Think You Know Your Veggies? Take This Produce IQ Test And Find Out!



I imagine readers of this blog to be pretty savvy when it comes to produce, but take a look at the unusual vegetables I photographed yesterday at Berkeley Bowl, one of America’s premiere produce markets. Most every time I shop there, I see something new to me, and many of these veggies would have stumped me before I became a devoted Berkeley Bowl shopper. After the jump, you’ll see photos of ten vegetables.  How many do you recognize? The answers are at the end of this post, but try not to look until you’ve finished attempting to identify all ten.  Leave a comment, and let other readers know how well you did! In a future post, we’ll look at exotic fruits.

Photo above: Mystery vegetable number ten may not be what it appears to be at first glance.



(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)


Mystery Veggie No. 1.

Mystery Veggie No. 2.

Mystery Veggie No. 3.

Mystery Veggie No. 4.

Mystery Veggie No. 5.

Mystery Veggie No. 6.

Mystery Veggie No. 7.

Mystery Veggie No. 8.

Mystery Veggie No. 9.

Mystery Veggie No. 10.



1. Fresh Garbanzo Beans.  Shell and use as you would any fresh pea or bean.  Find them where Mexican foods are sold.

2. Red Oca Potatoes, also known as New Zealand Yam, cook as you would fingerling potatoes.

3. Indian Bitter Melon.  If you like bitter, this is for you. Use in soups or stir fry.

4. Fresh Water Chestnuts. Peel first!  So much better than canned.

5. Mexican Spiny Chayote. Peel (gingerly) and use as you would any other summer squash.

6. Nagaimo– Japanese Mountain Yam, sometimes called Yamaimo. Often eaten grated raw as an accompaniment to other dishes.

7. Fiddlehead Ferns. Lima Ohsawa recommends blanching until crisp-tender, then sautéing briefly in sesame oil, seasoning with a bit of soy sauce.

8. Italian Parsley Root, used in soups and stews in central and eastern Europe.

9. Shingiku, a Japanese green sometimes called chrysanthemum leaves.  Blanch or use in soups.

10. A close look at the leaves reveals that these are not carrots, but rather radishes, Cincinnati radishes to be exact.



Give yourself 10 points for every correct answer.

80-100 points:  Produce-wise, you are highly literate. Maybe the produce department at Berkeley Bowl has an opening!

60-70 points: Pretty good, but there’s room for improvement.

50 points or under: You need to do your homework: spend every afternoon for a week in the Berkeley Bowl produce department!

5 responses

  1. I got Garbanzo Beans, Chayote and Fiddlehead Ferns. I knew 10 wasn’t carrots before you told me, but didn’t have a clue beyond that.

  2. Hi Gary,

    Thought this quiz would be a no brainer, I shop at Berkeley Bowl all the time, however, you had me stumped with the Oca Potatoes, Indian Bitter Melon and Mexican Spiny Chayote. I am going to study hard for for the Fruit one.


  3. I got close, like in horseshoes, but never the exact name. I feel I got two. Hitting the nail on the head. with Bitter Melon and Water Chestnuts. Maybe I might have cheated a little when I said Squash, it’s like a Japanese Yam. It’s all in the family.


  4. I got the water chestnuts and the fiddleheads. I recognized the nagaimo from the Asian market we have here, but at first I thought it might be lotus root. I used to live in S. Florida, and we had plenty of chayote (aka christophene) there, but it was a different variety apparently, but ours didn’t have all those spines.

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