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#1 Posted : Thursday, May 16, 2024 11:56:56 AM(UTC)
Does anyone have a go to book for figuring out the wide array of vegetables available? My co-op delivered mustard greens this week. I planned to pickle them. Several of the recipes I considered had what seemed like odd directions for the leaves in front of me. A quick trip to the internet showed a variety of "mustard leaves" none of which looked like what I had. They pickled up fine, though I have no idea if this is what I am supposed to taste!

Is there a book or website, heavy on photos, that illustrates the wide variety of vegetables out there? I don't need recipes so much as good illustrations paired with general use/cuisine info. I have a lot of great books that claim to do the job, but really seem to be limited/outdated. Kale might have one entry, when my local grocery carries 3 kinds, sometimes more, and my coop has even more.

Maybe what I need is gardening book? a seed catalog?

#2 Posted : Thursday, May 16, 2024 10:01:06 PM(UTC)

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison comes to mind. It goes through the various plant families with some photos and lots of recipes. It’s a very large and heavy book though; I take it out on Overdrive at my library when I need to see it! I looked up mustard greens in it and it had a section on them with a few recipes. For veg ID I would suggest William Dam Seeds as they have a lot. The greens page contains several mustard types. 

#3 Posted : Friday, May 17, 2024 3:23:10 PM(UTC)

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider is a fantastic reference. The cover states that it has 275 photographs and the pictures are excellent representations. Her information on how to choose, store, and use them is detailed. I find it particularly helpful with information on different varieties, such as beans or squashes. For instance, there are photos of 15 different varieties of winter squashes, with information on the cooking characteristics of each. For someone with a CSA or farmers market nearby, it's a great resource. And it's just fun to browse through.

#4 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2024 12:46:04 PM(UTC)

The Victory Garden Cookbook, a companion to the public TV gardening series published in 1982, is a great help to gardeners who cook or farmers' market shoppers. Lots of photos and lots of ideas, without the nearly unusable bulk of Vegetable Literacy. I enjoy & admire Deborah Madison's cooking and writing, but rarely feel like hauling that one out.

[Edited to add:]  This is one of EYB's great benefits, making it easy to review the recipes for a given vegetable w/o getting the book out.  That becomes worth the effort if there's something that appeals or calls for further investigation. 

#5 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2024 1:02:56 PM(UTC)
#6 Posted : Friday, May 24, 2024 11:56:35 AM(UTC)
Thanks everyone. I've ordered Amaranth to Zuccini, since the number of pictures sounds like exactly what I want. Vegetable Literacy is a great big, but I need more pictures. Can't imagine what that book would be like with more! Though how grand would it be if the book contained a link to a website with all the photos? I've had the Victory Garden Cookbook since the 80s and it is a favorite. There are just so many more kinds of vegetables on the market, not to mention varieties of old favorites.

#7 Posted : Sunday, June 2, 2024 2:41:51 PM(UTC)

You're right about the proliferation of vegetable varieties in the intervening 40 years! That has me wondering whether there isn't a real need for an e-book produce guide that's designed from the ground up as a digital reference. Both the Schneider and Green books are 20 years old now, with new veg. & varieties still entering the market, and a decisive turn to phones and readers.over the lat decade-plus.

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