Eating Every Part of the Plant

We're all familiar with spinach and chard, and many of us may partake in the leafy greens attached to roots like beets, turnips, and radishes. But the leaves of other vegetable plants are also worth exploring. As this chart shows, many routinely tossed plant parts are actually edible, and Chowhounds say some are downright delicious.

Sweet potato leaves were a revelation to racer x. "Where have these been all my life?" asks racer x, who had them blanched and stir-fried with garlic, shallots, dried red chiles, chives, and oyster and soy sauces, and who says the resulting dish was delicious. ipsedixit likens the flavor to mild kale, and says that if you blanch the leaves and then marinate them in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and minced garlic, "you have a dish made for kings."

It's not just roots that supply delicious greens, though. "I actually like chayote squash leaves more than I like the squash itself," says tastesgoodwhatisit. "They're called dragon whisker vegetables in Chinese, and they are fantastic blanched and used in salads." And JungMann uses chile pepper leaves, a bitter green, in soups.

It may be difficult to source these less common vegetable parts unless you grow them yourself, but some Asian markets do carry sweet potato leaves.

Discuss: Sweet Potato Leaves -- Yum!
Vegetable Offal ... do you partake?

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