Here at Misfits Market, we’ve introduced dozens of interesting fruits and vegetables to our customers, but even we can get stumped when we encounter uncommon varieties of produce.
In our new series, What’s the Difference?, we’ll break down some key distinctions between the usual suspects, from origin to taste to cooking methods, as well as less common varieties you may see in your box. This week, we’re focusing on late summer and early fall favorites.
Red & Golden Beets
The flavor of the deep red beet is basically synonymous with “earthy” and adds some much-needed color to green salads and roasted root veggie dishes, even if they sometimes stain your fingers blood red. The golden variety, on the other hand, is sweeter than the humble red beet and pairs well with sweet balsamic glazes. Despite a difference in color, the two beets are essentially the same when it comes to nutritional value and both add plenty of essential vitamins and minerals to your diet.
Zucchini & Yellow Squash
Beyond the very obvious color difference, the shape is a giveaway that distinguishes green zucchini and yellow summer squash. Zucchini squash is usually straight while yellow summer squash typically has a rounder bottom that thins toward the top. (This isn’t always the case for Misfit Market zucchini and squash, of course!) Zucchini can be slightly more firm than yellow squash, but the delicate flavors are very similar and both fruits—yes, fruit!—are often cooked together as they’re essentially interchangeable. (And just to throw you a curveball, sometimes zucchini squash is golden-hued!) Try them all grilled, sautéed, or in a late-season ratatouille.
Sweet Potatoes & Yams
Contrary to popular belief, yams are not typically orange nor are they sweet. And sweet potatoes aren’t yams. Confused yet? It turns out that the two tubers aren’t actually related at all! True yams are more like regular potatoes in both coloring and starchiness. Sweet potatoes can vary in color from golden brown skin with pale insides, to copper in color, rosy orange, and even a deep color that’s close to crimson. Notably, they are sweeter than “regular” potatoes and pair perfectly with sweet and salty toppings alike. The two spuds also differ in nutritional value, with sweet potatoes having more protein and iron and yams having more vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
Nectarines & Peaches
Stone fruit, also known as drupes, are fleshy fruits with a juicy pulp that surrounds a hard “stone” or pit. Looks can be deceiving when it comes to nectarines and peaches, but there are a number of important differences. Peaches have a slightly fuzzy exterior while nectarines are commonly called “naked peaches”—they’re smooth without a hair in sight. Nectarines are also generally smaller and firmer but both are full of yellow-ish or white flesh depending on the variety.
Both fruits are sweet but you can expect nectarines to be slightly sweeter than the sometimes-tangy peach. Beware though! Nectarines can often have a spicy and somewhat sharp after taste. Luckily, peaches and nectarines are basically interchangeable when it comes to cooking, and both can be eaten raw.
Chioggia Radicchio & Treviso Radicchio
The rotund Chioggia radicchio might resemble cabbage in its color and shape and the similarities stop there. It’s a controversial veggie thanks to its bitter taste, but that bitterness actually makes it the perfect complement to sweet flavors like orange. We like it best in this simple citrus salad served with creamy burrata cheese and tangy balsamic vinaigrette.
On the other hand, Treviso radicchio is a tall, slim chicory that resembles endive more than radicchio. The leaves are a bit looser and its taste is slightly sweeter than its bitter relative. The slender leaves are great for dipping, which is why you’ll find Treviso on many a crudité platter.