Vegetables - A's

Artichoke:
Globe, Jerusalem & Chinese

Confusingly, three different, unrelated plants are all known by this name. The GLOBE artichoke is related to the thistle. Its leaves are edible, as is the bottom part of the flower, called the heart (which you can also buy canned or frozen). The JERUSALEM artichoke belongs to the sunflower family and it is the plant’s underground tubers that are eaten. They are rather knobbly and irregular in shape, with a pale brown or purple-red skin. The CHINESE artichoke is a perennial herb of the mint family, grown for its edible tuberous underground stems. It has a sweet, nutty taste, similar to the Jerusalem artichoke. It’s much more difficult to find in shops than globe or Jerusalem artichokes

Asparagus:

Labour-intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. They're considered to be one of the delicacies of the vegetable world and have a distinct, intense savoury flavour. SPRUE is the term for young, very slender asparagus. While French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green. In contrast, Spanish and much Dutch asparagus is white, as it's grown beneath the soil and cut just as the tips emerge. All types pack a nutritional punch, with high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium, and they're also diuretic, giving urine an unmistakable aroma (which, curiously, not everyone can smell!). Asparagus officinalis is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia

Alfalfa Sprouts:

Alfalfa sprouts grow quickly, sprouting in just 3 to 5 days. You can grow them in a in a glass jar, and you only need 1 tbsp. of seeds to get 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) of sprouts. These nutritious sprouts are high in antioxidants and are a great addition to salads and sandwiches. One cup of alfalfa sprouts contains 1.3 grams of protein.

Alfalfa sprouts are the shoots of the alfalfa plant, harvested before they become the full-grown plant. Because they are so small, the sprouts contain a concentrated amount of certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin K and vitamin C. Alfalfa sprouts contain just 8 calories and 0 grams of fat per cup

Arugula:

Arugula (otherwise known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola) is a dark green salad leaf with a slightly bitter, mustardy, peppery flavour. Arugula is a good choice of salad green to accompany a rich dish, because its sharp bite will cleanse the palate. (Arugula is a traditional component of mesclun greens, a common assortment of lettuces and other greens.) It can also be added to pasta, rice or vegetable dishes at the last minute or piled on a hot pizza, as it wilts quickly.

Arugula is a Mediterranean plant that also grows wild in Asia and has become increasingly popular in the U.K & U.S. over the past decade

Acorn Squash:

Acorn squash Cucurbita pepo also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash, is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash belongs to the same species as all summer squashes (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash). The most common variety is dark green in color, often with a single splotch of orange on the side or top. However, newer varieties have arisen, including Golden Acorn, so named for its glowing yellow colour, as well as varieties that are white. Acorn squashes can also be variegated (multi-colored). As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. Acorn squashes typically weigh one to two pounds and are between four and seven inches long. Acorn squash is good and hardy to save throughout the winter in storage, keeping several months in a cool dry location such as a cold cellar. Acorn squash is very easily grown. Seeds are started after all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm or within 3–4 weeks before the predicted last frost date in the area. Seeds directly sown are placed one inch deep, 5-6 to a hill; hills are 6 feet in all direction from other hills. As with other squash varieties, the acorn squash produces yellow trumpet flowers which are also edible. Tops (about three inches) from the end are also edible. They are one of the common vegetable (as greens) in the Philippines. The stem has a prickly feel. Roughly 85 days after germinating, acorn squash are ready to be harvested. Curing takes a week to ten days in a sheltered area outside, or a warm dry place like a dry storage space, protected from frost. Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sauteed or steamed. It may be stuffed with rice, meat or vegetable mixtures. The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese

Aubergine or Eggplant:

Although it's technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact), the aubergine is used as a vegetable. It's native to South-East Asia, but is grown all over the world, and there are many different varieties, including the bulbous, glossy, deep purple zepplin-like types common to Mediterrean cuisine; the small, tubular Asian types; the small, plump and ivory examples (hence 'eggplant', its name in the United States and Australia); or the scarcely-bigger-than-a-pea varieties grown in Thailand. All varieties share the same bland, mildly smokey flavour and flesh that's spongey when raw but soft when cooked.Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a species of nightshade commonly known in British English as aubergine and also known as brinjal, brinjal eggplant, melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. It bears a fruit of the same name (commonly either "eggplant" in American English or "aubergine" in British English) that is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to both the tomato and the potato

Adzuki Bean:

The adzuki bean, (from the Japanese アズキ(小豆) (azuki?)), also known as azuki or aduki, is an annual vine, Vigna angularis, widely grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas for its small (approximately 5 mm) bean. The cultivars most familiar in Northeast Asia have a uniform red colour. However, white, black, gray and variously mottled varieties are also known The adzuki bean is a tiny, reddish-brown bean with a cream coloured seam and sweet, nutty flavour. It is particularly popular in Asian cooking, most often used for sweet dishes including soups, desserts and as a dim sum filling.

Adzuki beans are regarded as the king of beans in Japan and are prized for their health-giving properties: reputedly benefitting the liver and the kidneys. In Japan and China adzuki beans are often cooked, puréed and mixed with sugar to make a chocolate paste which is used to fill cakes and desserts