Sunday, August 15, 2010

Raw Foods And Edibility!

Now, despite what this topic is about, I am not a vegan or vegetarian, or a raw foodie for that matter. I'm just your regular old foodie. I have no objection to eating meats and animal products, ranging from honey to chicken and even stuff that most people wouldn't touch, like offal and bugs. I usually cook my food, though I do sometimes consume it raw, usually in the case of salads or fruit. But, alas, I am simply appalled by the lack of information around on the internet in regards to what foods can be eaten raw! Henceforth, I have decided to create a post on my blog to help you, my friends, determine what foods are best eaten raw, and what to avoid eating raw.

Now, there's a lot of people that advocate the consumption of either cooked or raw foods, claiming that one has better nutrients than the other. Though the nutritional value of cooked and raw foods might differ, I remind you that I am in no way taking sides here - I just eat what tastes good. For starters, I'll split the list into meats, animal products, grains, seeds and nuts, culinary fruit, and culinary vegetables. It's important to remember that not all foods fall into a clear category, however - I'll mark these out. There are, however, far too many types of foods for me to write about within a single post, so I'll be listing mostly foods that are easily available on the market.

But before I begin, I'd like to remind you what I mean here by raw - Generally, the term is used to refer to uncooked foods, that is, foods that have not been exposed to heat enough to change their chemical composition (Generally around 60 to 65 Celsius is the accepted changing point.). However, to be truly raw, a food needs to be unprocessed as well. To avoid confusion, I'll clearly state when a food that is normally toxic or unpalatable raw, can be eaten when salted, pickled, dried, or otherwise still raw but unprocessed. And uh, just so you don't think this post is entirely devoid of photos...

Though generally, eating meats raw is usually avoided, there are some meats that you can eat raw. However, since there's not a lot of variety here, I'll include everything, for your safety.
- Arthropods
If you're so inclined, most insects considered to be edible are also edible raw, shell and all. There is very little information indicating otherwise, though they are usually cooked to improve flavor and texture. I would ask the cook first, except in the case of bush food, which is generally eaten raw since no method of cooking is available.
- Beef
Beef is about the only common meat that is considered safe to eat raw. However, the practice is usually frowned upon in most places. However, some people still do enjoy a blue steak, which is essentially seared, but not cooked. Rare steak, while still pink, should be cooked inside, and is safe to eat except in extreme circumstances. In some countries, however, raw meat is considered a delicacy, and in general, lean, prime mince, often made from ground eye fillets, are the choice meat for consuming raw. Like any meat, however, it has to be properly stored and prepared, lest you feel in the mood for some sickness.
- Crustaceans
That's a type of shellfish, people! Y'know, crabs and lobsters, but not mussels and oysters. At any rate, it essentially includes any shellfish with jointed limbs. While most crustaceans are indeed wholly edible raw, with some tasting rather good, there is still a risk of disease, especially in wild specimens, and some varieties must be cooked to remove toxins. If you plan on eating raw crustaceans, make sure it's prepared properly, preferably at a restaurant with a reputation for good hygiene. In general, though, crustaceans are usually eaten cooked, since when raw, the shell is tough and hard to break.
- Cured Meats
Heavily cured or salted meats, such as jerky, are almost always edible raw. No problem there, it's made for that. However, hams and bacon and salami and other processed meats are a little more ambiguous, since they are, in a way, cooked. However, most of these products are left standing for quite a while, and require further cooking before consumption. While most such meats are indeed edible (And sometimes palatable) raw, I advise strongly against it due to the risk of parasitic diseases and microbial growth.
- Fish
Almost all varieties of fish that we use as food can also be eaten raw. Usually, however, raw fish, known as sashimi in Japan and at sushi stalls, is made from farmed fish known to be free from parasites and disease. In particular, fish that are best served raw include salmon, tuna, snapper, and a few other varieties. Varieties that should not be eaten raw include pufferfish (It's really deadly if not prepared correctly), carp, rockfish, dogfish, shark, and pretty much any fish with any kind of pointy spines. Like most raw meat, however, it's best left to the professionals to prepare. If you choose to eat raw fish that you've caught, you do so at your own risk.
- Lamb
Sometimes considered a midway point between pork and beef, lamb is a less common meat, so information is less available. Though never ever served truly raw, lamb can be served rare, but doing so is considered bad cooking. Presumably, this meat can be eaten raw, like beef and venison, but my advice is against it due to a lack of reliable information.
- Mollusks
Like all seafood, the majority of molluscs, that is, bivalves such as mussels, gastropods such as snails, and cephalopods such as squid, are edible raw. However, in many, toxins may build up in certain parts of the body, and texture may render the majority of the animal unpalatable. If you intend on consuming raw mollusks, I would recommend sticking to well known, farmed species, in particular, oysters, clams, mussels, and a few specific gastropods, depending on where you live. Squid and octopus are far too chewy, and jellyfish usually need to be parboiled to neutralize any stings present. I just tried raw snail the other day. I can't say it was good, but it certainly was interesting.
- Pork
Pork is not generally considered to be edible raw, coming very close indeed to being a white meat. It is important to remember that bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli grow better on whiter meats, and so the consumption of raw pork is advised against strongly.
- Poultry
I highly discourage eating this food raw. Chicken and other poultry garners bacteria much faster than other meats, and as a result, even if cooked on the outside, bacteria can still be carried, with the risk of food-borne diseases such as salmonella being high in such cases. Always make sure your poultry is cooked through and through, from the inside to the outside - it should be opaque, not translucent.
- Venison
Much like beef, venison is generally considered safe to eat raw, though still discouraged due to food safety concerns and general cultural taboo.

While most meats can be eaten raw without ill effect, if fresh, the practice is generally advised against due to the risk of disease from not only bacteria and viruses, but from the presence of other infections such as the parasitic flatworms and roundworms. Though most farmed animals will be free of these parasites, cases of infection are not unheard of. If you decide to eat raw meat, you do so at your own risk. Another important thing to remember is never to eat it raw unless it is fresh; frozen meats that have been thawed or meats that have hung around for a while will almost always have bacteria growing on them, and need to be cooked before consumption.

Dairy And Other Animal Products:
Almost all of these are or at least were consumed raw before the advent of modern technology.
- Eggs
In general, eggs are too slimy and gooey to be palatable to most people, but are indeed edible raw. While studies have shown both positive and negative health impacts of eating raw eggs, most people generally stay away from them due to the risk of microbial growth inside the egg. It seems that nowadays, eating raw eggs is for oldies and is an antiquated and obsolete practice. But some still love them.
- Fermented Milk Products
This includes everything from cheese to yoghurt, and though they may be fermented, they are done in controlled conditions. Fermenting, really, is just a different form of pickling. So if the person is good at what their doing, ie. the food comes from a reliable source, go right ahead. If your friend decided to make his own cheese in less-than-favorable conditions, be wary.
- Honey And Other Insect Products
Though honey and other insect-derived products are edible raw, most honey purchased from the store is pasteurized to modify the texture and consistency as well as microbial content. However, since honey is a natural disinfectant, and has such a high sugar content, you needn't worry at all about the risk of disease, unless feeding it to an infant. Unlike milk, unpasteurized honey can be purchased from most grocery stores, and is usually labeled as raw honey. On the other hand, if you're out in the wild and really safety conscious, you might not want to touch that hive full of wild honey, as the honey produced from some flowers can be toxic to humans, and on occasion, toxic to the bees as well.
- Milk And Cream And Butter
Yeah, this stuff is definitely edible raw, as are all the products derived from it. However, these days, most milk products are pasteurized, and thus in a way, cooked, or at least, free of bacteria. There's really no risk from drinking unpasteurized milk, unless the cow is sick - and if you can get your hands on unpasteurized milk nowadays, you'll no doubt know the state of the cow as well.

Grains And Cereals:
Generally speaking, most grains can indeed be eaten raw. However, most grains are cooked before eating, due to problems with palatability, bloating or blockage, and our bodies' ability to digest them and extract nutrients from them. Despite this, people find ways around these problems. A popular method of rendering a raw grain edible without cooking it is by soaking it. While some grains may not need soaking at all, such as oats and the pseudocereal buckwheat, some grains need to be soaked for a only a few hours to be rendered palatable, such as barley, sorghum, and millet. On the far side of the spectrum, are the cereals that may require a few nights of soaking before consumption, such as wheat and it's relatives, and the pseudocereals amaranth and quinoa. Essentially, there are only two grains which are inedible raw - Maize, otherwise known as corn, and rice. While maize is safe to eat in small amounts while raw, it can be extremely unpalatable, and in certain varieties, impossible to chew. Generally, the raw corn passes through our bodies largely unaltered, and because of this, excess consumption may cause blockage in the intestines. Rice, on the other hand, is a very dense grain, and a ridiculously long period of soaking would be required in order to make it palatable, somewhere in the order of months, by which time it would begin fermenting.

Legumes, Seeds, And Nuts:
As a general rule, legumes such as beans and lentils require cooking, whilst seeds and nuts can be eaten raw. However, this is not always the case, as noted below.
- Acorns
Yes, acorns are edible, but only if cooked. These commonly overlooked seeds have been a staple food of many cultures over the years, but when uncooked, possess a strong bitter flavor and can cause gastrointestinal stress. They must be parboiled to remove the toxins before consumption.
- Almonds
While most almonds are indeed edible, there is a particular variety known for it's potential to be toxic when uncooked. This variety, known as the bitter almond, has been banned from being sold raw in some countries. Although not inherently dangerous, these raw bitter almonds, which have a taste akin to almond essence or the inside of a stonefruit pit, contain small amounts of cyanide, which in excess, can cause sickness, and in some cases, death. If in doubt as to which kind of almonds you're eating, I'd recommend sticking to just roasted ones, as the cooking process destroys the toxins.
- Cashews
All cashew nuts that you find in stores have been steamed to some degree, even if they claim to be raw, as it is required to neutralize a portion of a poison present in their shell, and to make it easier for workers to extract the nuts from the shells. If you do find a cashew tree, both the nut and the cashew apple are edible raw, though take care not to eat any part of the shell. To get raw cashews, you'd likely have to go to a cashew farm.
- Chestnuts
The edibility of raw chestnuts is sometimes disputed, as some people experience intestinal distress after eating the raw nuts. If you do decide to go out looking for chestnuts to eat, make sure you don't confuse the plant with the toxic conker, the horse chestnut tree.
- Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a staple food in India and the Middle East. Though usually roasted and ground into a flour, or parboiled to soften them, they are edible raw and even unripe, often used as snacks. They are also an excellent source of protein for the budding vegetarian.
- Green Beans
Green beans are the unripe pods of a number of different legumes. Though usually cooked, most varieties of green beans are edible raw, such as from the yard-long bean, the winged bean, and the common bean. Take care, however, not to eat the green pods of other legumes, such as that of the broad bean. In general, the crisp, stiff green beans are best for eating raw - Stay away from limp and wrinkly ones.
- Lentils
Though usually cooked, lentils can be eaten raw if soaked for a few hours or more. If unsoaked, the consumption of raw lentils can cause severe bloating. Consumption of raw, soaked lentils is very common amongst raw foodies, since it's a good source of protein to replace meat.
- Linseed
Linseed, known in some parts as flaxseed, is indeed edible raw. While not toxic, however, the excess consumption of whole linseed without an adequate supply of water can cause intestinal blockage, requiring medical intervention.
- Mung Beans
Mung beans, unlike most larger beans, are edible raw. Though they do not require soaking like some legumes, people may do it anyway in order to improve or soften the texture.
- Peas
Peas fresh from the pod, mature or baby, are delicious raw. The pod can also be edible raw, but is best when picked young, otherwise it can be stringy and difficult to eat.
- Split Peas
Some people may confuse split peas with either chickpeas or lentils, but they are an entirely different food. They are the dried and split legume of the common pea, so they are edible raw, but some people may recommend soaking to improve texture.
- Water Chestnuts
Like normal chestnuts, water chestnuts can be eaten raw, though according to reports in China, there have been cases of parasites being passed from the aquatic plant, though these occurances are very rare.

Culinary Fruit:
While almost all fruit is edible raw, there are a few exceptions, in most cases due to palatability or textural concerns. Generally speaking, it would be wise to avoid eating fruit seeds, as some are toxic, and in the right dose, can be fatal, as noted below.
- Apples And Pears
Apples and pears are completely edible raw, with the exception of the small seeds at their cores, which is now becoming common knowledge. These seeds contain small amounts of cyanide in them, and excess consumption (In the order of perhaps twenty seeds a day.) can cause sickness, and even death. Best not to eat the core, but it's perfectly fine if you swallow a few by accident, so don't panic.
- Cherries And Other Drupes
As brilliant a fruit as cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and other drupes, or stonefruit, are, care should be taken not to eat the pit inside, as they are known to contain cyanide in various forms, similar to the bitter almond.
- Cranberries
Though not toxic, cranberries are often considered much too astringent, sour, and bitter to be eaten raw. If consumed raw, one can add sugar to counteract the bad flavors, though those with weak stomachs may find that raw cranberries do not sit well with them. They are not, however, toxic.
- Elderberries
Though both the flower and the berry of the elderflower plant is edible, care should be taken not to consume any other part of the plant, including the seeds of the berries, as they are toxic and can result in sickness.
- Figs
Most people don't think of figs as fresh fruit, and in fact have never encountered them fresh before, but they are in fact very edible in their raw form. Some people, however, may find the taste unappealing, and certain species of figs are rendered unpalatable by their dryness.
- Gooseberries
Like cranberries, gooseberries can be eaten raw, but are often cooked as most people find their flavor too sour for normal consumption.
- Papaya
Most people might not know this, but not only is the flesh of the papaya, sometimes known as pawpaw, edible, but the seeds are, too. The seeds can be eaten raw or dried, and have a pungent flavor often likened to black pepper.
- Quince
A relative of the apple, the quince is most often used in desserts and preserves, and are notable for being one of the few 'common' fruits that cannot be eaten raw in most cases. There are, however, varieties of quince that are palatable raw, but the majority are too astringent and sour, and must be left to blett before eating raw.
- Rhubarb
Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb is used like a fruit, and the stem is entirely edible while raw, contrary to popular opinion. It is, however, very tart, and so dipping it in sugar may be required. The leaves of the rhubarb plant, on the other hand, contain very high amounts of oxalic acid, and are toxic even after cooking.
- Rosehips
Though most varieties of rosehips used in cuisine are edible raw, many find them unpalatable, and in certain kinds, the short fibers from the inside of the tiny fruit can cause irritation of the mouth and throat - It's one of the ingredients in old-fashioned itching powder. They are not, however, toxic.
- Tamarillo
Similar in acidity to rhubarb, the tamarillo or tree tomato is a sub-tropical fruit known for it's tart flavor. Though often cooked, it is popular raw in some places, though most people refrain from eating the skin due to it's excessive sourness. Like rhubarb, it is also often served with sugar to sweeten it.
- Wolfberries
Also known as the goji berry, wolfberries are traditionally dried and then cooked in soups in Asian cuisine. They are, however, more recently being used in foods as a source of antioxidants, and are edible raw, like most other fruit.

Culinary Vegetables:
Though usually cooked before serving, there are a great variety of vegetables that are used in salads or otherwise served raw. However, a large majority of people are unsure of which vegetables can be eaten safely whilst raw, and often consume ones that aren't.
- Artichoke
While there are some people that do eat artichoke raw, it's not exactly a recorded practice in history. While it seems to be safe to eat, some people find the texture of even cooked artichoke unsettling.
- Asparagus
Asparagus, especially the young roots, is indeed safe to eat raw, and is used especially in salads as an emerging food in the culinary world. I myself, find it far too tough to eat raw, but that might just be me.
- Aubergine
Commonly known as eggplant, aubergine is a relative of the potato and tomato. While some particular varieties are edible raw, the seeds contained within them are rather bitter, and other varieties contain toxins that need to be purged through cooking. It's best to cook your aubergines.
- Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots aren't edible raw. In fact, they're so acrid that they need to be sliced very thinly and boiled multiple times. In particular, some varieties of bamboo shoots contain cyanide in them, and can be toxic in large amounts. Cooking destroys the toxins present.
- Beets
Beets, both the root and the leaves, are popular edible foods when cooked. While the beetroot is entirely safe to eat raw, the leaves require a little more caution, since, like spinach, they contain a high level of oxalic acid, which is destroyed during cooking. Generally, only the young leaves are eaten raw in salads.
- Bell Pepper
Bell peppers, also known as capsicum, are botanically a fruit, as many culinary vegetables are. Both the flesh and the seeds inside are edible raw, though the latter is usually thrown out due to it's unpleasant bitter flavor. Sweetness of bell peppers varies usually depending on color.
- Bitter Melons
Bitter melon, while in most cuisine is cooked, can be eaten raw, and is a component in some particular salads. However, either cooked, or raw, it still lives up to its name.
- Bok Choy
Though generally considered to be edible when raw, bok choy, a variety of Chinese cabbage, is usually cooked to soften it. There has, however, been a case of death where a Chinese woman died from overconsumption of bok choy - that is, between two and three pounds of the stuff daily. While raw bok choy does contain small amounts of toxins that can increase the chances of developing cancer or cause illness in larger doses, consuming that much of the same kind of food every day could be dangerous for health, regardless of what it is.
- Broccoli
Broccoli is a popular vegetable to be eaten raw, especially in modern times as snacks to go along with refreshments, served with hummus or other various dips. If you're growing your own broccoli, however, it is important to remember to eat it before the buds begin flowering.
- Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, like most leafy vegetables, can be eaten raw, and are prepared by cutting off the stem and any remainders as well as removing any loose leaves on the sprout. They are, however, usually eaten cooked, but either way, are known for their distinct, slightly bitter flavor.
- Cabbage
While edible raw, to an extent, cabbage is most often cooked before consumption. Alternately, it can be pickled in various forms, served as sauerkraut, kimchi, and so on.
- Carrots
Yeah, some of the things I put here are obviously edible raw. But for those of you concerned about disease, you might want to scrub your carrots first, but don't peel them! The skin is where all the vitamins are. Some carrots, though, may be bitter with the skin still on (Like purple carrots...).
- Cauliflower
While like broccoli, cauliflower is also edible raw, but most people cook it beforehand. It can also be pickled, but I've honestly never seen that around.
- Celeriac
This uncommon root vegetable is highly underrated. Grown from a variant of the celery plant, celeriac is a glorious food, in my opinion, and unlike the common potato is edible in its raw form. Enjoy. If you can find it, that is.
- Celery
While celery is indeed edible raw, for some reason a lot of people give me this weird look when I say I eat the stuff raw. I guess most people put it in soups. When raw, it's good with a hummus dip, or spread with a little cheese spread or peanut butter (But not both!).
- Chard
Also known as Swiss chard or silverbeet, chard is a vegetable not unlike spinach and beet leaves. Like the two, it is high in oxalic acid, and generally the leaves should be cooked before consumption. However, leaves of a young plant may be consumed, again like spinach and beet.
- Chicory
Chicory, not to be confused with endives, even though sometimes people call it that, is a leafy vegetable that is more often than not, consumed raw. The Belgians, on the other hand, grow their chicory in the dark and pickled the resulting white leaves, often cooking them before consumption. The root, on the other hand, is far too bitter to be consumed raw.
- Cress
Cress, also known as garden cress and pepper grass, is a common salad ingredient. Need I say more?
- Cucumber
While all cucumbers can be eaten raw, it's important to remember that certain varieties have nigh inedible skin that's far too tough to chew, and being a summer squash, the cucumber is actually harvested before it's fully ripe. Cucumber slices with a dapple of salt make a great snack.
- Dandelion
Ah, another highly underrated vegetable. While all parts of a dandelion plant are raw, I would highly advise against rummaging through your garden for the stuff. There are many other plants that people mix up with dandelions, such as catsears and hawksbeards, amongst other false dandelions. Most of these are not edible.
- Endives
The curly leaved endive is known for it's particularly bitter leaves, and though most people would probably prefer it cooked, it can be eaten in it's raw form without concern.
- Fennel
While most people think of fennel as an herb, the florence bulb at the base of the plant is often used as a vegetable, with a mild anise-like flavor. It can be eaten raw.
- Fiddleheads
Otherwise known as crosiers, fiddleheads are baby fern fronds used as a vegetable. While certain species are edible raw, the practice is advised against since the exact source isn't often known, as these are more of a bush food than anything. You're better off cooking these.
- Garlic
For those brave and foolish enough to try this pungent spice raw, go right ahead. It's great for the sinuses and immune system. But be warned... It's potent! Not to mention the resultant breath.
- Kale
As a close relative of cabbage, kale is often used as a salad ingredient amongst other strongly flavored foods. It's perfectly safe to eat raw.
- Leeks
Like other onion-related plants, leeks can be served either cooked or raw, and tend to be more potent in flavor when uncooked. They make a great addition to salads.
- Lettuce
All varieties of lettuce are edible raw, and almost always served raw. Only my dad would cook lettuce. For some reason, he treats it like cabbage.
- Lotus
Ah, the delicate lotus. If you can even get your hands on some fresh lotus, you'll be pleased to know that the entire plant is edible raw. However, younger plants are probably better, as they're less bitter.
- Mushrooms
While there are a few particular species of mushrooms that are edible raw, say, the white button mushroom, you'd probably want to avoid doing so. Not only is there a risk of parasites, but even with cultivated specimens, the mushrooms are grown on a mixture of dead grass and horse manure. So edible, yeah. Preferable, no.
- Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are known for their peppery flavor, and are consumed raw in most cases. They're perfectly safe.
- Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage, otherwise known as Chinese cabbage or celery cabbage, is used in a very similar manner to normal cabbage. Like its close relative, it too can be eaten raw, and is usually wrapped around pork or oysters, dipped in fermented soya bean paste (Gochujang).
- Nettles
Properly known as stinging nettle, which is the most common variety used for food, the leaves of the nettle are edible raw. However, due to the presence of the stinging needles, this can result in extensive rashes inside the mouth. I highly recommend steaming them or cooking them some other way before consumption. You have been warned.
- Nori
Known to most people as just 'seaweed', aonori or laver is actually a specific species. It's the kind you use to make sushi with. Though it it edible raw, it would be hard to get in this form.
- Ocas
Known also as New Zealand yams, ocas are short little red or yellow tubers, and are fully edible raw, with a particularly sweet flavor. If you do decide to cook them, however, just know that they cook very fast. My mother made the mistake of cooking them for too long, and they dissolved...
- Olives
Olives have a disputable edibility when raw. They are extremely bitter whilst raw, and as such, are usually pickled in brine. If you can stomach the flavor, go right ahead.
- Okras
Sometimes known as gumbo, okras are small green seed pods used like a vegetable. Though they are usually cooked, they can be eaten raw, and the leaves of the parent plant are usually used in salads.
- Onions
Onions are perhaps some of the most versatile vegetables around, being used for flavoring, on their own, or as an addition to a meal to bring some balance. While edible raw, some onions can be very pungent and it's recommended that you use only certain varieties for raw consumption. The red onion and Spanish onion are good for such use, as they are sweeter and less... Aromatic.
- Parsnip
Looking like white carrots to some people, parsnips are most often cooked before consumption. Though edible raw, parsnips may be unpalatable, and just like carrots, it may be preferable to scrub them before consumption.
- Plantain
Often confused with bananas, plantains are those starchy ones you use for cooking. While they aren't toxic raw, they can be highly unpalatable, being sour, starchy, or tough, depending upon the ripeness and variety. Some plantain however can be palatable raw. In general, however, it's best to cook them.
- Potatoes
I find it appalling how many people on the internet claim to be eating raw potato. Don't. Just don't. It's pretty bad for you. Potatoes, even the white, clean parts, contain solanine, which is destroyed during cooking. While the toxic dose is high for adults (Approximately half a kilogram, depending on your weight and health), potatoes should always be cooked before consumption. Any green parts or eyes on a potato are inedible and can cause sickness, regardless of whether they are cooked or not.
- Pumpkin
Though consumption of raw pumpkin is almost unheard of, it is actually completely safe, and both the skin and seeds of pumpkins are edible raw. Despite this, some raw pumpkin may still be unpalatable due to textural concerns, with some pumpkin being very tough when raw. It's also not recommended that you eat the pulp near the seeds, as it has a rather bad flavor to it.
- Rocket
Rocket is a common salad green, and is particularly well known for it's sweet, nutty flavor. It's edible raw, without a doubt.
- Shallots
Shallots, another relative of the onion, are also edible raw. Like onions and garlic, however, shallots can be very potent, and often result in bad smelling breath. Consume raw at risk of social stigma.
- Sorrel
Perhaps less well known that rocket or mustard greens, sorrel is nevertheless a common salad green, and can be eaten raw.
- Spinach
Spinach is particularly well known for it's bitterness, which may make it unpalatable raw. This is for good reasons, as spinach is high in oxalic acid, which is toxic. The spinach found in salads is baby spinach, when the leaves are younger and less bitter, and is safe to eat raw.
- Squash
Squash, like pumpkin, is safe to eat raw, though its texture can perhaps be even more unpalatable, and most, if not all people, will cook it before eating it.
- Sweet Potatoes
Not to be confused with yams, sweet potatoes are also a cousin of the potato. While they don't contain solanine when raw, there's evidence suggesting that our body has difficulty digesting sweet potatoes when raw. If you do decide to eat them raw, I'd recommend to limit your intake.
- Taro
Taro, also known as dasheen, amongst other names, is a dark purple tuber related to the potato. It is, however, most definitely not safe to eat raw. Raw taro contains a chemical similar to that found in poison ivy, which causes rashes, and must be handled with gloves and be thoroughly cooked before consumption. Failure to do so could result in swelling of the tongue, mouth, and throat.
- Tomatoes
Tomatoes are edible raw, unless green. Green tomatoes tend to contain small amounts of solanine, like raw potatoes, and should be cooked before consumption. Patchy green and red tomatoes should be fine, however.
- Turnip
Turnips, also known as swedes in some places, are a large root vegetable known for being a famine food. While the large, mature roots are probably unpalatable raw, baby turnips are often eaten raw and are popular in salads. Go figure.
- Watercress
Watercress is a brilliant vegetable, and though usually used in soups, it can be eaten raw as a leafy green in salads.
- Winter Melons
Being a melon, winter melon is most likely edible raw, though I can find no evidence of it. Chances are, it's particularly strong flavor prevent it from being commonly consumed in such a form.
- Yams
The yam, not to be confused with sweet potatoes or ocas, are a widely varying group of vegetables. While some particular variants of yams can be eaten raw, others need to be dried or cooked before consumption. For safety's sake, I would cook them unless I knew the exact cultivar.
- Zucchini
Like other summer squashes, the zucchini, also known as the courgette, is indeed edible raw, though it has a texture that some may consider unappealing, being somewhat like a cross between a cucumber and an aubergine.

Some foods contains certain toxins when raw, and should not be eaten, or only be eaten in limited quantities. Such toxins include oxalic acid and the related oxalates, solanine, goitrogen, cyanides, glucosinolates, anacardic acid, and lectin.

At any rate, that's all the information I can give you without burning out my brain! If you've got any foods to ask about with regards to edibility, both cooked and raw, ask away and I'll see if I can answer!

Disclaimer: This post is written for general entertainment and not as a strict guideline for the consumption of raw foods. While I endure to bring you the most reliable information that I can, I cannot be faulted for any damage you inflict upon yourself or others by eating unsafe foods.

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