There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s round red tomatoes from a summer garden or apples plucked from a mountain orchard, fresh produce offers delicious sustenance. But lots of these fruits and vegetables deliver more than that. They offer a burst of rich color that lights up the world.
List of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Here’s our list of the most colorful fruits and vegetables in the world:
1. Cripps Pink Apple
- Latin name: Malus domestica ‘Cripps Pink’
- Origin: Developed in Australia in the 1970s
- Size: About 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Primarily eaten as a snack apple
- Color varieties: These apples primarily have a yellow-green base color marked with patches of pink blush.
Though “Cripps Pink” is the name of this apple cultivar, it is usually sold under the Pink Lady trademark. First bred in Australia in the 1970s, the Cripps Pink is a cross between the Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious apple.
2. Rainbow Chard
- Latin name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
- Origin: Evolved from the sea beet, a plant native to Europe, Africa, and Asia
- Size: Stalks are usually about 12″ tall
- Uses: Usually added to different dishes or prepared on its own
- Color varieties: Technically, rainbow chard is a mixture of different colored chard varieties. Bunches of rainbow chard often include plants with red, pink, yellow, and orange stalks.
This colorful vegetable makes a bright and nutritious addition to salads, omelets, and soups. It is especially rich in vitamin K, as it contains over 1000% of the recommended daily value. And oddly enough, its name is a mystery; Swiss chard does not come from Switzerland.
3. Carnival Squash
- Latin name: Cucurbita pepo
- Origin: Developed in North America in the 1990s
- Size: Around 6″ in diameter
- Uses: Typically roasted and served as a side dish, or made into soup
- Color varieties: Usually, this squash has yellow and orange skin that is covered in dark green markings.
The carnival squash looks a lot like a more colorful version of acorn squash. It’s a special variety of winter squash. Its flavor could be described as being somewhat sweet and nutty. Carnival squash works well in a range of fall and winter recipes, and it is especially delicious when baked and seasoned with a little bit of brown sugar. Its festive colors make it a great decoration, too!
- Latin name: Mangifera indica
- Origin: Came from an ancient tree species native to Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh
- Size: Around 4″ long
- Uses: Usually eaten plain, blended into smoothies, made into chutneys and sauces, and added to a variety of dishes
- Color varieties: Mango flesh is a distinctive golden yellow. The skin is yellow, green, red, or a combination.
The beloved mango is one of the most recognizable fruits on the list. And while Western cultures often enjoy it in sweet drinks and dishes, Eastern cultures often combine it with chili powder, soy sauce, or other spicy or savory additions. Its unique, rich texture when blended makes it an excellent addition to smoothies.
5. Fingered Citron
- Latin name: Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis
- Origin: Likely East Asia or South Asia
- Size: Around 6″ to 12″ long
- Uses: Typically used as a perfume for rooms or belongings, or for ornamental purposes
- Color varieties: This odd fruit is often bright yellow, but some varieties are a paler yellow-green or a yellowish tan.
The fingered citron is a unique type of fruit, as it has no real juice or edible inside. However, the peel can be used as a flavoring, much like lemon zest. It is often called “Buddha’s hand” thanks to its distinctive fingered shape. It produces a strong yet pleasant fragrance that makes it a great addition to gardens.
6. Purple Graffiti Cauliflower
- Latin name: Brassica oleracea ‘Graffiti’
- Origin: Selective breeding of different cauliflower types
- Size: Around 6″ across each crown
- Uses: Usually cooked on its own or added to various dishes, especially dishes that need some extra color
- Color varieties: This special hybrid has crowns that are naturally purple, much like purple cabbage.
This particular cauliflower variety looks almost like a flower at first glance. Instead of being the usual off-white, this one is an energetic medium purple. It’s a good choice when it comes to hardiness, too; it tolerates both cold and high heat. It’s also a great alternative to usual cauliflower, and it can really add some life to just about any vegetable platter!
- Latin name: Citrus mitis
- Origin: Hybridization of the kumquat and another citrus species; native to the Philippines and surrounding areas
- Size: Up to about 1.8 inches in diameter
- Uses: Often cooked in various dishes or made into preserves
- Color varieties: Usually, this fruit is a bright, lime-like green. However, the variegated version has yellowish fruit marked with green stripes. Some fruits are also orange.
Calamansi fruit may look delicious, but it is generally too sour to be eaten on its own. That doesn’t mean it has no culinary purpose, though. When cooked or used as a marinade, it imparts a bit of zing without making dishes unpleasantly sour.
8. Rainier Cherry
- Latin name: Prunus avium ‘Rainier’
- Origin: Developed at Washington State University in the 1950s
- Size: About 1″ in diameter
- Uses: Generally eaten by itself, added to fruit salads and other dishes, or made into preserves
- Color varieties: These cherries are usually light yellow in color, although they have patches of rosy red.
The Rainier cherry is probably one of the most famous varieties, and it’s been around for over half a century. It is a cross between two cherry varieties: Van and Bing. Harold Fogle, the developer of this cultivar, opted to name it after Mount Rainier. Its flavor is sweet yet mild, and it’s commonly used as a snacking cherry.
9. Chilly Chili Pepper
- Latin name: Capsicum annuum ‘Chilly Chili’
- Origin: Selectively bred in the United States
- Size: Between 2″ and 3″ in length
- Uses: Often used as a decorative plant in gardens, but it can also be substituted for hotter peppers in a variety of dishes
- Color varieties: These lovely little peppers start out light yellow in color. They then progress to a deeper yellow, then orange, and then deep red.
If you like the flavor of peppers but find them a bit too spicy, the aptly named chilly chili might be the right choice. They were selected to be between 1 and 1,000 Scoville heat units. (The Scoville scale measures how spicy a pepper variety is.) This is the “chilly” side of the scale, so the Chilly Chili is one of the mildest peppers around.
10. Pineapple Tomato
- Latin name: Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Pineapple’
- Origin: Specially bred in the United States
- Size: Up to 5″ in diameter
- Uses: Especially good in salads or otherwise served fresh
- Color varieties: These sweet, juicy tomatoes are a typical orange-red tomato color, but they are marked with vertical stripes of yellow or orange.
The pineapple tomato is one of the largest heirloom tomato varieties. “Heirloom” plants are those that have been passed down without modification through generations. While many growers are working on hybrid varieties, heirloom plants ensure that classic tomatoes and other plants don’t die out. In addition to being an heirloom tomato, the pineapple tomato is what’s called a “beefsteak” tomato. It has thick, juicy flesh. If you’d prefer the tomatoes in your garden to be both giant and flavorful, the pineapple tomato is the way to go.
11. Long Purple Eggplant
- Latin name: Solanum melongena ‘Long purple’
- Origin: Native to Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 8″ to 10″ long
- Uses: Usually prepared like other eggplant varieties; they are especially good when marinated and grilled
- Color varieties: This particular type of eggplant is a brighter purple than regular eggplants. Regular eggplants are so dark that they are almost black, while long purple eggplants are more the color that people picture when they think of the color purple.
The name of this variety might be confusing at first. After all, aren’t most eggplants purple? But like most purple varieties of vegetables, long purple eggplants are more of a bright, medium purple. While they are edible, they also make beautiful ornamental plants.
12. Sweet Potato
- Latin name: Ipomoea batatas
- Origin: Native to tropical parts of the Americas
- Size: Up to about 5″ to 12″ long
- Uses: Usually cooked in various dishes; in some cultures, it is a staple food
- Color varieties: The colorful part of the sweet potato is the interior. This tuberous vegetable has bright orange flesh thanks to its beta carotene content, and it’s great for adding color to a variety of dishes.
This incredibly useful vegetable is one of the most widely grown on the list. Many of its health benefits are due to its beta carotene content. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. It supports good vision as well as healthy skin and teeth. The sweet potato is also one of the more versatile plants on the list, as it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Roasted sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish, and they work well in a sweet potato pie as well.
13. Pattypan Squash
- Latin name: Cucurbita pepo
- Origin: First grown by Native Americans in the northeast United States
- Size: About 2″ to 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Often seasoned and then baked, fried, or boiled
- Color varieties: While pattypan squash can be green, white, or yellow, the yellow varieties are usually the brightest. They are sometimes a bright, sunny yellow close to the color of a lemon.
These small, flying-saucer-like squashes are technically a variety of summer squash. They are both eye-catching and healthy; pattypan squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, and magnesium. This squash has also been around much longer than many fruits and vegetables on the list. It was grown by Native Americans for centuries even before it was introduced to Europe in about 1700.
- Latin name: Punica granatum
- Origin: Native to the Mediterranean; introduced to North America in the 1700s
- Size: Between about 2″ and 4.5″ in diameter
- Uses: Often pressed into juice, although it is sometimes used in baking or eaten plain
- Color varieties: The exterior of the pomegranate is a nondescript reddish color. But the interior seeds are a deep, glossy red.
The interior of a pomegranate is mesmerizing. Its interior is segmented much like a heart, and it is filled with small seeds. The seeds look like little jewels. The fruit itself has a rich history across cultures, and even ancient Egyptians regarded it as a symbol of prosperity. Now, its impressive antioxidant content makes it popular among health food enthusiasts.
15. Spanish Persimmon
- Latin name: Diospyros kaki ‘Rojo Brillante’
- Origin: Native to parts of China, India, and Indochina
- Size: Between about 1.5″ and 2″ in diameter
- Uses: Often eaten fresh or dried
- Color varieties: All persimmons have an eye-catching yellow color, but this Spanish variety is especially bright. Its fruit is a deep red-orange.
The Spanish variety of the persimmon is one of many different subtypes. Not all persimmons are considered to be edible, but this is one of the varieties that can be eaten plain or incorporated into a variety of dishes. They are most popular in Asia, with China being responsible for 75% of the world’s persimmon production.
- Latin name: Salacca zalacca
- Origin: Native to Java and Sumatra
- Size: About 2″ to 3″ long
- Uses: Often eaten on its own like many other fruits
- Color varieties: The skin of this fruit is a deep, glossy brown, and it is patterned just like snake scales.
At first glance, you might wonder how salak (also called snake fruit) made the list. Though its flesh is brown in color, it is extremely glossy and reflects surrounding light. But the most interesting part is probably its pattern. The skin looks almost exactly like the scales of a snake. Though it looks like a large nut, salak is actually very sweet in flavor. It has a texture close to that of apples.
17. Sweet Banana Pepper
- Latin name: Capsicum annuum ‘Sweet Banana’
- Origin: Native to South America
- Size: About 6″ in length
- Uses: Often served fresh as a topping on pizza or salad; also can frequently be pickled
- Color varieties: These peppers often start out as a pale green-yellow. But like some other pepper varieties, as they mature, they turn yellow, orange, and then red.
Thanks to their sweet flavor with just a little kick, banana peppers are one of the most popular pepper types in the world. They have been cultivated for over 70 years. If you’re sensitive to the heat found in peppers, be careful; banana peppers aren’t hot at all, but some people mix them up with pepperoncini. These are similar-looking peppers that are substantially hotter.
18. Jack Be Little Pumpkin
- Latin name: Cucurbita pepo ‘Jack Be Little’
- Origin: Native to North America
- Size: About 3″ in diameter and 2″ high
- Uses: Primarily used for decoration or for use in soups, pies, and more
- Color varieties: These pumpkins are a classic bright, vibrant pumpkin orange.
Generally speaking, pumpkins are some of the oldest cultivated vegetables on the list. They were domesticated around 7,000 B.C. Typically, pumpkins used for food are a bit larger than this cultivar. But these pumpkins have soft, flavorful flesh that works in a variety of dishes. But they are also small and uniformly shaped enough to make classic fall decorations. They’re probably too small to carve into jack o’ lanterns, though!
19. Red Russian Kale
- Latin name: Brassica oleracea ‘Red Russian’
- Origin: Asia and Northern Europe
- Size: Stalks reach about 12″ high
- Uses: Leaves are often prepared on their own or added to salads and other dishes
- Color varieties: This kale has silvery-green leaves. The stalks are a deep intense red that offers a beautiful contrast with the delicate green of the leaves.
Red Russian kale is one of the few plants on the list that has a bit of a politically charged nickname. Since this plant came to America in the late 1800s, some growers refer to it as “Communist Kale.” Other people refer to it as “Ragged Jack.”
20. Strawberry Tree
- Latin name: Arbutus unedo
- Origin: Native to the Mediterranean and western Europe
- Size: Fruits are about 0.4″ to 0.8″ in diameter
- Uses: Often used to make jellies, jams, yogurts, and even alcoholic drinks
- Color varieties: The fruits of the strawberry tree are usually a cheerful strawberry red in color. Immature fruits are sometimes bright yellow.
This might sound like one of the most familiar plants on the list. After all, who hasn’t heard of strawberries? But strawberries don’t grow on trees; the “strawberry tree” grows its own type of fruit. The fruits are covered in short spikes, and their bright colors contrast with the shrub’s evergreen leaves. They can sometimes be eaten, although this is not especially common.
- Latin name: Cucumis melo
- Origin: Uncertain; likely native to Egypt, Iran, India, or Central Asia
- Size: About 7″ to 8″ in diameter
- Uses: Often sliced and eaten plain or put into fruit salads
- Color varieties: The exterior of cantaloupe is a dull tannish green. But the inside is a bright, cheery orange.
Technically, not all Cucumis melon cultivars are cantaloupe; cantaloupe is just a specific variety. The cantaloupe is a quintessential summer fruit. When it’s sliced, the pale orange flesh creates a pleasant contrast with the bright green rind.
- Latin name: Rubus sp.
- Origin: Uncertain; may have originated in either the Americas, Europe, or Asia
- Size: About 1″ long
- Uses: Primarily eaten fresh or used in baking
- Color varieties: Blackberry bushes offer a wealth of color; immature berries are bright red (like raspberries), mature berries are glossy black, and flowers are bright white.
It might seem odd to have blackberries on the list. But their glossy black surface gives them a dazzling appearance in the right light. Immature berries also add a burst of color; they are bright red. If you walk by a blackberry bush, you’re likely to see the full color spectrum: the unripe berries are green, and they turn red, then purple, and finally black. Many varieties of blackberries are cultivated for culinary purposes. But in some parts of North America, a wild type of blackberry called the Himalayan blackberry is an invasive species that is considered to be a nuisance plant.
23. Winged Bean
- Latin name: Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
- Origin: Likely New Guinea
- Size: Pods are about 1″-3″ in length
- Uses: Can be eaten raw or cooked; has similar uses to the soybean
- Color varieties: These unusual beans often have uniquely contrasting colors. They are a bright kelly green. However, in some plants, the fringed edges of the “wings” are deep, rich purple.
The winged bean looks somewhat like a dramatic version of a green bean. It’s aptly named as well; its slender pods are flanked with leaf-like “wings” with fringed edges. It is especially prevalent in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where it has real potential as a staple crop. As a bonus, it isn’t just the pods you can eat; the entire winged bean plant is edible!
24. Red Grapefruit
- Latin name: Citrus × paradisi
- Origin: Originated in Asia as an accidental cross between a pomelo and a sweet orange
- Size: About 4″ in diameter
- Uses: Often eaten plain, added to fruit salad, or made into juice
- Color varieties: Most red grapefruits have flesh that is a deep energetic pink. This is in contrast to white grapefruits, whose flesh is more of a pale whitish pink.
You’ve probably heard red grapefruits described as “Ruby Red” grapefruits. “Ruby Red” is a tradename that sold especially well. It inspired other varieties of red grapefruits, including “Ruby-Sweet,” “Reddest,” and “Rio Star.” Red grapefruits tend to be sweeter than their pale pink counterparts, and they are generally sweet enough to eat plain.
25. Bell Pepper
- Latin name: Capsicum annuum Grossum group
- Origin: Original pepper plants native to the Americas
- Size: Usually around 4″ tall
- Uses: Mostly used as a vegetable ingredient in certain dishes or served as a side dish
- Color varieties: Bell peppers come in a number of bright colors. The most common colors are green, yellow, orange, and red. However, they also come in purple, brown, and white.
Bell peppers make a great crunchy snack on their own, but they are mostly used as a topping. Sliced green peppers are often added to salads or used as pizza toppings. And an arrangement of sliced, multicolored bell peppers can add some life to a vegetable platter. In some cases, the rainbow of colors you see in bell peppers is due to the ripening process. The green peppers sometimes turn yellow or orange when medium-ripe and then become bright red when they have ripened fully. The riper peppers have a sweeter taste.
- Latin name: Blighia sapida
- Origin: Native to tropical areas of West Africa
- Size: Usually between 2.75″ and 4″
- Uses: Primarily prepared as a dish; in Jamaica, it’s often prepared with saltfish
- Color varieties: The exterior of the ackee fruit is colored a lot like a mango. It is primarily blush red with yellow undertones. Some fruits are much brighter than others.
The ackee fruit is the national fruit of Jamaica. When it is consumed before it’s ripe, it’s toxic. It’s a good idea for visitors to Jamaica to only eat ackee fruit that has already been prepared to avoid accidental poisoning. The ackee can have a range of flavors, as there are several cultivars in Jamaica. The cultivars can either be “butter” or “cheese” types. The “butter” variety is considered to be the more gourmet of the two.
- Latin name: Cucumis metuliferus
- Origin: Native to southern Africa
- Size: About 3.5″ long
- Uses: Usually eaten as a salad or as snack food
- Color varieties: The exterior of the kiwano is beautifully patterned with yellow and orange. But the inside is colorful too; it looks a bit like a bright green cucumber interior.
The kiwano is also called the horned melon because of its spiky surface. It has an interesting taste that some people describe as being a combination of banana, lime, and cucumber. It’s often flavorful enough to eat on its own without seasoning. And in the dry climate of the Kalahari Desert, it is one of the very few ways to access water. Thanks to its bright and unique coloring, the kiwano is sometimes even used as a decoration.
28. Black Radish
- Latin name: Raphanus sativus L. var. niger J. Kern
- Origin: Uncertain; likely what is now known as Syria
- Size: Usually about 1″ to 2″ in diameter
- Uses: Mostly added to soups and salads
- Color varieties: The black radish’s most colorful feature is the striking contrast between its black skin and white interior.
The black-rimmed slices of a black radish can certainly add some pizazz to salads and other vegetable-heavy dishes. However, its flavor isn’t for everyone. Even compared to other radishes, black radishes have a bit of a biting taste.
29. Bitter Melon
- Latin name: Momordica charantia
- Origin: Native to Africa
- Size: Melons can be up to about 12 inches long
- Uses: Primarily used as an additive to stir fries, soups, and other dishes
- Color varieties: Bitter melon is often prepared and eaten when it is not quite ripe. But if allowed to ripen, it starts to turn a bright, fiery yellow. That yellow looks especially striking over the bumpy surface of the melon.
Despite its bitterness, this melon is widely enjoyed in the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. But before eating it, many cultures take steps to remove some of its bitterness. Soaking and then trying the melon’s flesh is one way to do so. Some Indian cultures will serve bitter melon alongside yogurt to offset some of its bitterness.
30. Prickly Pear
- Latin name: Opuntia ficus-indica
- Origin: Native to the Americas
- Size: Usually about 2″ to 4″ long
- Uses: Commonly used for food, especially as an additive to savory dishes
- Color varieties: The fruit of the prickly pear cactus has a unique, beautiful color that makes it look almost airbrushed. Usually, they are a mixture of yellow, red, green, and a little bit of orange.
These eye-catching, spiky fruits are sometimes known as “tunas.” And while these cacti are often cultivated in Mexico for their fruit, they are less welcome in Australia. In certain parts of the continent, its growth is so widespread that it is considered a weed.
31. Blood Orange
- Latin name: Citrus × sinensis
- Origin: Developed in the southern Mediterranean region in the 18th century
- Size: Usually between 2.5″ and 2.75″ in diameter
- Uses: Primarily eaten plain; it sometimes flavors certain foods and drinks
- Color varieties: The blood orange arose from a natural mutation of the orange. That mutation causes the inside of the orange to be a dark red color. In some types of blood oranges, even the outside skin is partially red.
Several of the fruits and vegetables on the list have fairly typical skin colors paired with very bright insides. The blood orange doesn’t just have different colors than most other oranges; its flavor is different too. Many people say that its deep red interior has a taste that’s a bit like raspberry.
32. Chioggia Beet
- Latin name: Beta vulgaris ‘Chioggia’
- Origin: Northern Italy in the 1800s
- Size: usually about 1″ to 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Primarily used for roasting and pickling
- Color varieties: From the outside, chioggia beets look a lot like regular beets, although they may be a little lighter in color. But once you cut open a Chioggia beet, you will see concentric red circles. The target-like pattern is a lot like the inside of a red onion.
If you cook Chioggia beets and want the target pattern to last until you serve them, be careful how the beets are prepared. To preserve the rings, make sure you roast the beets before slicing them. But slicing the beets before you cook them isn’t necessarily bad; the beet slices will just turn pale pink.
- Latin name: Sandoricum koetjape
- Origin: Native to Malesia
- Size: About 1.5″ to 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Usually eaten plain, although it can be candied or turned into marmalade
- Color varieties: The outside of the santol fruit is a pleasant orange that is roughly the color of orange sherbet. But when the fruit is cut open, the color gets a little more interesting. The inside flesh has a whitish, almost frosted appearance that certainly sets the santol apart.
The santol fruit grows in abundance in parts of Southeast Asia. Picking it proves to be a bit of a challenge; you will usually either need to climb a tree or use a specialized picking stick to gather them. If you visit the region and want to try a santol, they can also easily be found in most markets. Most people say that the taste and texture are essentially a mix of peach and apple.
- Latin name: Citrus limon
- Origin: Native to Northeast India, China, and northern Myanmar
- Size: Around 2″ in diameter
- Uses: Often used as a flavor additive for a range of dishes and drinks; frequently made into lemonade
- Color varieties: These famous fruits are an incredibly bright and sunny yellow.
The lemon is one of the more recognizable fruits on the list. The majority of people consider it to be too sour to eat on its own, but it is delicious when added to savory dishes in small amounts or when mixed with sugar to create sweet drinks and desserts. There are several different lemon cultivars, but an especially interesting one is the pink-fleshed Eureka lemon.
- Latin name: Prunus persica var. nectarina
- Origin: Native to Northwest China
- Size: About 2″ to 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Often eaten by itself or baked into desserts
- Color varieties: Many nectarines are a bright yellow-orange mixed with red. There are also whitish varieties where the base color is more yellow-white.
Not too many people know that nectarines and peaches are the same species. Even though they are sold as different fruits in most stores, nectarines are just the non-fuzzy version of peaches. Nectarines and peaches tend to be associated with the American South, but the vast majority of the world’s peaches (62% as of 2018) are produced by China.
36. Bolivian Rainbow Pepper
- Latin name: Capsicum annuum ‘Bolivian Rainbow’
- Origin: Native to Bolivia, where it has been grown for centuries
- Size: About 1″ long
- Uses: Primarily ornamental
- Color varieties: These peppers change color as they age. At first, they are purple. They then turn to yellow, and then to orange, and then to red. Since they face upward, they are sometimes compared to Christmas lights.
Most pepper varieties are cultivars of the same species, Capsicum annuum. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at these festive little peppers. They are mostly used to add a burst of color to your garden, but you can technically eat them. They just aren’t known for being particularly flavorful.
- Latin name: Nephelium lappaceum
- Origin: Native to Southeast Asia
- Size: About 1″ to 1.6″ in diameter
- Uses: Widely sold as a food item; often use to make jams and jellies
- Color varieties: The fuzzy, hairlike outer part of the fruit is a deep, intense red. It offers a dramatic contrast with the fruit’s white interior.
The rambutan just might be the strangest little fruit on the list. Its skin looks like it’s coated in red fuzz. The Vietnamese name for it even translates to “messy hair.” At one point, these fruits were introduced to the southeastern part of the United States, but they were unable to be grown successfully.
38. Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato
- Latin name: Solanum lycopersicum ‘Brad’s atomic grape’
- Origin: Developed in California
- Size: About 1″ to 3″ long
- Uses: Often eaten plain or included in salads
- Color varieties: Different individual tomatoes will have slightly different patterning. Most have streaks of deep purple, but they also have the sunset-like colors of red, yellow, and orange.
Brad Gates, the tomato breeder behind the Brad’s Atomic Grape cultivar, is sometimes described as being the Willy Wonka of tomato breeding. That’s because he tends to create colorful tomato varieties unlike anything anyone has seen before. But it isn’t just color; Brad also works to make tomatoes taste the best they can.
- Latin name: Averrhoa carambola
- Origin: Native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia
- Size: About 2″ to 6″
- Uses: Primarily eaten by itself as a snack fruit or stewed with spices
- Color varieties: This fruit has a somewhat neon coloration that is usually a very bright yellow-green.
As far as exotic fruits go, starfruit is one of the best for general snacking. This fruit is incredibly juicy, and when sliced into cross-sections, it looks like a collection of tiny stars. In terms of texture, it’s similar to grapes. In many Asian countries, starfruit is often cooked with spices and made into sauces. In China, it’s even cooked with fish!
40. Purple Beauty Peppers
- Latin name: Capsicum annuum ‘Purple Beauty’
- Origin: Native to South America
- Size: About 3″ wide
- Uses: Typically used much like other bell peppers; it’s an excellent addition to salads
- Color varieties: These stunning peppers are a very dark purple that is almost the color of an eggplant.
Purple peppers are especially beautiful in the field. And if you slice and serve them raw, they’ll add a burst of purple to salads and other dishes. But if you cook them, they will lose their purple coloration and turn green. This might sound like an odd occurrence, but it isn’t unique to purple beauties; it happens if you cook any type of purple pepper! Interestingly enough, if Purple Beauty peppers are allowed to mature fully (when they turn red), they won’t lose their color when cooked.
41. Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Latin name: Brassica oleracea ‘Purple Sprouting’
- Origin: Native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean
- Size: Around 8″ tall
- Uses: Can be eaten either raw or steamed; tender texture makes it a great broccoli for eating raw
- Color varieties: This particular kind of broccoli is mostly green, but its many small sprouting heads are purple. The color difference plus the fact that it doesn’t grow single crowns means that some people may not recognize it as broccoli.
If you aren’t a fan of regular broccoli, you might want to give purple sprouting broccoli a try. Since it grows many small heads and side shoots (instead of one tough crown-like regular broccoli) it’s surprisingly tender.
42. Sugar Baby Watermelon
- Latin name: Citrullus lanatus ‘Sugar Baby’
- Origin: Native to West Africa
- Size: Usually about 12″ in diameter
- Uses: Ideal for eating by itself, putting into a fruit salad, or juicing
- Color varieties: Most watermelons are a bright pinkish red, but the Sugar Baby cultivar has an especially brightly-colored center. Since its skin is very dark green, its interior color really stands out.
There’s nothing quite like a cold slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. And when it comes to watermelons, the Sugar Baby cultivar is famous for its finely-textured, extremely sweet flesh. It’s an heirloom variety of watermelon that’s especially popular among backyard growers. Its small size makes it ideal for keeping in a fridge, too.
43. Solar Flare Tomato
- Latin name: Solanum lycopersicum ‘Solar Flare’
- Origin: Specially bred in California
- Size: About 3″ in diameter
- Uses: Ideal for slicing and putting on sandwiches and salads
- Color varieties: These tomatoes are among the most striking heirloom varieties. They have a red base color typical of most tomatoes, but then they also have yellow-orange vertical lines that look a lot like the sun’s rays.
The Solar Flare tomato cultivar really knows how to make a statement. You’ve probably seen red tomatoes and yellow tomatoes, but have you ever seen one that combines those colors as gracefully as this one? The Solar Flare tastes good too. And as one of the beefsteak tomato varieties, it’s perfect for creating meaty slices.
44. Miracle Berry
- Latin name: Synsepalum dulcificum
- Origin: Native to West Africa
- Size: About 1″ long
- Uses: Often used as a sweetener for many foods and beverages
- Color varieties: The miracle berry has a reddish color that, combined with its shape, makes it look a bit like a grape tomato. However, some plants have berries that have undertones of bright magenta for a pinkish hue.
This unusual fruit is named after its bizarre and incredible power. If you eat a miracle berry and then immediately eat something sour (like a lime), it will taste sweet. That’s because it contains a molecule that attaches to your tongue’s taste buds, making things taste sweet.
45. Sea Buckthorn
- Latin name: Hippophae rhamnoides
- Origin: Native to parts of Europe and Asia
- Size: About 1/4″ to 1/3″ in diameter
- Uses: Fruits have various uses in the food and pharmaceutical industries
- Color varieties: The sea buckthorn is most notable for its unusual combination of colors. Its spiny leaves are a silver-tinged green, while its fruits are a bright, energetic red orange.
The sea buckthorn has been useful at least as far back as ancient Greece. Its genus name, Hippophae, comes from two Greek words meaning “to shine” and “horse.” That’s because the ancient Greeks fed it to horses in order to make their coats shine.
46. Alpine Strawberry
- Latin name: Fragaria vesca
- Origin: Native to many parts of the Northern Hemisphere
- Size: Around 0.75″
- Uses: Often collected from the wild to eat; sometimes used as edging or ground cover
- Color varieties: Alpine strawberries, like most other strawberry types, are red. However, some subspecies in particular have incredibly bright red fruits.
The name “Alpine strawberry” suggests that these fruits have a very limited range, but they are actually one of the most widespread plants on the list. They can be found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. In many places, they grow in the wild, but they also are cultivated in gardens. Since the plants extend runners, Alpine strawberries are sometimes a good choice for ground cover. It’s worth noting that, while this plant has tiny fruits, they are very flavorful and can sometimes be collected for food.
47. Cocozelle Zucchini
- Latin name: Cucurbita pepo ‘Cocozelle’
- Origin: Developed in Italy
- Size: About 8″ to 10″ long
- Uses: Ideal for grilling, roasting, making zucchini bread, or even adding to salads
- Color varieties: The Cocozelle zucchini has a much more eye-catching pattern than your typical dark green zucchini. It is usually darker green with lighter green vertical stripes, but the exact amount of dark and light green will vary.
This beautiful zucchini, also called Cocozella di Napoli, has been a fixture in Italian gardens for centuries. And if you pick and eat the zucchini when it is especially small, it is significantly more tender than most other varieties. The Cocozelle was introduced to America in 1890, and it took off in popularity almost immediately.
48. Black Russian Tomato
- Latin name: Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Black Russian’
- Origin: Developed in Russia
- Size: Around 3″ to 4″ in diameter
- Uses: Often grown in greenhouses; ideal for slicing and using in salads
- Color varieties: This striking tomato isn’t completely black, but its otherwise red skin looks slightly clouded over with black or dark brown. Some elements of green round out its look.
The Black Russian cultivar may look a bit unusual (and some people may even find the darker skin less appetizing), but it has an incredibly complex and balanced flavor. It’s ideal in dishes where fresh tomatoes shine. Try them in an antipasto salad, or put a slice or two on a sandwich.
49. Easter Egg Radish
- Latin name: Raphanus sativus ‘Easter egg’
- Origin: Different colors have different developers
- Size: About 1″ to 2″ in diameter
- Uses: Ideal for use in salads or soups
- Color varieties: “Easter Egg radishes” are technically just combinations of different color varieties. Most packets of Easter Egg radish seeds will be able to grow purple, pink, red, yellow, and white varieties, and some may offer even more colors.
Unlike flowers or peppers, radishes grow underground, so you won’t be able to admire Easter Egg radishes until they’re harvested. Still, radishes tend to be underused and underrated, and these engaging colors might entice the hesitant to try one. When you combine and slice different colors, they can really add some new energy to almost any dish.
50. Korean Melon
- Latin name: Cucumis melo Makuwa Group
- Origin: Likely native to eastern India
- Size: Around 4″ to 5″ in diameter
- Uses: Typically eaten fresh by itself
- Color varieties: These are some of the brightest melons out there! Korean melons have bright, vibrant yellow skin. They are marked with paler yellow lines that create a subtle pattern.
In the case of this cheerful-looking fruit, “Korean melon” is a bit of a misnomer. Experts aren’t completely sure where it originated, but this melon likely came from India. It was only later that it was introduced to Korea. Still, in Korean culture, this small, sweet melon has become very popular.
- Latin name: Actinidia deliciosa
- Origin: Native to eastern and central China
- Size: About 1″ to 2″ in diameter
- Uses: Typically eaten as a snack or put into fruit salad
- Color varieties: Kiwis are almost always green on the inside, but the lighter center and ring of small black seeds make the slices look more interesting. The fruit’s flesh is bright green, which creates a surprising contrast against its brown fuzzy exterior.
Based on the name, you might think that the kiwi is native to New Zealand. It is not, but it does have an interesting connection. In the early 20th century, New Zealand imported kiwis and started growing them. Their kiwi industry began to really thrive beginning in the 1940s and 1950s, and today, New Zealand is a major exporter of kiwis.
52. Tongue of Fire Shelling Bean
- Latin name: Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Tongue of Fire’
- Origin: Developed in Italy
- Size: Pods are around 3″ long
- Uses: Primarily used in stews and soups
- Color varieties: The Tongue of Fire bean cultivar has one of the most mesmerizing patterns on the list. All down the pod, it appears to be streaked with off-white and bright magenta.
These shelling beans are a lot more colorful than most beans you’ve seen, but they’re also incredibly nutritious. Like some similar bean types, they are rich in both protein and carbohydrates, so they can help ensure a meal is nutritionally balanced. Among northern Italians, Tongue of Fire shelling beans are the beans of choice.
- Latin name: Selenicereus undatus
- Origin: Native to the Americas
- Size: About 4.5 inches in diameter
- Uses: Often eaten plain; also used for flavorings and colorings
- Color varieties: This fruit (a variety of which is known as dragonfruit) is one of the most colorful on the list. The central flesh is white with the black specks of seeds. But the outer flesh is where the pitaya really shines. It’s a bright pinkish purple with hints of magenta. And of course, this color pops with its green leaves.
This beautiful tropical fruit has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. Thanks to its center full of seeds, the pitaya is similar to kiwi when eaten raw. Interestingly, the family of pigments that colors red onion, Swiss chard, and other purple vegetables is responsible for coloring the skin of this fruit.
Nature’s Most Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
So there’s the list: some familiar fruits and vegetables and some that you may have never seen before. Whether you want to add some variety to your diet, some color to your life, or both, we hope you’ll pick up something from the list soon!