstream. It is very fertile, it is easy to grow, and it is perennial.

Vegetables You Can Only Grow
Only the stalks of rhubarb should be eaten.

Egyptian walking onions

The idea for this article started with Egyptian walking onions because you can’t actually buy them. I inherited my own garden from a community garden. And once you have them, you’ll be ready.

They get their name from their unusual way of growing. The blooms at the top of the flower turn into small bulbs called aerial bulbils. As the plant becomes heavy, they drop down until the smaller bulbs fall to the ground. They slowly roam around the garden and plant saplings themselves.

ground cherries

Ground cherries grow underground, with lots of dark green leaves and small yellow flowers that turn into golden, cherry-sized fruits.

Their flavor is similar to tomatillos with a hint of pineapple flavor. And unlike some of the other unusual vegetables on this list, they keep for up to 3 months in paper husks. They have built-in storage with paper straws.

pile of pitted cherries with husks
All plants including ground cherries Physalis The genus has a papery bran known as a calyx.

luffa gourd

It is possible that you may have a gourd in your house and you might not have realized it. These exotic vegetables are actually most commonly used as organic shower loofahs, but they are also edible.

They grow on very strong vines. You can eat them when they are small and tender and they taste like summer squash. When they are left to mature, they become fibrous and can be dried into these natural shower loofahs.


Tayberry is a blend of raspberry and blackberry. When fully ripe, they taste very sweetBut you have to get the timing right, otherwise they will turn quite sour.

These berries will turn to mush and fall apart soon after you pick them. These are best eaten straight from the vine and will not ripen once picked.

But in the end, I personally think they are more delicious than both raspberries and blackberries!

Rare Fruits and Vegetables to Grow at Home
These berries take longer to ripen and should be slightly soft so that they are not too sour.


You may know these small green fruits as mouse melons or Mexican sour cucumbers. It was a common fruit eaten by the Aztec people and has lost popularity over the years. but they look like Watermelons the size of small grapes!

The taste of cucumber is almost like sour cucumber. I like to pickle them or add them to salads. Or straight out of the vine and into my mouth.

A large number of cucumbers grow in the garden
Eat the whole cucumber, taking the peel, seeds and fruit into your mouth.

honorable mention

As I mentioned, I could add many rare vegetables and other foods to the list. Here are some unusual vegetables and plants worth mentioning:

  • sorrel
  • mulberry
  • salmonberry
  • Saskatoon Berries
  • tomatillo
  • Foreigner
  • winter radish
  • green amaranth
  • gomi berry
gomi berry
Gomi Berry (elegans multiflora,

Consider Growing More Food


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