Vegetables. There must be thousands of them, right? WRONG. Turns out there’s exactly forty, and we’ve decided to rank them, in a gripping two-part series we’re calling…
EVERY VEGETABLE, RANKED.
In last place, it’s the vile demon-fruit, beetroot. Grown in the fires of Hell itself, the beetroot exists only to stain everything it comes into contact with, both with the awful purple dye it pisses everywhere the moment it’s touched, and with its repugnant semi-sweet swamp flavour. Dear beetroot: do one.
Despite what you may believe, nobody likes peas. They like lemon, or oil, or margarine, or salt, all of which are used to disguise the numbing sweetness of the pea. They’re also the most adventurous vegetable, getting into every nook and cranny, no matter how much you try and separate them from the rest of the plate. I salute you, peas, in your endeavours to get the hell away from me.
Also known as ladyfingers, also known as veggie glue-sticks, also known as “ugh”, okra has the least pleasant texture of any vegetable, and a flavour so mild that it serves only as a vehicle for deep-fried breading. While its place in the cuisine of the Deep South, Africa, and India cannot be overstated, it deserves to be retired, like Golden Wonder crisps, or Apu from the Simpsons.
Is there any greater sin than indecision? Not in the cruciferous vegetable world. That’s why the romanesco comes in low down at number 37 – is it a broccoli or a cauliflower? It doesn’t even know. Get in the bin.
Celery is essentially crunchy water, making it the vegetable equivalent of the melon. But it’s not fresh water it tastes of so much as stale bog water.
Fennel has a medicinal taste, not unlike that of anise, and what says good eating more than medicine?
Endive, and its cousin, chicory, are bitter when raw. Despite this, they are often served raw in salads along with tastier leaves such as lettuce. When cooked, the flavour mellows out somewhat, but who’s got time to cook their salad? Thumbs down, endive.
33. Water Chestnut
Come back when you’re a real nut.
The marrow is simply the mature form of the courgette, with tougher skin and less flavourful flesh. It might have been useful in a simpler time, before refrigeration, when that tough skin would help it keep for longer, but this ain’t the dark ages any more.
The caper is the pickled, salted bud of an edible flower. They have exactly one use: to be on top of the Veneziana from Pizza Express, along with pine nuts, sultanas, and olives. Half-empty jars of capers have been known to spontaneously form in any fridge that is left unattended for too long.
30. Bok Choy
Also known as Pak Choi, also known as Chinese Cabbage, also known as “some leaves”, bok choy brings us firmly into the Not Bad section of the list. It’s crispy and crunchety and oh-so-munchety. However, when overcooked, it turns into green slime and ruins stir-fries. Also, in large doses, it can be toxic. But, y’know, so can most things.
29. Spring Onion
Onions: you gotta love ‘em. But sometimes, they’re just too sharp and astringent to eat raw, turning a fresh green salad into a game of Russian Roulette with every mouthful. Enter the spring onion. Be sure and trim the tips so you don’t end up with a bite of onion flavoured grass.
The turnip is the Great Gonzo of the vegetable world. What is it? Where did it come from? Nobody knows. It’s most useful as a filler vegetable, adding body to soups and stews without compromising on flavour. What does it taste of? No-one can say. But it’s pretty good, so you don’t hear me complaining.
Kale has become a bit of a punchline over the last decade. At some point it went from being a cheap, everyday green to a Superfood, and our natural aversion to health kicked in and made us all turn on it. But we shouldn’t let the Demon Nutrition stop us from enjoying kale. It makes amazing, crispy chips, and the curly variety has a texture which can’t be beat.
The aubergine, which has nothing to do with eggs whatsoever thank-you-very-much, has achieved a new lease on life in the digital age, as the emoji which looks the most like a penis. Like the penis, it has spongy flesh and thick skin, and can be quite bitter if prepared incorrectly.
It gave Popeye his strength, and he was only eating the canned stuff. Can you imagine what would have happened if he’d eaten it fresh? He’d have looked like the Hulk! There’s a crossover I want to see.
The cucumber in its unaltered form is nothing special. However, without the cucumber, we wouldn’t have the pickle, and that wouldn’t be a world worth living in.
Possibly the sweetest variety of corn, sweetcorn is an American classic which we in Europe have only been able to enjoy since the late 18th century. Corn on the cob is one of life’s true pleasures, and yet for some reason, corn off the cob is gross and weird. Get it away from me.
A squash is like a pumpkin but not as good. It’s still good, but compared to pumpkin? Utter garbage.
I mean, it’s not all the way rad, but it’s getting there.
What do you think of our ranking? Did we get it right? Are you an incensed beetroot lover out for blood? Let us know in the comments – and keep your eyes peeled for Part 2.
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