8 "Ugly" Nutrient-Packed Fruits and Vegetables
The Ugly Produce Revolution
"What is it that defines you? Is it your taste? Your texture? What you're made up of?" That's the question people are asking—not of that guy sitting across the table, but of that fruit or vegetable on their plate. But even stranger than those questions are the answers. Hint: They have nothing to do with how round, shiny, or even-colored they are. In fact, ugly, disfigured fruit—the kind most stores normally reject—is all the rage right now.
French grocery chain started a program this year to reduce food waste by selling produce that is not only as good as its prettier counterparts but in some cases even more nutritional as the "ugly" foods haven't been waxed, coated with chemicals, or shaped by machines. It's a win/win for farmers and consumers as farmers can sell more of their crop and we get a smaller grocery bill. Here, some ugly foods you should definitely give a try. (Also, on your next grocery trip keep these 6 Tips for Buying Fall Produce in mind.)
Apples are a rich source of vitamins A and C and are packed with fiber which makes them one of our favorite sweet snacks (especially with peanut butter!). Don't be afraid to try the "grotesque" variety as these haven't been waxed or coated in chemicals.
Face it: Eggplants are weird looking vegetables even when they're at their best, so we wouldn't blame you for wanting to skip one that looks more like a tumor than an entree. But give these a chance and you'll be rewarded with a chewy, vitamin-packed veggie that makes a healthy substitute for meat in dishes like lasagna.
All the cold-fighting, cancer-preventing, skin-brightening benefits of the humble orange are inside the peel so it doesn't matter if that navel orange looks just like a real navel—of an orangutan.
Potatoes have gotten a bad rap from the low-carb camp but unless you're eating it in its French fry or tater tot varieties, real potatoes are one of the best sources we have of resistant starch, a compound shown to help with weight loss.
The only way this lemon could really "fail" you is if you don't put one in your basket. The bitter fruit is high in vitamin C and adds loads of flavor without adding calories to everything from pancakes to pasta dishes. (Lemons also provide tons of healthy benefits. From Weight-Loss to Pain Relief, This Citrus Has You Covered.)
Ah, the weird, twisted vegetable that started it all! Carrots come in a dizzying array of shapes, colors, and sizes but no matter how much your carrot looks like alien fingers, they all pack the same nutritional punch. In fact, eating "ugly" carrots can be even better for you since those baby carrots have been peeled, cut and shaped by machines—a process which can strip them of up to 30 percent of their vitamins.
Tomato, you so silly! Heirloom varities of the humble fruit (or is it a vegetable?) are often rejected by shoppers for their bizarre textures, shapes, and colors but studies have shown that they have up to 40 percent more vitamins than their more beautiful counterparts.
Peppers are strangely adapatable veggies, growing around anything that gets in their path. Unfortunately their resilience can make them take on some pretty weird shapes (anyone else ever found a creepy "baby" pepper growing inside a bigger one?). But no matter what they look like, you'll still get the same nutrition and possibly even more taste from the uglier ones as they often haven't been stored as long or covered in shiny wax. (Want more odd-looking foods? Here, you'll find some of the Weirdest Farmers' Market Veggies.)