Vegetables is a category of food which can be obtained from any part of plant which is edible, the edible parts can be stem, leaves, flowers, roots, tubers and sometimes fruits. Only those fruits fall under vegetables category which is not sweet like Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Egg Plant, Squash and different types of beans.
We are going to study them as per the category they fall in, below are the following category of vegetables.
- Stem Vegetables
- Leaves Vegetables
- Flowers Vegetables
- Stalk or Bulb Vegetables
- Seed Vegetables (Beans)
- Roots Vegetables
- Tubers Vegetables
- Fruits Vegetables
- Fungi Vegetables
It is an edible part of the plant which is shoots from the roots or bulb and it always grows above the ground unlike roots or bulb. Not all stem of every vegetable plant is edible. Some of the stem which are popular in our household and among the chefs are Asparagus, Celery, Kohlrabi, Leek, Rhubarb (it is actually a fruit), etc.
Plants which has edible leaves fall under this category, the leaves can be all separate or very compact like cabbage, mostly the leaves is needed to be cooked before it is ready to eat but sometimes it can be consumed raw like cabbage which is eaten raw in the form of salad. Some example of leaves vegetables are Spinach, Cabbage, Water Cress, Lettuce, Bok Choy, Gai Lan, Choy Sum, Brussels Sprouts, Witloof, Silverbeet, Radicchio, Kale, Collard Leaves, Swiss Chard, Mustard Leaves, Fenugreek Leaves, etc.
Some plants have flowers which is actually used as vegetables in culinary world, these are seasonal and are found during a particular season of the year and such plants are only grown for their flower buds. Some example of fruit vegetable are Cauliflower, Broccoli, Courgette Flowers, Squash Blossoms, Artichoke, Agati (Dok Kae, Thailand), Banana Flower, and Lotus.
Stalk or Bulb Vegetables
This is the part of the plant which grows just below the ground and is the portion which is in between the stem and the root, the root actually comes out from the bottom of the bulb. Bulbs are generally in layers of skin like onion and they are very strong in flavor. Some examples for bulbs are Onion, Garlic, Spring Onion, Leek, Kohlrabi, Fennel and Shallots.
Seed Vegetables (Beans)
This category include legumes which is used as food, it is actually the fruit of the plant of which the seed is eaten, sometimes its peeled like green peas and sometimes it is not like French beans. It is also referred as “Podded Vegetables”. Plants which are not legumes and produce pod like fruit fall under this category. It generally grows above the ground but sometimes it grows below ground like Peanut. The list for this is very big, I will give some examples here and will write a separate post for legumes. Some example for podded vegetables are Fava Beans, Kidney Beans, Green Peas, French Beans, English Beans, Lima Beans, Licorice, Peanut, Snow Peas, Soy Beans, etc.
This category includes plants of which roots are edible and is used as vegetables. Usually long, round, and swollen taproot. Some examples of root vegetables are Beet, Carrot, Radish, Horseradish, Turnip, Celeriac, Daikon, Enset, Jicama, Konjac, Maca, Arrowroot, Chinese Water Chestnut, Taro, etc.
In this category those plant fall in which the roots are modified and enlarged in to a swollen structure that is full of nutrients, this vegetable usually grown at the end of the plant root attached as a lump of rock, e.g. potato. Some example of this category are Potato, Cassava, Sweet Potato, Taro, Jerusalem Artichoke, Yam, Yacon, Kumara, etc.
Plants of which fruits are used as vegetable fall under this category, but plant which bear sweet and fleshy fruit that are eaten raw does not fall in this category, also plants of which grains or seed of their fruit are used do not fall in this category e.g. Beans, and Legumes. Some example of this category are. Tomatoes, Avocado, Bitter Gourd, Eggplant, Caigua or Bottle Gourd, Bell Peppers, Ackee, African Eggplant, Ash Gourd or Winter Melon, Chayote, etc.
Commonly known as Mushrooms, various types of mushrooms are available of which some are edible and some are poisonous. Some examples of mushrooms are Button Mushroom, Enoki, Oyster, Shitake, Truffles, Portabello, Boletus, Chanterelles, Grifola Fondosa, Morchella, Shimeji, Straw Mushroom, Porcini, Morel, etc.