Expanding your Edibles
Note: some items on this list we only carry seasonally, our best selection is always in the spring.
Traditional standbys like tomatoes, peppers and strawberries are great, but there’s more out there to expand your edible plant palette like the following:
Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)- they’ve been boosting health in China and Europe for centuries, but remain relatively scarce in Austin gardens. Allow them go cascade in containers or grow vertically. The royal purple flowers are brilliant red super-fruit can be enjoyed in your garden, and you can save a ton by growing your own! Zone 5-9.
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)- You’ve seen these beautiful evergreen trees with large leathery leaves and super fragrant fall flowers around Austin but many people don’t know that the fruit is quite enjoyable. Occasionally we have dwarf varieties that are great in containers. They produce a lot of fruit, so I made a loquat jam years ago to share with neighbors and friends. Zone 8-10.
Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) - not a cold hardy variety but if you have a way to protect it in the winter, the tart, egg-shaped fruit is unique and delicious. And the blooms are gorgeous! Zone 10-11.
Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) - America’s largest fruit, with some varieties weighing up to a pound each! Oblong fruit have a sweet tropical banana/mango custard like flavor. East to grow. Zone 5-9.
Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana) - a great evergreen shrub or small tree with spectacular blooms that are edible as well (taste like raspberry sherbet). The leaves are evergreen with a silver back, the flowers have thick and fleshy petals and the fruit is pulpy and pineapple flavored. Scoop it out and add it dishes from puddings to baked goods. Zone 8-10
Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) has edible pads (Nopal), that taste like green beans with the texture of okra, the flower petals that can be used in salads, and vitamin-rich pear shaped fruit called (Tunas) that taste similar to Kiwi but with harder seeds and less acidic taste. Te prepare the pads, you must first de-bristle them. There are great instructions on Wiki-How: http://www.wikihow.com/Eat-Prickly-Pear-Cactus Zone 8-10.