Unusual Foods to Grow & Eat

Purple Viking Potato - BSIA - crop.jpg

Sep 09, 2014 by British Blog

In the UK, gardening is a national pastime. Many people enjoy tending and cultivating their own fruit and vegetables, either in their own gardens or on allotments. Indeed, so popular is this trend that in some areas, the waiting lists for allotments run into decades.

However, even the most dedicated gardener sometimes wonders what they can grow next. While blackcurrants, raspberries, peas, beans, radishes, apples, pears and plums are all wonderful, what about something a little different? Here are some fruit and vegetables that are easy to grow in British conditions, and taste great too - why not try a few?

 

Mulberries

The mulberry has been grown in Britain since Tudor times, but its popularity has waned and it is now rare to find these delicious, succulent fruits in mainstream shops. Ironically, the mulberry is very easy to grow, and can even be kept in a container for ten years or so, as long as it is watered well in summer.

 

Tomatillos

Not, as the name might suggest, a type of tomato but actually a small fruit with a sweet, citrus flavour. Popular in Mexican food, the tomatillo is what gives salsa verde its zing. Tomatillo plants are tough, although they need good drainage, are easy to grow and the fruit freezes well.

 

Chilean guava

Chilean guava was a favourite of Queen Victoria, who had it grown for her in Cornwall, but it is little cultivated in the UK now. The fruit is still popular in Australia and New Zealand, however, where it goes by the name of 'tazziberry'.

Chilean guava fruit have been described as tasting like a blend of strawberry and kiwi and despite the implied Latin origins of the plant, it is surprisingly hardy and little troubled by British winters and frosts.

 

Purple Viking potatoes

These distinctive, richly purple spuds make superb mash and are rich in antioxidants. They are straightforward to grow and bring a welcome burst of colour to the dinner table.

 

Blue honeysuckle

Completely unlike the more common honeysuckle plant, the blue honeysuckle is also known as the honeyberry plant. It produces luscious, elongated dark blue berries with a sugared blackcurrant flavour, and is a hardy plant that thrives in most soils. Definitely a talking point at any table, the berries can be used in a range of dishes and preserves.

 

White dream pineberry

This fruit, which looks like a white strawberry with dark red seeds and tastes of pineapple, has only recently been introduced to the UK market. A cross between two types of strawberry, it has the advantage of looking permanently unripe (even when it is ready to eat), so birds tend to leave it alone.

 

Olives

Of course, olives are not in themselves particularly unusual, but they are not commonly grown in the UK; indeed many people seem to think they can't be. In fact, olives are hardy in all but the harshest British weather conditions, and thrive in containers kept on sunny patios or in conservatories. Their size can be controlled through pruning, and being evergreen they are attractive all year round.