Nothing beats the expression of your friend if you give him some really weird looking or bizarre fruit and ask him to taste it. This alone is reason enough to incorporate a couple of rarer vegetables into your garden.
Why not stick with the normal stuff?
You now might think to yourself: “Why would I ever want to grow some weird fruit, if I can just have my amazing tomatoes instead?”
Well, to be honest, there is no real reason besides tasting and testing the variety easily available to us. There might be a fruit or vegetable out there which exactly hits your taste, but you don’t even know of it. That’s enough for a reason to just go ahead and try out whatever I can get my hands on, in the end even if you don’t like whatever comes from your weird plant you can still just feed it to your friends, giving them a great time figuring out how the hell you are supposed to eat some of these beauties.
Where do I get these weird plants?
Well nothing easier than that, you can just buy seeds through online seed delivery services like Rareseeds. Alternatively, your local garden center can sometimes have quite an impressive repertoire. In the last couple years it got quite easy to get your hands on rares seeds, so just give it a quick google search and order some of these amazing plants.
But let’s not beat around the bush any longer and dive into my top 15 bizarre vegetables to add to your garden.
Romanesco Broccoli, also known as Roman cauliflower, Broccolo Romanesco or Romanesque cauliflower has one of the most memorable structures in the vegetable kingdom.
While it’s amazing shape is closely related to the golden ratio, Romanesco is not only mesmerizing for math geeks but makes for a great decorative side dish. Being classified as somewhat in between Cauliflower and Broccoli this Flower bud can be grown in temperate climate zones with very similar requirements to its cousins.
Black Beauty Tomato
The black color of these tomatoes is caused by their high antioxidant (anthocyanin) content also present in blue- and blackberries.
This deep black tomato is among the best tasting of all tomatoes with a strong rich and earthy flavor. Besides, its amazing fruits, it’s also easy to grow and know for its fast-growing robust nature.
I like to eat its fruit straight from to bush, but they also make a nice addition to a salad. Whichever way you want to use them in the end, if you live in a temperate zone give them a go.
Black Nebula Carrot
Honestly, I am not a huge carrot fan and didn’t really want to grow any, but after seeing the beautiful color of these carrots with the delicate white patterns I just couldn’t resist and added them to my “want to grow” list.
Besides their name alone is reason enough to grow them, giving you the free bragging right to say “I grow Nebula carrots, and you?” every time someone asks you about your garden.
Enjoy these carrots raw, use them to make a salad, for juicing, or give your cooking a nice purple touch, but be careful if you choose to cook them, expect the water to have a nice blueish color, but don’t worry the carrot will still be purple (Note: It can actually be used as a dye).
Pawpaw is actually the largest fruit native to North America (mostly found in the eastern US/Canada) and was once widely used as a staple in early settlers diets. Sadly it’s become quite rare and is now considered a delicacy.
Pawpaw is a small tree reaching a height of 35 feet (11 m) producing large green-yellow fruits weighing up to 18 ounces (0.5kg). The fruits have a sweet exotic taste somewhat similar to bananas, mangoes, and cantaloupe which will ripen around late August to mid-September. They do however not stay fresh for long and need to be consumed fast after harvest.
Purple of Sicily Cauliflower
I really enjoy having very common vegetables and fruits in some very uncommon color, purple cauliflower is no exception to this. The purple version tastes similar to normal cauliflower but tends to be just a bit sweeter with a nutty flavor and less bitter.
Grown in similar condition as its normal brother, this cauliflower can easily be grown in temperate zones, produces an impressive flower and is nearly immortal (please don’t try to test this statement).
These little strawberries turn the normal color scheme of strawberries completely on its head, and I love it. This crossbreed of the south American Fragaria chiloensis and the North American Fragaria virginiana has a very distinct white color with red seeds, making for a very unique strawberry.
So unique actually that it’s still believed this strawberry doesn’t exist and is just an April fools joke (quite a funny story caused by Waitrose(distributor in the UK) announcing this strawberry right before 1. April). If that is not enough of an invitation to grow them and surprise your friends with a real unreal fruit than I don’t know what is.
Growing your own Pineberries is quite simple, they need almost identical conditions like normal strawberries, but will require a pollinator plant (just a regular strawberry) for every 4 Pineberries.
I actually never really considered Physalis, also known as ground-cherries, as a rare fruit, I’ve known them since I was a child and ate them on several occasions throughout the year, like any other more common fruit.
With that being said, Physalis is an essential addition to your garden once you learned to love its sourish sweet taste. While they are tricky to germinate (here is a guide to help you get started) once established they will self-sow. Groundcherries can be eaten directly from your garden, and the few ones that actually survive this feasting can be used in fruit salads or dried for later usage.
These are quite some exotic fruits and odds are you’ve never heard of it. Rambutan is best described as a hairy Lychee having a sweet/sour taste. Sadly this tree is adapted to grow in tropical to subtropical climates like California and Florida but can be kept in a greenhouse or indoors. Be careful to keep your tree warm temperatures below 50°F(10°C) will kill it in a matter of days.
Glass Gem Corn
This corn looks light straight out of the candy store, but let me assure you it’s not just some random jellybean monster shaped like an ear of corn, it actually grows on a plant. This corn can be used as both Popcorn and decoration for your next film evening.
Glass Gem Corn is relatively easy to grow and can be achieved even without any experience with Corn. Just give it a go and enjoy the most colorful and mesmerizing ears out there.
You might think these look like bottles, then you are completly correct, Calabash also called Bottle gourd for obvious reasons is manly grown to be dried. Young fruits can be eaten, but this plant makes for amazing containers after its dried.
This is one of the few plants which can be actually both your food and your plate, a trait not many plants can claim.
This Beet has a nice alternating pattern similar to candy cane (it’s also known as candy striped beet) and is native to Italy and adds a nice touch to soups or salads.
Another similarity to candy cane is the sweet flavor of Chioggia. This Beet also “bleeds” far less than normal beets, but is prepared identically to your normal everyday beetroot.
Also known as Horned Melon this monster literally looks like an alien. That being said this plant likes to take over pretty much anything in its vicinity, so keep it far away from your other vegetables.
A single plant will provide you with a lot of these interesting fruits tasting like a mix of cucumber and kiwi (when it ripens a banana taste will also be present).
This is one of those fruits you can give your friends and let them figure out how you actually eat this thing. The proper way is to cut it in half and squeeze out the seeds with the green slime-like flesh, then, you can just remove the seeds and enjoy your fresh alien-goo.
Anyone with Trypophobia will have nightmares about this root, but besides its weird appearance is part of the nice-looking aquatic lotus flower. The holes are actually needed for cellular respiration of oxygen.
Lotus flowers need to be planted in a Mud/Water mixture and can be grown in zones 4-10, both in containers and in a pond. They are relatively easy to grow and mostly care for themselves in warmer climates. Here is a small guide to get you Lotus started.
Being the only member of the mallow family to bear fruits, tasting somewhat like eggplant and asparagus. This plant is native to Africa and has its fair share of uses, the fruits can be prepared in many different ways, but they will lose their color when cooked.
To grow Red okra simply prepare seedling 6 weeks before the last frost and transplant them once temperatures hit around 68°F(20°C). Sometimes the Okra seeds are hard to germinate and should be soaked overnight before planting. You will start to see Pods after 8 weeks after transplanting.
These little black berries are part of the poisonous nightshade family, but produces edible berries (unripe green berries are poisonous – not that you’d ever volunteer to eat them, as they are very bitter). While not being great on there own these small berries are a great for pies, muffins or as jam.
Wonderberries are not frost-tolerant, grow relatively fast and produce throughout summer until autumn, requiring similar care to tomatoes or peppers.
Naked Man Orchid
I just couldn’t help myself to add this flower, even though its neither a vegetable nor a fruit. I hope you enjoy this slightly inappropriate flower.
But wait what is that thing in your featured image?
Hala aka Puhala or Hala fruit is in fact not a pineapple thrown in radioactive waste but rather the fruit of the Pandanus tectorius native to the Pacific Islands. It’s said to have a sweet sugarcane-like taste and is used for food, medicine as well as dye. A similar Plant native to North Amerca is called Osage orange.
If you haven’t found anything you like in my List here are some more suggestions, I can’t go into more details with those, but there might be some you want to add to your garden. If you’ve ever grown a “weird” vegetable and want to share it leave a comment below and share what you liked about it.
- White Watermelon
- Atomic Orange Corn
- Fastigiata Pin Striped Peanut
- Sunchoke (I really like those)
- Burr gherkins
- Black Radish
- Dragon Carrot
- Chinese Artichokes