14 Vegetables to Grow for Colorful Cooking


by Jennifer Poindexter

Do you like to have fun with your food? Some people enjoy cooking with colorful foods because they find it to be creative and gorgeous.

Other people like to cook with more colorful foods because of the different vitamins they contain. The more colors you consume in a day, the more variety in nutrients you’ll be consuming as well.

Whether you desire to grow colorful foods for creative-cooking purposes or health purposes, you must know where to start.

I’ve created a list of colorful food varieties you might want to consider growing. Within this list, I’ll also share their general growing conditions to help you get started on the right foot.

Here are the colorful foods you should consider growing in your garden for more fun at mealtimes.

1. Red Cabbage

Many people enjoy red cabbage cooked, as part of coleslaw recipes, or even fermented. Regardless of what you plan on doing with your red cabbage, it’s important you know how to grow it.

Cabbage is a cool weather crop which can be grown during spring in most locations and in the fall in warmer planting zones. Ensure the plant has well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and is protected from pests. Once it’s ready for harvest, you can store it in your refrigerator for a few months.

2. Rainbow Swiss Chard

The first time I grew Swiss chard, I ensured it was the rainbow variety. I wanted all the colors and the nutrients that came with it.To grow Swiss chard, be sure to provide well-draining soil and full to partial sunlight. Be mindful of your planting zone to know when to plant. 

Seedlings can handle light frost. Whereas more mature plants can withstand a moderate frost. Swiss chard is considered cold and heat tolerant but prefers temperatures between 40- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Peppers

If you desire color and a versatile vegetable to work with, you can’t overlook peppers. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Bell peppers are great for chopping or stuffing. You can choose banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and many other varieties for different levels of color and spice. Either way, know that peppers prefer warmer temperatures, well-draining soil, and need at least eight hours of sunlight.

4. Cauliflower

When you think of cauliflower, do you think color? Some people might only think of white cauliflower. However, this vegetable also comes in purple and orange shades.

This can be a difficult plant to grow as it doesn’t handle extreme heat or cold well. It likes temperatures which hang around 75-degrees Fahrenheit. If you can get the climate right, it also needs well-draining soil and full sun.

5. Radishes

Radishes used to not receive all the credit they deserve. People thought you had to eat them raw or not at all. In fact, radishes are great when cooked in most recipes in place of potatoes. They also come in a range of colors such as pink, red, white, and even black.

If you’d like to incorporate this vegetable into more of your meals, grow them! They typically produce in about four to six weeks, depending upon variety. They are a cool weather crop, so ensure you plant them during the right times in your planting zone. Also, ensure they’re planted in well-draining but nutrient rich soil.

6. Beets

Beets are another vegetable that tend to get overlooked. I like growing them because they produce quickly, and my family enjoys them pickled.

If you’d like to grow more beets, ensure they’re planted during cooler months of the year and in well-draining soil. Be sure to pick different varieties as some are red, others are orange, and some even come in stripes.

7. Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes. They’re easy to fix in a crockpot, they’re delicious when stuffed with meat or vegetables, and they’re great if you add something spicy to offset the sweetness of the potato.

However, don’t be tricked into thinking sweet potatoes only come in orange. In fact, they come in red, white, brown, and even purple. You can grow your own sweet potatoes by planting after the final spring frost. They also need loamy soil that’s well-draining.

8. Beans

When you think of beans do you automatically think green beans or darker beans? Either way, you know that beans come in a variety of colors.

You can grow different varieties of snap beans that come in green, red, and purple. Be sure your beans are planted in well-draining soil and are given plenty of sunlight to grow.

9. Corn

If you only think of the color yellow when picturing corn, it’s time to expand your horizons. Corn comes in dark colors, light colors, and even brighter colors. Find the right color variety and try your hand at growing it. 

Corn isn’t picky about soil types as long as it drains adequately. Also, be mindful to plant your corn in squares instead of longer rows to protect your harvest from wind damage. Finally, ensure your corn plants are grown where they’ll receive full sun.

10. Potatoes

When I began gardening, potatoes were one of the first plants that showed me there was more to vegetables than the common varieties I had been purchasing from my local grocery store. I was amazed to learn that potatoes come in brown, red, and even purple varieties. 

The most important conditions for growing potatoes are that they must be given full sunlight, they need soil that drains well, and the soil must be loose enough for the potatoes to dig into and form roots. Ensure potatoes are provided these growing conditions, and you should have a positive experience growing different colorful varieties.

11. Tomatoes

When you look at produce departments, you typically only see one color of tomato. Yes, red tomatoes are most common. Yet, they come in many varieties and colors.

Tomatoes can be red, yellow, orange, striped, and even purple. Find a variety, with a flavor profile you think you might enjoy, and grow it. Tomatoes need well-draining soil that’s aerated. They also need full sunlight and protection from pests.

12. Brussels Sprouts

When I was growing up, I thought I didn’t like Brussels sprouts. Then I went to a restaurant, tried them in a new recipe, and have loved them ever since. This vegetable usually looks like miniature cabbage. However, they also come in purple varieties.

Brussels sprouts grow best in temperatures around 65-degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted in full sun and well-draining soil. It’s vital that the soil is nutrient dense and is kept consistently moist.

13. Carrots

Carrots were another plant I started growing for their color. They go far beyond basic orange. Carrots also come in red, white, and purple varieties. You can even buy packs of seeds that will produce many colors from one package.

When growing carrots, they can handle partial to full sunlight. They must be grown in loose soil that’s also well-draining. These crops tend to do best in the cooler portions of the year, so be mindful of this when deciding when and how to plant carrots in your planting zone.

14. Asparagus

If you’re interested in a colorful vegetable that also is a perennial, asparagus could be the way to go. One plant of asparagus can last up to twenty years.

Not all asparagus is green. Some varieties are white and purple. Asparagus plants need full sun and well-draining soil. Since these plants live so long, it’s vital that you think about the growth of surrounding trees before planting this vegetable.

Hopefully this list will inspire you to plant, grow, and enjoy different varieties of vegetables that could also introduce more color into your diet. You may even find new favorite foods and recipes during this new gardening adventure.

Learn More About Colorful Vegetables

https://www.rush.edu/news/eat-colorful-diet

https://www.uaex.edu/counties/miller/news/fcs/fruits-veggies/Eating%20a%20Rainbow%20of%20Colors%20with%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables.aspx

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/phytonutrients-paint-your-plate-with-the-colors-of-the-rainbow-2019042516501

The post 14 Vegetables to Grow for Colorful Cooking appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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