Do you love to garden? Are you so spooky your green thumb is black? Well, then I have some lovely black fruits and vegetables for you to add to your goth garden.
Blackberries are probably the first black fruit to come to mind for most people. They are fairly easy to find in supermarkets. What most people may not have tasted is a fresh berry direct from the vine ripened in the sun. There are different types which have different growing requirements. A little research would be required to find the proper plant for your environment and soil. Or just speak to you local nursery. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these berries once you have them ready to harvest. They tend to grow in large quantities so it’s best to find recipes that require a lot, like jam or (my favorite) pie!
Black corn is an heirloom plant. Those wishing to from it would need to special order seeds. Interestingly it’s suggested that the ears be eaten young and fresh when still white. Once the kernels mature to their darkest shape of purple-black they are best used for corn meal. While the variety is relatively easy to grow, making your own corn meal sounds like a challenge.
There are multiple varieties of black grapes. My grandmother grew a type of black grape in her backyard. To this day they are the sweetest and best tasting grapes I’ve ever had. They were so huge they took two (or more) bites to eat. Anywhere you can use a white or red grape you can substitute black. My sister and I would dine al fresco in the dirt under our grandmother’s vines. Where ever you live there is likely to be a variety that grows well. You will need to purchase a plant from a nursery as most cannot be started from seed.
Black kale is not truly black, it’s a deeper blue-green than the curly kale you are probably accustomed to. Originating in Italy the proper Italian name for this kale is cavolo nero, also known as lacinato kale or dinosaur kale because of the bumpy leaves resembling reptile flesh. Kale in general is one of the few plants that thrive in cold weather and is widely available in winter. Like other forms of kale, black kale is considered to be extremely healthy and has the same culinary uses. Black kale is sometimes considered a delicacy so you can feel really fancy when you serve your freshly grown, hand picked, and expertly prepared leaves.
There are multiple plants which go by the name black mint. Only one is the super strong kick in the teeth mint you have been craving which is the true black mint. A member of the well known peppermint family it can be used in many dishes and is especially suited to savory recipes. While mint is low-maintenance to grow it is also invasive. It’s recommended that these herbs are grown in containers. Peppermint plants cannot be started from seed so you will have to buy a small plant and start from there. Once you have your own little bush you can enjoy the leaves at will. What better to serve at a mad tea party than fresh picked black mint tea?
Black radishes may appear dark and scary on the outside, but they are bright white on the inside. However, don’t let that snowy flesh fool you, these babies bite back. They can be used in recipes both raw and cooked. Just be careful to have a balance of flavors so you aren’t overwhelmed. Growing them is actually quite simple, they need very little land and lots of sunshine. Good news is, if you love them, they grow quickly so you can enjoy them throughout spring.
Easter celebrations generally center around food. Deviled eggs have been a staple in my families celebrations longer than I have been alive. I have always been amused by foods with the word devil in the name, especially in association with a religious holiday. Eggs aren’t the only ingredients to get the deviled treatment.
Being one of my favorite foods in general I must include a few different versions. Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be flavored to meet almost any tastes.
Deviled ham has also been called ham salad and is generally found in sandwiches or on toast. It can be used in the same places as tuna or chicken salad. As with the other meat salads once you have the basic flavors mastered you can experiment with your favorite additional seasonings or spices.
Deviled crab is similar to deviled eggs in that you make the filling and then place it back into the shell. It’s similar to a crab cake though with less breading and a nifty presentation.
Devil’s Food Cake
Okay, I admit this one is not really “deviled”, but it’s super delicious and has devil in the name so I’m including it anyway. There are a lot of fun variations one can find on the classic decadent dessert.
Bonus: Heaven and Hell Cake
I found this while researching cakes and I’m pretty sure the devil himself invented it…or it is actually the devil himself in cake form.
Are you looking for a new way to add more darkness to your life? Maybe you are also looking for some new superfoods to try. You’re in luck! There is a wide variety of black colored food options, many of which are also very healthy.
One of my favorite alternatives to traditional white rice, black rice has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Also known as forbidden rice it is full of antioxidants (as are many dark foods), has dietary fiber and anti-inflammatory properties according to Dr. Axe. You can use it everywhere you use white rice, including sushi. It’s fairly easy to find in health food and specialty stores. If you need some inspiration, try this recipe with butternut squash and pomegranate.
This pasta typically gets its color from squid or cuttlefish ink. It can also be made from black rice, black beans or colored with bamboo charcoal. According to a 2011 Dr. Oz segment squid ink stops the growth of new blood vessels which is supposed to slow the growth of cancer. It can be found in specialty stores or you can make it at home with the help of this recipe. Once you have made the pasta you need to do something with it, try this.
Described as molasses sweet with a touch of balsamic, black garlic is an aged version of the traditional raw garlic you know and love. It is said to have double the antioxidants of the fresh version and has been used in Asian garlic for years. Black garlic has often been the subject of food trends and can be used in pastas and sauces or as a garnish. Give it a try with this scallop recipe.
They may look like blackberries, but they are not the same. I think they taste much better than blackberries and red raspberries. They contain fiber and antioxidants, but I think the sweet taste is the primary reason to eat them. Like most fruits you can eat them raw and unaltered. Or you can treat your sweet tooth and turn them into desserts like cobbler.
Black soybeans are similar to the green and yellow soybeans you know. They are said to be higher in phytonutrients than their cousins and low in carbs. The various benefits add up to being a heart healthy food. You can use them basically anywhere you would use any other beans or try something new like Braised Black Soybeans.
Black sesame seeds are high in calcium and add a touch of mysterious beauty to any dish. These tiny treats can be used in sweet or savory foods. They can even be made into ice cream or used to dress up salmon. Just like a classic LBD they work just about anywhere.
There are other black foods as well like blackberries, black beans, and black lentils. I encourage you to experiment with as many as you can find. When you aim to eat the rainbow don’t forget the dark side of the spectrum.