We Can Grow Many Edible Vegetable Crops Not Often Found In UK Supermarkets In Our Gardens & Allotments. This Article Lists Nearly 60 0f Them. Plus I’ve Added a Few Fruit As Well!

There are dozens of Vegetable Crops Not Found In Supermarkets that we can grow at home. And I think we should as they are often easy to grow, nutritious and contribute to the rainbow diet now being recommended for health.

Here’s my common name alphabetical list. Latin names are in brackets.

  • Alpine Strawberry (Fragaria vesca): These tiny, intensely flavoured fruits are perfect for edging pathways or hanging baskets. They’re a perennial and will fruit throughout most of the summer.
  • Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.): This leafy green is a nutritional powerhouse, high in protein and vitamins. It can be enjoyed young in salads or cooked like spinach. The image shown is of red amaranth
How To Grow Red Amaranth aka Callaloo. Edible Vegetable Crops Not Found In UK Supermarkets
Red Amaranth is a glorious crimson/claret red colour.
  • American Land Cress (Barbarea verna): A peppery salad green that thrives in cool weather. It’s a self-seeding annual that readily pops up in gardens.
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum): Offering a liquorice-like flavour, this herb is lovely in teas and adds a unique touch to savoury dishes. It flowers in late summer and attracts pollinators.
  • Apios americana (Groundnut): This native North American vine produces edible tubers with a nutty flavor and texture similar to potatoes. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate partial shade.
  • Asparagus Pea (Lotus tetragonolobus): This unique climbing plant produces edible pods containing sweet, pea-like seeds. The young pods can also be eaten whole. Asparagus pea is a tender annual that needs warm weather and well-drained soil.
  • Bergamot (Monarda didyma): The fragrant leaves of this citrusy herb can be used in teas or to add a special touch to desserts. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Blue Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. africanum): This stunning basil variety boasts deep blue-purple leaves and offers a subtle anise and mint flavor. It’s a tender annual that thrives in warm weather and needs well-drained soil.
  • Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare purpureum): Adds a beautiful feathery accent to your garden and has a slightly sweeter flavour than green fennel. It grows taller than green fennel and can reach up to 2 metres.
  • Buckwheat Shoots (Fagopyrum esculentum): These fast-growing microgreens offer a nutty flavour and can be enjoyed in salads or sandwiches. Buckwheat is easy to grow and doesn’t require much space.
Cardoon
Cardoon are common in French markets. But in the UK that are Vegetable Crops Not Found In Supermarkets
  • Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus):
    This thistle-like relative of the artichoke is grown for its thick, edible stalks. Cardoon stalks require blanching (covering them to exclude light) to become tender and have a mild, nutty flavor. It needs rich soil and prefers full sun. We grow cardoons in out food forest and I have them in my flower beds as architectural ornamentals.
  • Caucasian Spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides): This perennial vegetable offers spinach-like leaves that can be enjoyed throughout the summer. It’s a low-maintenance plant that’s easy to grow and quite cold-tolerant, making it a good choice for the UK climate.
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): Not just for calming teas, chamomile flowers are also edible and add a delicate apple flavour to salads.
  • Chilean Guava (Ugni molinae): This exotic fruit can be grown in greenhouses or sheltered areas in the UK and offers a sweet, tropical taste. It’s a slow-growing shrub.
  • Chillis, the unusual ones (various Capsicum annum cultivars): Experiment with unique chillies like the fiery Alberto’s Locoto, unavailable in most shops. Many chilli varieties can be grown in the UK with some protection, especially in greenhouses, polytunnels or using cloches.
  • Chinese Artichoke (Stachys affinis): This unusual vegetable produces large, spiky buds that can be boiled or roasted. It’s a herbaceous perennial that dies back in winter.
  • Chive Flowers (Allium schoenoprasum): These pretty purple blooms add a delicate onion flavour to salads and cocktails. Chives are a low-maintenance perennial that provides a constant supply of flowers throughout summer.
  • Chocolate Mint (Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate Mint’): Enjoy the delightful aroma and subtle chocolatey hint of this unique mint variety. Mint is a vigorous grower and can be invasive, so it’s best grown in pots.
  • Claytonia/Winter Purslane (Claytonia sibirica): A delicate salad green that thrives in cool weather. It’s a self-seeding annual that can appear year after year. It grows wild near me and has a beautiful flower
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens): While dill is a common herb, its pretty yellow flowers are also edible and can be used to add a delicate flavor to salads or decorate dishes. Dill is a self-seeding annual that thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Dittany (Greek Basil) (Origanum dictamnus): Offers a citrusy, oregano-like flavour perfect for Mediterranean dishes. This aromatic herb prefers well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Dwarf Mulberry (Morus spp.): Enjoy fresh mulberries straight from your garden with this compact plant. There are several dwarf mulberry varieties available, suitable for container growing.
  • Egyptian Walking Onion (Allium proliferum): This unusual variety produces small bulbils on top of the flower stalks, which can be planted to grow new onions. It’s a perennial that thrives in well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides): A pungent herb used in Central American cuisine, adding a unique flavour to beans and stews. It’s an annual herb that can be grown from seed.
  • Fennel Leaf (Foeniculum vulgare): This is the feathery green part of the fennel plant, often used as a garnish or flavouring element. It has a licorice-like anise flavor and pairs well with fish and seafood. Fennel is a biennial plant grown as an annual in the UK.
  • French Bean Heirloom Varieties (Phaseolus vulgaris): Discover the beauty and taste of heritage varieties like the purple Cosse Violette or the prolific Major Cook’s. Heirloom bean varieties can offer unique colours, flavours, and textures.
  • Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum): These chive flowers have a subtle garlic flavour, adding a delicate touch to dishes. Garlic chives are a perennial that produces flat leaves and white flowers in summer.
  • Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus) : This leafy green is a classic perennial vegetable that has been enjoyed in Europe for centuries. The leaves have a slightly bitter taste that mellows when cooked. It’s a very hardy plant that tolerates poor soil conditions and can be a great addition to a no-dig garden
  • Heirloom Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum): Indulge in the vibrant colours and unique flavours of heirloom tomato varieties like Indigo Cherry or Shimmer’s. There are many heirloom tomato varieties available, offering a wider range of flavours and shapes than standard varieties.
  • Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum): This revered herb has a strong flavour and is used in Asian cuisine and religious practices. It’s a tender annual that needs warm temperatures to thrive.
  • Japanese Bunching Onion (Allium fistulosum): While not the most unusual, these scallions offer a milder flavor compared to regular onions and are perfect for salads or stir-fries. Bunching onions are perennials that provide a constant supply of scallions throughout the summer.
  • Japanese Wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius): These sweet and tangy berries are perfect for jams, jellies, or eating fresh. This vigorous climber needs support and can be quite invasive, so planting it in a container is recommended.

More Edible Vegetable Crops Not Found In UK Supermarkets

  • Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus): These knobby tubers offer a nutty flavour and can be roasted, mashed, or used in soups. They’re a perennial vegetable that grows tall and can be invasive, so they’re best planted in a pot with a bottomless container to control their spread.
  • Land Cress/American Cress (Barbarea verna): A peppery salad green that thrives in cool weather. It’s a self-seeding annual that readily pops up in gardens.
  • Lemon Basil, Balm, Verbena (Ocimum minimum, Melissa officinalis, Lippia citriodora): These fragrant herbs add a citrusy touch to teas, desserts, and cocktails. Lemon balm and lemon verbena are perennials, while lemon basil is a tender annual. All three prefer well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum):
    This quirky-looking tuber from the Andes is a close relative of the potato. Mashua forms small, clustered tubers that can be roasted, boiled, or dried and ground into flour. It prefers cool, moist conditions.
  • Mizuna, Mibuna & Mustards (Brassica rapa var. japonica, Brassica rapa var. nipposinica, Brassica juncea): Explore the world of Asian greens with these flavorful and versatile mustards. Mizuna and mibuna are fast-growing annuals, while some mustard varieties can be perennials.
  • Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus): Enjoy the beauty and peppery flavour of nasturtium leaves and flowers in salads and sandwiches. Nasturtiums are easy to grow annuals that flower throughout the summer and attract pollinators.
  • New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides): A fast-growing, heat-tolerant green that can be used like spinach. It’s a tender annual that thrives in warm weather.
  • Oca (Oxalis tuberosa): This colorful tuber vegetable from South America has a slightly tart flavor and can be roasted, boiled, or mashed. It’s a half-hardy perennial that can be grown in the UK with some winter protection, especially in colder regions.
  • Orach (Atriplex hortensis): A leafy green with a slightly sour taste, perfect for salads or stir-fries. This easy-to-grow annual tolerates poor soil conditions.
  • Pea (heritage varieties) (Pisum sativum): Discover the diversity of peas with unique varieties like the shell-less Avi Joan or the giant Bijou. Heirloom pea varieties can offer earlier or later harvests, or unique pod shapes and colours.
  • Pineapple Mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’): This fragrant mint adds a tropical twist to teas, cocktails, and desserts. Just like other mints, it’s a vigorous grower and can be invasive, so it’s best grown in pots.
  • Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides):
    This shrub produces vibrant orange berries packed with vitamin C. They have a tart flavor and can be made into jams, jellies, or even wine. Sea buckthorn is tolerant of poor soil and coastal conditions. 
  • Scot’s Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum): A compact variety of lovage, perfect for containers, offering a strong celery-like flavour. This perennial herb prefers moist soil and partial shade.
  • Shungiku/Chrysanthemum Greens (Chrysanthemum coronarium): These delicate greens have a slightly bitter taste and are popular in Japanese cuisine. They’re a cool-season annual that can be sown in spring and autumn.
  • Skirrets (Sium sisarum): This forgotten root vegetable has a delicate flavor similar to parsnip and carrot. It’s a hardy perennial that can be harvested throughout the winter.
  • Sorrel & Oxalis Varieties (Rumex spp., Oxalis spp.): Explore the tangy world of sorrel and other oxalis varieties, perfect for salads and sauces. Sorrel is a perennial herb, while some oxalis varieties are perennials and others are annuals.
  • Summer Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): A heat-tolerant green with a slightly sour taste, perfect for salads and stir-fries. This low-growing annual thrives in hot weather and poor soil conditions.
  • Sunflower Shoots (Helianthus annuus): Enjoy the delightful crunch and nutty flavour of sunflower microgreens in salads or sandwiches. Sunflowers are easy to grow and sunflower shoots can be harvested within a week or two of sowing.

And Finally A Few More Edible Vegetable Crops Not Found In UK Supermarkets

  • Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata): Delicate anise-flavored leaves and edible flowers add a unique touch to salads and desserts. This perennial herb prefers moist soil and partial shade.
  • Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora): This fragrant herb offers a unique licorice and anise flavour, perfect for Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s a tender annual that needs warm temperatures to thrive.
  • Three-cornered leek (Allium triquetrum): This unusual leek variety offers edible leaves and flowers. The leaves have a strong garlic flavour and can be used like chives, while the white flowers add a decorative touch to salads. It’s a perennial that thrives in well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata): This fragrant herb offers a unique flavour profile, combining elements of coriander, mint, and basil. It’s a tender annual that thrives in warm weather and moist soil.
  • Winter savory (Satureja montana): This aromatic herb offers a warm, peppery flavour and is a popular addition to stuffings and stews. It’s a semi-evergreen perennial that requires well-drained soil and full sun.
  • Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius):
    This South American root vegetable is a prebiotic powerhouse. Yacon has a crisp texture and slightly sweet flavor, ideal for eating raw or adding to stir-fries. However, it needs protection from frost and prefers long growing seasons.

The above is just a small selection of veg that we can grow but rarely appear in shops. It looks a long list but there are many other plants I can and will add in future.

Below is a link to dozens of other heirloom varieties that aren’t commercial enough to be of interest to many commercial growers. But they have flavours that many varieties that are sold in supermarkets lack.

Tag: Vegetable Crops Not Found In UK Supermarkets

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