7 Unusual Additives to Spice Up Your Staples


Say Goodbye to Boring Salads

You grow a garden so you can have fresh veggies for salads on a constant basis. Why subject yourself to the same boring lettuce – tomato – cucumber mix?

For the same amount of effort and garden space, you can grow a wild variety of salad tastes and textures, giving you and your family a vivid variety of great foods to enjoy. Whether it’s a new twist on an old favorite or something completely unique and different, try some new plants in your garden plot this year.

Rainbow Carrots

They may look like something out of a Dr. Suess story, but rainbow carrots are very real. Originally, wild carrots were white or purple, not the vivid orange we’re used to seeing today. Get a packet of rainbow carrot seeds and you can grow a patch that yields red, orange, yellow, white and purple varieties. Bonus points: besides the usual Vitamin A, each color of carrots offers a different mix of nutrients.


This trendy fruit has been growing in popularity for the past few years, and with good reason. The tiny gourd looks like a watermelon, but it’s about the size of a large grape. Also known as mouse melons or Mexican sour gherkins, these tasty treats have a flavor like cucumbers with lime juice. Slice them up and sprinkle them in salads or eat fresh handfuls during hot summer afternoons.


Jicama has made an appearance in Mexican restaurants over the past 20 years and is becoming more mainstream. Easy to grow, this root vegetable looks like a big tomato. It tastes delicious when sliced into matchsticks and tossed in salads, or you can marinate them in lime juice and chili powder, then serve them on the side of a variety of dishes.


Originally from South America, this vining plant grows small pods covered with silky soft spines. The flavor is like a mix of cucumbers and green peppers. Use achocha raw in salads, or cook them in any dish you’d normally use green peppers in.

Blue Berries Tomatoes

These tiny cherry tomatoes are unique in color: they’re so dark their skin is a blueish purple color. The ones that get the most sun will get so dark they almost look black. The flavor is intensely sweet and fruity, and the plants will yield crops all summer long.

Red Currant Tomatoes

In the world of miniature tomatoes, this fruit may take the prize. Each one is only about half an inch across, and they grow in bunches on stems much like grapes. These teeny, tiny tomatoes are perfect for salads, with a strong sweet and sour flavor and a firm texture that won’t squirt juice all over.

Bean Sprouts

Not a plant to grow in your garden, bean sprouts begin their lives right on the kitchen counter. All you need for your first sprouting adventure is a canning jar or recycled marinara sauce jar, some cheesecloth, and a rubber band.

Depending on the variety of seeds you sprout, you’ll have tasty, crunchy additions to your salads in just a few days. Want to get your kids interested in gardening? Give them their own sprout jar and learn how to grow bean sprouts together. The flavors run from intense and peppery to mild and lettuce-like.


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