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February is Exotic Veggies Month

February is Exotic Vegetables Month, a perfect time for us all to give a new veggie a whirl. It’s hard to do this in my household sometimes, as both my husband and my aunt only like the basic Midwestern meat and potatoes type meals, with the occasional corn or green beans thrown in. My daughter and I, however, will generally try anything once (save for cruel foods, like foie gras or dancing fish), and while I thought I was well-seasoned on my love of foods like eggplant, zucchini, and squash, I’ve seen some incredibly crazy stuff on the television show Chopped on Food Network that I’ve never even heard of, let alone tried.

So far, the only veggies I don’t care for are hot peppers (sweet ones rock my world, though), onions (though I can dig a few thin, tiny scallions), and strangely enough, tomatoes. People gawk over how I love tomato soup, ketchup, and marinara, but I can’t stand the fruits themselves. It’s all about texture, I always say, and it often is. So I’m thinking that whatever I try, the odds are that I will enjoy it. Below are some lesser-known veggies (at least, in my area) that I think I’d like to try. Are you familiar with any of them? If so, what’s your opinion of them? And do you have any other exotic veggies to suggest?

Artichoke: Okay, admittedly I’ve had artichoke/spinach dip and liked it, but I’ve never had the vegetables by themselves.

Rutabaga: This thing is supposed to taste a bit like cabbage, another vegetable that I’m not all that fond of (unless it’s raw), so I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not. That said, it’s such a fun word—it always makes me think of another funny word, Winnebago, which sounds so similar—that I’ve got to give it a shot.

Parsnips: This food always makes me think of the United Kingdom because it sounds so proper, or of the Shire from Middle Earth.

Watercress: This looks pretty scrumptious. In fact, I may have had it on salads before and not known it. I’ve seen kids grow this plant from seeds and it looks like it would be fun to cultivate and harvest, too.

Rhubarb: When I’ve seen photos of rhubarb—particularly when used in recipes, such as strawberry-rhubarb pie—it always looks so pretty and delicious. I wonder if it tastes as good as it sounds?