How to eat it: Store this veggie unwashed in your crisper, and rinse it thoroughly in cold water before using it. Cut off the bottom of the stalks, which are tough to eat. Although it's fine to eat this green raw, it's quite bitter and is better off cooked. It can be steamed, braised, blanched or boiled.
Ikeda and her husband like to stir fry broccoli rabe with a little olive oil and garlic. It can also be sauteed in this mixture and many chefs also like to add red pepper flakes to balance out the green's bitterness.
These large, brown-shelled nuts hail from a giant South American tree that grows in the Amazon jungle. Shaped like a crescent, Brazil nuts aren't technically a nut but an edible seed.
Health benefits: Brazil nuts are an exceptional food source of selenium, a mineral considered to be cancer-fighting, and are particularly good for prostate health. The unshelled version has nearly four times more selenium than those already shelled. Like other nuts, they also offer some protein, fiber and vitamin E. And they are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which lend them a rich taste and flavor.
How to eat it: Brazil nuts can be a tough nut to crack if you buy them shelled. You can soften the shell by boiling them first. In a bag of shelled mixed nuts, Brazil nuts stand out as the biggest in the bunch. Raw (unsalted) or dry roasted varieties are better for you than salted or oil-roasted nuts.
They make a great snack, Kitchin said. "You can just eat 'em up." They can also be chopped or ground into baked goods, salads or stuffings. Keep unshelled nuts refrigerated in a tightly sealed container to prevent them from going rancid.
Pronounced "eh-dah-MAH-may," these are the young versions of green soybeans that are harvested while the bean is still attached to the branch. The Japanese translation of the word is literally "beans on branches."
You'll find edamame in the frozen vegetable section of the supermarket or health food store, where they come in the pod or unshelled. They are also sold fresh in Asian markets from late spring to early fall.
Health benefits: These legumes are a fantastic source of plant protein, and they also provide plant-based estrogens as well as fiber. A half-cup serving of the unshelled beans have 120 calories and make a satisfying snack.
How to eat it: Kitchin described the taste as slightly sweet and nutty, and she called them a fun-to-eat finger food. She steams edamame first, by placing them in salted water and then microwaving for two to three minutes. The beans can then be squeezed out of the pod and popped in your mouth as a crunchy snack. Or they can be tossed into soups, stews, casseroles and stir-fries. The beans can be pureed into a hummus and enjoyed as a creamy dip if you add garlic, lemon and tahini (sesame paste).
When dried, these lentils have a reddish or orangey color. But once cooked, they turn a paler yellow or become golden. Red varieties taste the same as the brown or green legumes, but they cook more quickly and might not retain their disclike shape. Unlike dried beans, you don't need to soak lentils before using them. Yet, it's a good idea to give them a cold-water rinse beforehand and pick out any small stones or debris.