Edible Parts of Plants You Didn’t Know You Were Eating

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It’s time to get creative and broaden your horizons! We all know that we eat fruits, vegetables, and grains. But do you know all the edible parts of plants that you eat? It’s kinda interesting researching this! Plants have seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers… which can all be eaten! 

Let’s explore some of these edible parts of plants together!

Which parts of the plants are edible?

First of all, not every part of a plant is edible. On this page we will focus on the parts that are okay to put into your mouth and eat. There are five major categories that contain foods:

  • tuber
  • seeds
  • roots
  • stems
  • leaves
  • flower

Roots

A root is the part of a plant that’s in contact with the ground and absorbs water and nutrients. The roots anchor the plant to its surroundings and serve as an anchor for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. Roots often have a large surface area, which makes it easier for them to absorb water. Roots can be found on most plants, but they’re not always easy to see because they’re under ground! Sometimes you’ll find roots near or at the base of leaves, such as on lettuce or celery stalks. Sometimes you’ll find them growing along stems like carrots. Other times you’ll find them emerging from seeds like beans or peas.

Edible Root vegetables: Potato, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes, carrots

Stems

A stem is a plant’s “body” and also the part that usually supports leaves and flowers. They’re often found growing out of roots or off a main trunk at ground level. Stems can be long and tall like in plants such as corn or small enough to fit in your hand from plants like strawberries.

Edible stems include: Celery, asparagus, green beans

Leaves

A leaf is a plant’s main organ for photosynthesis. The leaf is sometimes compared with the human lung, since it plays such an important role in the process of converting sunlight to food. Leaves can be found all over a plant’s stem. They’re often located directly under the flowers and behind the fruit.

Edible leaves include: Cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens

Seeds

Seeds are found in many types of plants, from fruits to grains. Seeds contain the plant’s embryo and are a storehouse for nutrition that will nourish it as it begins to grow into a new tree or other plant.  When you eat seeds, you are essentially eating the future of that plant. I bet you’ll never eat seeds the same way again now!

Seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. Some seeds don’t have shells so they can be eaten whole. If they have shells, they should be removed before cooking them because they’re not very tasty and will add a bitter flavor to your meal.

Edible seeds include: Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds

Fruit

Fruit is the part of a plant that contains seeds. The fruit provides nutrients for the seed to grow into a new tree or other plant. Fruits are also often used as food sources, providing us with many vitamins and minerals when eaten raw, juiced, or cooked in recipes.

Fruits come in different shapes and sizes:

  • some are round like an apple or pear
  • others are long like cucumbers
  • some have bumps on them like pineapples
  • others have ridges across their surface like watermelons
  • Fruits can be smooth-skinned (like bananas) or prickly (such as oranges)
  • Some fruits can be eaten out of hand such as grapes
  • others need to be peeled before they’re ready to eat

Tubers

A tuber is part of the plant that stores food and water for use by the plant. It can be found in many types of plants, from fruits to grains. The tubers are often located directly under the flowers and behind the fruit. It’s often called a modified structure (like a root or stem).

A great example of a tuber is a potato.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this and are interested in trying to eat healthier, might I interest you in a FREE guide I created?

  • Exact steps for how to meal plan (without wasting time) 
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  • BONUS: 6 easy and mouth-watering make ahead meals so you never have that moment of “I guess I’ll order take out” again

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