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Vegetables that cannot (or at least should not) be eaten raw?

ipsedixit Aug 18, 2006 05:32 PM

Are there any?

  1. r
    raisa Dec 31, 2011 09:21 AM

    Raw okra is pretty yucky. So is kale, artichoke, eggplants, parsnips, brussel sprouts, butternut-squash, winter gourd, yard bean, etc.

    1. IndyGirl Dec 20, 2011 03:43 PM

      eggplant for sure.

      1. k
        kathleen440 Aug 8, 2011 09:52 AM

        Green tomatoes - but then again, you probably shouldn't eat underripe raw fruits/vegetables in general, since they're so irritating to your stomach.

        1. MsDiPesto Aug 6, 2011 08:17 PM

          Those with thyroid issues should avoid cruciferous veggies (ex: broccoli), especially when raw.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MsDiPesto
            piccola Aug 7, 2011 06:20 AM

            What's your source on this? My doctor's never said anything about avoiding cruciferous veggies, cooked or raw.

            1. re: piccola
              unknown25 Dec 1, 2011 12:00 PM

              here an article about how your diet affects the thyroid, it mention avoiding raw cruciferous vegetables :


              1. re: unknown25
                susans Dec 2, 2011 12:44 AM

                That article is nonsense. While it is true that people who have hypothyroidism should eat some foods such as cruciferous vegetables and soy in moderate amounts, the rest of the suggestions are ridiculous. There is no such thing as the thyroid diet.

          2. jillian68 Jan 29, 2011 07:23 AM

            I never eat the skin of a cucumber - it CANNOT be digested - yuk! I limit raw spinach to baby spinich added to salads along with a variety of lettuce. Never raw root vegegables or eggplant. And a far as other posts regarding digestion of greens, that is what our Appendix was once used for - to aid in the digestion of grasses and the like - but, since "cooking" came into existance, the use of this organ declined, now it is a "useless" organ. Just fyi.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jillian68
              1stLink Sep 1, 2013 12:12 PM

              things you can't digest can be good for you. Like starch, fiber.

            2. Veggo Jan 27, 2011 05:40 AM

              Chaya is a leafy shrub that grows in the Yucatan and Central America. Its leaves are toxic when raw, cooking deactivates its toxins. It is usually eaten like cooked spinach, but its pretty good in a liquado blended with lime juice, sugar, and ice. Very nutritious.

              1. d
                dorysaurus Jul 9, 2010 05:41 AM

                As for veggies I think you shouldn't eat raw per the original question, my two cents is acorn.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dorysaurus
                  lgss Jan 27, 2011 02:55 PM

                  Acorn is a nut, not a vegetable...

                2. c
                  Carolinamountaingirl Jul 6, 2010 02:40 PM

                  Callalloo. If not fully cooked, your throat feels like it's closing. (Only did that once!)

                  1. Bittersweet_bigarade Jul 5, 2010 09:51 AM

                    I Had this conversation with my tutor at college!
                    she said you can eat any vegetable raw,it might not taste great but you can!
                    and Iv'e stucktot his ever since.

                    1. f
                      fara Jul 5, 2010 09:42 AM

                      my preference is to cook most vegetables. some vegetables i can't tolerate raw: cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, celery

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: fara
                        hyacinthgirl Jan 27, 2011 09:19 AM

                        That's almost the exact list of vegetables I prefer to eat raw.

                      2. alixium Jul 4, 2010 02:24 PM

                        I have never eaten raw asparagus... must be odd.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: alixium
                          alanbarnes Jul 4, 2010 02:45 PM

                          Raw asparagus is a good crudite, so long as it's young and tender.

                        2. s
                          SeoulQueen Jul 4, 2010 02:03 PM

                          Amongst family and friends, I'm the only one that seems to like brussels sprouts. I think they always have to be cooked though? At least I've never eaten it raw and I've never found a recipe calling for uncooked brussels sprouts.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SeoulQueen
                            debbiel Jul 4, 2010 03:52 PM

                            Really fresh, at their peak Brussels sprouts are fine raw, and in fact can be quite good. I've had them in salads many times. Here's a recipe for you (though I don't usually use much of a recipe): http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                          2. w
                            womensan Jul 4, 2010 12:28 PM

                            Red kidney beans (The toxin Phytohaemagglutnin is strong enough that just 4 or 5 beans can start nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.Take note preschool art teachers!), and Buckwheat greens ( [I have also heard sprouts in high amounts] contain fagopyrin, which causes skin to become hypersensitive to sunlight. Fagopyrism also causes some people to itch, feel fuzzy, numb, tingly, or dizzy and skin painful when exposed to cold or hot).

                            1. c
                              cresyd Apr 17, 2008 06:44 AM

                              I guess this goes into the raw potato issue, but while I'm completely ok with eating chopped raw onion or rings of raw onion on a sandwich or in a salad - I know some people who eat raw white onions like apples.

                              Also, while I know this is in berry territory - does anyone eat cranberries raw?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: cresyd
                                aryqalyn Apr 17, 2008 11:14 AM

                                Raw and still frozen right out of the bag. Very sour...but they get sort of soft as they inside thaws in your mouth.

                                Rutabegas raw would be tough, they are so hard.

                                1. re: cresyd
                                  Querencia Dec 20, 2011 05:01 PM

                                  Cranberry-orange relish is a classic and it's made with raw cranberries---all you do is grind or process them with raw orange and add sugar.

                                2. s
                                  Smileelisa Apr 17, 2008 01:32 AM

                                  lima beans....ack

                                  1. p
                                    piccola Nov 1, 2007 05:27 PM

                                    Don't know that you shouldn't, but I probably wouldn't eat raw okra.
                                    Also, I don't particularly like raw mushrooms (though I adore them cooked).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: piccola
                                      Tripeler Jan 27, 2011 04:44 AM

                                      Raw okra cut finely is quite delicious.

                                    2. e
                                      epicura Nov 1, 2007 12:41 PM

                                      ackee, technically a fruit...not only must it be cooked but it has to be of pefect ripeness (you can't pick them, you have to wait for them to fall off the tree BUT they can't be overripe or its poisonous as well).
                                      With potatoes, I think it's just the green part of a raw one (if found) that is toxic.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: epicura
                                        KaimukiMan Nov 1, 2007 02:50 PM

                                        from "the inquisitev cooks"

                                        The greenish hue is actually chlorophyll, but it is also an indicator that an alkaloid, called solanine, may be present under the skin of the potato. Solanine develops in potatoes when they are stored in the presence of light (which also encourages chlorophyll formation) and either at very cold or quite warm temperatures. It is toxic, however it would take a very large number of green potatoes to make you ill.

                                      2. m
                                        mrsloucks Oct 31, 2007 07:05 PM

                                        I too love eating raw potatoes. I eat em everyday.

                                        1. s
                                          S_K Aug 24, 2006 09:11 PM

                                          I wouldn't eat large eggplant raw, but I know "Thai" eggplant, those little round, green and white balls, are eaten raw with laap sometimes.

                                          However, I must admit, that isn't to my taste. My parents like it like that. I prefer Thai eggplant in my red curry stir fry. It's good. :)

                                          1. coll Aug 24, 2006 06:02 PM

                                            I ws going to say yucca, that's the same as cassava isn't it?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: coll
                                              TSQ75 Nov 1, 2007 01:05 PM


                                              1. re: coll
                                                Sam Fujisaka Nov 2, 2007 01:09 PM


                                              2. welle Aug 23, 2006 02:27 PM

                                                Cassava is poisonous if not thoroughly cooked:


                                                1. q
                                                  Querencia Aug 21, 2006 02:32 AM

                                                  I believe that raw rhubarb is safe as long as you eat only the red part, and that the poisonous amount of oxalic acid is in the leaf of the plant. I once had some neighbors who regularly ate raw rhubarb and also have seen rabbits nibble it.

                                                  1. v
                                                    violet Aug 19, 2006 06:00 PM

                                                    broccoli has a small amount of toxin that causes goiters in people but is destroyed when cooked.

                                                    1. joltgrrl Aug 19, 2006 04:40 PM

                                                      Quince, although it makes a wonderful jelly, is yucky without being cooked.

                                                      Ahhhh, rhubarb pie! Wonder if Fanny's has rhubarb/strawberry cobbler or rhubarb/strawberry muffins this morning?

                                                      Wikipedia on oxalic acid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalic_acid

                                                      1. a
                                                        ATS Aug 19, 2006 07:14 AM

                                                        "Raw spinach can cause calcium deficiency if you eat lots of it and your diet is low in calcium. Apparently, spinach shouldn't be eaten by folks w/ arthritis or kidney problems, either, as the oxalic acid can exacerbate these conditions."

                                                        Raw spinach will not cause calcium deficiency. Spinach contains some calcium, but the oxalic acid in spinach binds with the calcium in spinach and this oxalic acid-calcium complex is not absorbable. However, the oxalic acid in spinach does not tie up any other co-ingested calcium--that is, calcium in your digestive tract but not in the spinach.

                                                        Also, the concern of oxalic acid and kidney problems really only applies to people who are "stone formers". Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate--an oxalic acid-calcium complex. Oxalic acid (which, by the way, is a breakdown product of vitamin C) does not cause any other kidney problems that I know of.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: ATS
                                                          MollyGee Aug 19, 2006 11:56 PM

                                                          Calcium is calcium and the oxalic acid binds up calcium in whatever it is that you consumed. It can also tie up iron, magnesium and potassium. A quick reference (go ahead and complain about my cheap source, Wikipedia)


                                                          Apparently, though, and in your defense, it takes a LOT of oxalate containing foods to cause troubles and, in my defense, I said it's only a problem in a diet that is low in calcium.

                                                          1. re: ATS
                                                            Querencia Dec 20, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                            Having once had a kidney stone that was made of oxalic acid and having subsequently looked up oxalic acid and learned that it's in spinach, I quickly gave up spinach. But now that I am in touch with experts I'd like to ask about other greens like collards, kale, mustard, turnips. Are they also sources of oxalic acid? Many thanks for any info.

                                                            1. re: Querencia
                                                              coll Dec 21, 2011 01:58 AM

                                                              I get kidney stones every spring and finally figured out it's because I pig out on everything high in oxalic acid then: spring spinach, berries, beet greens, rhubarb and chicken liver (easily available during Passover). It's almost worth it though!

                                                          2. Carb Lover Aug 19, 2006 06:48 AM

                                                            I dare you to eat a bitter melon raw...not pleasant.

                                                            I also can't imagine eating a hard squash like butternut, acorn, or pumpkin raw.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Carb Lover
                                                              Karen_Schaffer Aug 19, 2006 06:57 AM

                                                              Actually, raw squash can be surprising tasty if it's a sweet one. I've never made a dish of it, but I often taste a piece raw to decide if a squash is going to be worth cooking. It's like eating a piece of carrot.

                                                              1. re: Carb Lover
                                                                Pei Aug 19, 2006 07:02 AM

                                                                Can I take you up on the dare? Chinese people do it all the time (I know, we're a crazy bunch). It's really an acquired taste. I can't say I love it, but if you scoop out the seeds and cut them into paper thin half moons, then toss in the right sauce, it's almost palatable.

                                                                I would say it's akin to eating raw fennel, which I couldn't stomach for a long time.

                                                                1. re: Carb Lover
                                                                  finefrenzy Jan 27, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                  actually, slices of bitter melon/gourd is amazing with raw prawn and sliced raw garlic. It's Thai food. Amazing.

                                                                2. k
                                                                  Karen_Schaffer Aug 19, 2006 06:37 AM

                                                                  Taro must be cooked.


                                                                  Dried beans, do those count?

                                                                  1. l
                                                                    linlinchan Aug 19, 2006 04:08 AM

                                                                    I have heard that burdock root (gobo) is toxic if eaten raw, so it needs to be cooked well. Either way, it just wouldn't be particularly... edible raw, so is best cooked.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: linlinchan
                                                                      Pei Aug 19, 2006 07:01 AM

                                                                      Do you know how they prepare the orangey gobo in Japanese restaurants? I assume it's "raw" but fermented/pickled.

                                                                      1. re: Pei
                                                                        Morton the Mousse Aug 19, 2006 04:13 PM

                                                                        I wouldn't call something that is pickled or fermented "raw". It isn't cooked, but the fermentation process breaks down nutrients and makes them more available and easier to digest in a similar manner to cooking.

                                                                        1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                          Pei Aug 19, 2006 05:21 PM

                                                                          But what is that gobo? I just don't know if it's raw and lightly mixed in the sour/bitter liquid, or actually pickled for a good period of time.

                                                                          Agreed that pickled vegetables aren't really raw, just as smoked ham and fish aren't raw either.

                                                                      2. re: linlinchan
                                                                        eannie999 Jul 24, 2013 02:57 PM

                                                                        I've been putting a piece of raw burdock root into my morning smoothie for years. Where did you hear that it's toxic? Why? Thanks.

                                                                      3. MollyGee Aug 19, 2006 01:58 AM

                                                                        Does anyone eat raw, um, grownup artichoke? And what's the deal w/ plantains? Are we just sticking to strict vegetables here?

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MollyGee
                                                                          LizATL Aug 19, 2006 07:56 PM

                                                                          We made a salad of very thinly shaved raw artichoke (from Gourmet) that was delicious. It may have called for baby artichokes, but I am pretty sure we used the heart/inner leaves of a regular-sized one.

                                                                          1. re: LizATL
                                                                            mielimato Aug 21, 2006 08:56 PM

                                                                            Thinly sliced raw artichoke hearts are great (with a little lemon and salt). There is a recipe for tossed salad with raw artichokes in Marcella Hazan's cookbook too.

                                                                        2. JMF Aug 18, 2006 09:13 PM

                                                                          Spinach shouldn't be eaten raw because of the oxalic acid.

                                                                          Many, pretty much most vegetables, have more available nutrients when cooked.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JMF
                                                                            MollyGee Aug 19, 2006 01:43 AM

                                                                            Yep. Raw spinach can cause calcium deficiency if you eat lots of it and your diet is low in calcium. Apparently, spinach shouldn't be eaten by folks w/ arthritis or kidney problems, either, as the oxalic acid can exacerbate these conditions. And I don't know how much oxalic acid is destroyed by cooking. Is there a chemist in the house? (IUPAC fans: ethanedioic acid)

                                                                            I've also heard that the iron in cooked spinach is more readily usable than that in raw spinach. Don't have a source to back the spinach/ iron claim up, though.

                                                                            1. re: MollyGee
                                                                              JMF Aug 19, 2006 03:51 AM

                                                                              Oxalic acid is completely destroyed by low heat.

                                                                              1. re: JMF
                                                                                Karen_Schaffer Aug 19, 2006 02:46 PM

                                                                                I keep trying to research this question whenever it comes up and always have a hard time finding scientifically based source (as opposed to popular articles with everyone repeating the same factoids). Here's the best I've come up with this time:


                                                                                The upshot seems to be that if you have a medical condition where you should avoid oxalates, definitely avoid spinach, raw or cooked. But it isn't a worry for most of us.

                                                                                I found this statement most intriguing:

                                                                                "Repeated food chemistry studies have shown no statistically significant lowering of oxalate content following the blanching or boiling of green leafy vegetables. A lowering of oxalate content by about 5-15% is the most you should expect when cooking a high-oxalate food. "

                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                  MollyGee Aug 20, 2006 12:01 AM

                                                                                  Yeah. I am slightly skeptical that cooking destroys oxalic acid. You'd definitely have to get it to a temp above that at which water boils because it is a double carboxylic acid and you have to bust up lots of H bonds to break it down. I'd imagine that most folks w/ a medical condition of concern are aware of whether or not they can consume spinach raw or cooked.

                                                                            2. re: JMF
                                                                              rworange Aug 19, 2006 05:26 AM

                                                                              I don't know, I see more on the web recommending raw spinach for its health benefits. I guess if you have problems with oxalic acid it shouldn't be eaten. But there are a gazillion recipes using raw spinach. I enjoyed the spinach salad with hot bacon dressing at Marie Callendars for many years.

                                                                              1. re: rworange
                                                                                JMF Aug 19, 2006 02:14 PM

                                                                                I remember reading some research in grad school that spinach and certain other raw veggies can actually leach out vitamins from the body. So that eating too much raw veggies can actually lead to vitamin deficiencies.

                                                                            3. j
                                                                              Joel Aug 18, 2006 07:57 PM

                                                                              We occasionally use a juicer to make carrot juice.
                                                                              One time we got some organic young beets from someone's garden and made raw beet juice. It was so pretty.

                                                                              One sip of it -- and my throat closed up as though I had swallowed shards of glass. Never again. And I am not allergic to any food.

                                                                              Some mixed vegetable juices have small amounts of beet juice in them, but that may be cooked juice. I love cooked beets and can eat large quantities of them. I have tasted small slivers of raw beets, thinly sliced, with no ill effect. Maybe the juice has the causative factor, maybe the fibers in the raw fruit have a protective effect.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Joel
                                                                                rworange Aug 19, 2006 05:12 AM

                                                                                >>> One sip of it -- and my throat closed up as though I had swallowed shards of glass. Never again. And I am not allergic to any food.

                                                                                Well, you could be alergic to beet juice. Raw beet juice is recommended for helping with kidney problems and arthritis.

                                                                                Mexicans drink a beverage called a vamipira which is a mix of vegetables and raw beets. I had this and didn't have any problems. I watched them put a peeled uncooked beet in the juice. Didn't have any problems with it.

                                                                                Could be also be a reaction to whatever it was your neighbor was using to grow the beet, however organic. When I was a teen, we took a trip to Amish country ... and ate at a place where everthing was natural food ... no own else was bothered, but I broke out in a rash and my legs swelled up. So something was in all that natural food that I reacted to.

                                                                                1. re: rworange
                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Aug 23, 2006 09:52 PM

                                                                                  And I've used raw beet juice to make sorbet. It's actually pretty tasty.

                                                                                  But I agree with Morton that you don't get the full nutritional value of many vegetables if you don't cook them. This even applies to vegetables commonly eaten raw, like carrots. The cooking helps break down the cell walls so the nutrients can be absorbed.

                                                                                  Personally, I'm not big on most raw veggies -- very few aren't improved by at least blanching.

                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                    Jefferson Aug 24, 2006 02:10 AM

                                                                                    I think there was some hue and cry a few years back when it was revealed that you can extract way more of the Vitamin A/beta carotene from your carrot intake by cooking them in a bit of fat. Makes sense, being fat-soluble nutrients...

                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                      Eldon Kreider Aug 24, 2006 05:44 PM

                                                                                      The raw food movement believes just the opposite even though I have never seen any scientific evidence supporting their beliefs. If anybody has some evidence for them beyond wild conjecture, please cite it.

                                                                                      Blanching to destroy the allegedly valuable enzymes is a technique to stop internal deterioration of many foods and is a necessity when freezing most vegetables.

                                                                                      1. re: Eldon Kreider
                                                                                        Eat_Nopal Nov 2, 2007 03:12 PM

                                                                                        My wife wrote a research paper on anti-oxidants in various grape products. She found that some anti-oxidants were lost in the winemaking, juicing, or sun drying processes. But others become more concentrated & bio-available.

                                                                                        Based on all the journals she read during the study... she concluded as a rule of thumb (whenever viable)... we should eat a combination of processed (cooked) & raw foods for optimal nutrition. Another way to look at it... we have been consuming both cooked & raw produce... ever since the first classifiable Homo Sapiens... and basically we evolved to flourish in that environment.

                                                                                        It should be noted that the oldest civilizations all have codes / rules that foment a balance of cooked to raw foods (typically the proportion of cooked is higher than raw)... this is true in Persian, Mexican, Chinese, Ethiopian & other very old cuisines.

                                                                                  2. re: Joel
                                                                                    lgss Apr 16, 2008 04:35 PM

                                                                                    We put raw beets in our carrot juice and it's fine.

                                                                                    1. re: lgss
                                                                                      TongoRad Apr 17, 2008 04:40 AM

                                                                                      You can also make a salad of raw beets. The one I do is either from South India or Sri Lanka (I'm not sure, to tell the truth- I'm just copying what I've had served to me) and the raw beets are shredded in a box grater. Add sliced onion, chiles, herbs and lemon juice and voila, a very tasty accompaniment that is somehow more than the sum of its parts.

                                                                                  3. Alice Patis Aug 18, 2006 06:12 PM

                                                                                    Nettles! Ouch.

                                                                                    And nopales (cactus).

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Alice Patis
                                                                                      Eat_Nopal Nov 2, 2007 03:06 PM

                                                                                      Wrong about Nopales. It isn't common but I know nopales growers that have always noshed on raw nopales. A more common raw nopales use is in licuados (usually combined with pineapple juice).

                                                                                    2. cookie monster Aug 18, 2006 06:10 PM

                                                                                      do you mean vegetables that are harmful / poisonous raw, or just really unpalatable?

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: cookie monster
                                                                                        ipsedixit Aug 18, 2006 06:18 PM


                                                                                      2. Snackish Aug 18, 2006 06:03 PM

                                                                                        I would say bigger leaves of kale or mustard greens would be a bit tough on the digestion. Eggplant of course. Artichokes are pretty bitter raw but I have had a salad of paper thin shaved hearts that was to die for.

                                                                                        Rhubarb needs to be cooked because of the oxalic acid in it.

                                                                                        It seems sweet potatoes, chayote and okra would need to be cooked, but I may be wrong on those.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Snackish
                                                                                          carswell Aug 18, 2006 06:09 PM

                                                                                          >Rhubarb needs to be cooked because of the oxalic acid in it.

                                                                                          Rhubarb leaves and roots contain oxalic acid. The stems don't and are delicious raw. Paula Wolfert's *The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen* has a recipe for a salad of raw rhubarb, cucumber, arugula and mint that is a knockout with salmon poached in olive oil.

                                                                                          1. re: carswell
                                                                                            Snackish Aug 18, 2006 07:37 PM

                                                                                            Yum. Thanks for the info.

                                                                                            1. re: Snackish
                                                                                              rworange Aug 19, 2006 04:54 AM

                                                                                              Yeah, as a kid I'd eat a fresh rhubarb stalk dipped in sugar. I read that it could be dipped in salt. I tried that and wasn't wowed. Better dipped in sugar.

                                                                                              1. re: rworange
                                                                                                jeni1002 Nov 1, 2007 01:15 PM

                                                                                                Agreed. Dipped in sugar - one of my fondest childhood memories.

                                                                                            2. re: carswell
                                                                                              occula Jan 27, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                                                              Oh man, as a kid I had a real 'sour tooth' and would grab some rhubarb from our garden and munch on it like celery until my cheeks cramped up. Thanks for the happy memory. I'm probably lucky I didn't live where lemons grow, or my face would be in a permanent pucker! Yum.

                                                                                              1. re: occula
                                                                                                debbiel Jan 27, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                                                Maybe we're twins of a sort occula. I ate a LOT of raw rhubarb, picked from the neighbors backyard and chowed on while we played on the swings. AND I ate a lot of lemons.

                                                                                            3. re: Snackish
                                                                                              chitta chef Aug 18, 2006 07:18 PM

                                                                                              Chayote is LOVELY julienned raw, lightly dressed with lime juice, olive oil and fresh herbs as a refreshing riff on slaw!

                                                                                            4. b
                                                                                              Biggie Aug 18, 2006 05:57 PM

                                                                                              my girlfriend loves eating raw potatoes - she's an odd girl, but I love her

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Biggie
                                                                                                ipsedixit Aug 18, 2006 06:18 PM

                                                                                                Yeah. I dice up some yams or sweet potatoes and use them as garnish.

                                                                                                1. re: Biggie
                                                                                                  revsharkie Oct 31, 2007 08:34 PM

                                                                                                  If my husband comes through the kitchen when I'm cutting up potatoes for something, he usually helps himself to some of the raw pieces. I've never eaten raw potatoes, and don't really intend to.

                                                                                                  1. re: Biggie
                                                                                                    manraysky Nov 1, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                                                                    I've always eaten raw potato. Whenever I cuts them up for cooking, I eat some raw.

                                                                                                  2. Morton the Mousse Aug 18, 2006 05:56 PM

                                                                                                    Olives, eggplants, potatoes, most types of mushrooms, spinach (and any other extremeley fibrous leafy greens)

                                                                                                    35 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                      Deenso Aug 18, 2006 06:00 PM

                                                                                                      Morton - You shouldn't eat raw mushrooms or raw spinach? I'm nearly 60 and have been eating them both (usually in combination in a spinach salad) since childhood. What damage have I done that I should know about? Or maybe I don't want to know?

                                                                                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                        bothsides Aug 18, 2006 06:06 PM

                                                                                                        Morton,Please explain yourself. Is your comment for taste or medical reasons? For taste: Olives are bitter unless cured; Eggplants are simply too fibrous unless softened by heat; potatoes are starchy unless the proteins are heated; mushrooms are fine raw and cooked; spinach and other leafy greens are often eaten raw in salads.

                                                                                                        1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                          ipsedixit Aug 18, 2006 06:18 PM

                                                                                                          Are mushrooms even vegetables?

                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                            Morton the Mousse Aug 18, 2006 07:20 PM

                                                                                                            Good point. I guess it depends on whether you're talking to a botanist or a chef.

                                                                                                            It's definitely a stretch of the word, but the meaning of vegetable is extremely ambigious (do vegetables include fruit? Do they only include savory fruit? Do they include nuts, seeds and legumes?) and I prefer a broad definition.

                                                                                                            1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                              Thefoodgenius Nov 2, 2007 08:19 PM

                                                                                                              Um, vegetable is not amibiguous. Just because you don't know the meaning does not make something ambiguous.

                                                                                                              1. re: Thefoodgenius
                                                                                                                alanbarnes Apr 16, 2008 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                Just because you think you know the meaning of a word doesn't make it unambiguous.

                                                                                                                The dictionary definition of vegetable includes all parts of an edible plant. So according to Webster, an apple is a vegetable. But in common culinary usage, vegetables are distinct from fruits. And where the line falls between the two is sufficiently unclear that the US Supreme Court has become involved in making that distinction. (Nix v. Hedden (1893) 149 U.S. 304 [tomatoes, though botanically fruit, are vegetables for culinary purposes and subject to taxation as such]).

                                                                                                                If that's not ambiguity, I don't know what ambiguity is.

                                                                                                            2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                              Tripeler Jan 27, 2011 04:37 AM

                                                                                                              Mushrooms are actually zombies, waiting for some stroke of magic to make them come alive.

                                                                                                              Still, they are a great source of unusual protein. And a great meat substitute in a number of cases.

                                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                                                JMF Jan 27, 2011 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                Actually mushrooms are a lousy source of protein. They are only a max of 3% protein, compared to meats which are 20-30% protein

                                                                                                                1. re: JMF
                                                                                                                  coll Jan 28, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                  I thought that was true of regular generic mushrooms, but have heard that shiitake and others are very healthy. Guess I should look it up?

                                                                                                                  I found a website that says shiitake is 18% protein, for some reason I have long thought that shiitake was the go-to mushroom.


                                                                                                                  I know this is a random website so just throwing it out there, for those who know better than me. I just know that my mother is obsessed with shiitakes as a health food!

                                                                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                                                                    rworange Jan 28, 2011 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                    The Mushroom Council has links to lots of nutritional info about mushroms including the USDA nutrient database (which should be reliable)

                                                                                                                    100 grams of raw shitake mushrooms has 2.24 g of protein
                                                                                                                    100 grams of raw white mushrooms has 3.09 g of protein

                                                                                                                    They also have nutritional values for other mushroms, and get a bit specific, in some cases ... Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, grilled

                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                      coll Jan 28, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                      Thanks that's what I was looking for, I could live on mushrooms if it were possible!

                                                                                                                  2. re: JMF
                                                                                                                    Jefferson Jan 28, 2011 11:46 PM

                                                                                                                    Fresh mushrooms are about 90% water, so 3% protein is good as a percentage of macronutrient content. You just have to eat a whole lot. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Jefferson
                                                                                                                      rworange Jan 29, 2011 06:30 AM

                                                                                                                      If you read some of the other nutritional info, some of that water is lost when the mushroom is cooked, so a grilled mushroom has slightly more protein than a raw mushroom ... not much but a few grams more.

                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                        Veggo Jan 29, 2011 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                        Not more protein, a higher percentage of protein.

                                                                                                              2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                Morton the Mousse Aug 18, 2006 07:14 PM

                                                                                                                To clarify: these foods should be cooked to fully utlize nutritional content, to avoid small quanities of naturally occuring toxins, and for taste reasons.

                                                                                                                Raw olives contain an extremely bitter substance called oleuropein. They are inedible to all but the most stubborn raw foodists. Brining olives removes the oleuropein, as does pressing them into oil.

                                                                                                                Raw eggplant contains the toxin solamine. Most of the nightshade family contain toxins in at least one part of the plan, but eggplants are noted for a high toxin quantity in the fruit. Solamine wont kill you, but it wont help you either. More importantly, eggplant should be salted, pressed and cooked in order to obtain a desirable flavor and texture.

                                                                                                                Many raw mushrooms contain trace amounts of toxins that break down when cooked. Of course it depends on the variety of mushrooms and those standard, supermaket whitecaps are fairly benign. Again, cooking is also desirable for taste reasons.

                                                                                                                Raw high fiber greens such as spinach and kale contain few bioavailable nutrients. The complex fibers are simply too difficult for your digestive system to break down unless you chew each bite 50 times. It's not going to hurt you, but you're not going to benefit from all of the naturally occuring nutrients. Greens also taste better cooked, especially in a bit of pork fat.

                                                                                                                Cooking food was one of the most crucial developments in human evolution as it allowed us to eliminate naturally occuring toxins and break down nutrients so they are easier to absorb. Why some raw foodists feel the need to transcend out physiology is beyond me.

                                                                                                                1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                  chocolatetartguy Aug 19, 2006 12:47 AM

                                                                                                                  So what's up with the raw food movement then?

                                                                                                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                                                                                                    Pei Aug 19, 2006 06:57 AM

                                                                                                                    The raw food movement is so fatally flawed I don't even know where to begin. Yes, in this fat-filled country it's nice to sit down to a plate of raw, fat free, additive free food once in awhile. But to say that raw>cooked all the time is ludicrous.

                                                                                                                    Taro causes throat itching if consumed raw, and can sometimes cause more severe reactions. If you've ever tried to peel a taro root without wearing gloves, you'll have noticed the skin on your arms turns very red and itchy. Imagine that in your throat.

                                                                                                                    Soy beans have small amounts of toxins unless processed.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Pei
                                                                                                                      julesrules Aug 19, 2006 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                      Is taro the root that they get the poison for poison-tipped arrows from? Anybody know what I mean - there's a tribe where their food and their poison come from the same plant...

                                                                                                                      1. re: julesrules
                                                                                                                        KaimukiMan Nov 1, 2007 02:41 PM

                                                                                                                        If you are thinking of curare, it is not used as a food, although derivitives are used as an anaesthesia. But no, Taro is not / was not used used for poison arrows.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Pei
                                                                                                                        nutritiongirl Apr 16, 2008 08:48 AM

                                                                                                                        You might want to learn more about raw foods and raw recipes before making such a denigrating comment. I have never, for example, seen a raw food recipe that includes taro root, nor soy beans. By the way, soy has a terribly high oxalate content and is best avoided altogether.

                                                                                                                        Often with raw recipes sprouting is used to increase nutrition and bio-availability.

                                                                                                                        As for kale--if I feel low energy or unwell, a kale salad with sprouts is like a miracle. And chewing is quite important. One should chew all their food thoroughly, not just leafy greens.

                                                                                                                        You have to know how to make these foods yummy and when to use sprouting, soaking, or the dehydrator. The raw food movement is nothing like the idea people have of sitting down to a bunch of uncooked veggies.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                      rworange Aug 19, 2006 04:52 AM

                                                                                                                      I eat raw white button mushrooms, never considered eating the other types raw. Even then, I'll never forget a tv show that had someone who grew mushrooms commercially and explained the process.

                                                                                                                      For some reason he was asked if he ate the mushrooms raw. The look on that man's face haunts me to this day ... it was sort of a 'are you out of your mind' look ... he paused and just said sometimes he ate them cooked, but never raw. I think his reasons had more to do with fertiilier though.

                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                        Carb Lover Aug 19, 2006 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                        I really enjoy raw white button mushrooms shaved very thinly over a raw baby spinach salad. Bonus if bacon is added.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                          Eldon Kreider Aug 21, 2006 10:48 PM

                                                                                                                          White button mushrooms were (and probably still are) often grown in a mixture of straw and horse manure that has been composted. Somebody who has been composting tons of this stuff and putting it in his mushroom beds might develop an aversion to eating the product raw even though the heat of composting kills most pathogens.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange
                                                                                                                            toodie jane Aug 22, 2006 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                            Cultivated button mushrooms are generally raised in a compost made from oat hay straw and horse poop trucked in from horse farms, racetracks, large stables. It is mechanically and thoroughly composted (taken to a minimum 160 degrees) while it composts and breaks down into, well, that well-known garden soil supplement, Mushroom Compost.

                                                                                                                            It has to be benign before being innoculated with button mushroom spores, or too many wild fungus inhibit the growth of the cash crop. There should be no human-harmful bacteria surviving in compost ready for mushroom growing, otherwise wouldn't packages be labeled with food-handling precaution statements as are meats?

                                                                                                                            When the wild spores begin to invade the mushroom house, the used compost is sold to the garden supply industry and a new batch is loaded into the houses.

                                                                                                                            I'm not a mushroom grower or a scientist, just a lifelong home gardener who has been around mushroom compost and mushroom farms a lot.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                            Eldon Kreider Aug 21, 2006 10:59 PM

                                                                                                                            Eggplant does not need to be salted and pressed unless it is too mature, stale or is going to be fried. We never salt the eggplant we grow, but then it is goes into the compost bin if it gets as mature as the commercial stuff and is cooked the same day or day after picking. There is no bitterness with either Orient Express or Rosa Bianca, the two cultivars we are growing this year.

                                                                                                                            I can't see eating eggplant raw, though. We cook a lot of the surplus lightly, usually with tomato and garlic or onion and then freeze.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                              Thefoodgenius Nov 2, 2007 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                              Here's a tip: Drop the pork fat. Use about a teaspoon of vinegar and the same of sugar. Cook the green in it. Drink the nutritous tasty liquid.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                victorgalli Aug 19, 2009 06:03 AM

                                                                                                                                Oh wow, I just found this page and it is really unfortunate that this person Morton the Mousse is probably gone - because his biochemistry education is AWFUL.

                                                                                                                                First off, the compound is solanine - not solamine.

                                                                                                                                Secondly, solanine is in more than just eggplant - it is also in potatoes and unripe tomatoes. However, I think that if I were to decide to eat a starchy vegetable like a potato, I would take the low solanine concentrations in an uncooked potato anyday over the acrylamide content in cooked potato products.

                                                                                                                                Thirdly, where exactly do you get off talking about how raw leafy greens contain few bioavailable nutrients? about 75% of all the vitamins in raw leafy greens are denatured and become unusuable when exposed to that amount of heat and almost 100% of all the phytonutrients are destroyed by heat as well.

                                                                                                                                Fourthly, concerning your point about chewing eat bite 50 times, it is already well known that you can only ever get as much nutrition out of your diet if you chew your food, especially your greens, into a fine paste/poultice/liquid before swallowing. This is the whole reason for making green smoothies - all of the nutrition of green leafy vegetables with the chewing already done for you.

                                                                                                                                So i could go on and on about your argument's fallacies and your lack of biochemical education but I honestly can't handle any more of it - it takes too much time to type it all out. If you have any specific nutritional biochemistry questions that I can clear up for you in the future, feel free to respond to this post.

                                                                                                                                1. re: victorgalli
                                                                                                                                  jojoba Feb 25, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                  Hi Victor,
                                                                                                                                  Can you recommend any good books on nutritional biochemistry?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jojoba
                                                                                                                                    rworange Feb 25, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                    Well, Victor's only post was this one in 2009. So I would not hold out much hope of him replying. There are quite a lot of falacies in his post though and nothing to back what he was writing

                                                                                                                                2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                  monavano Feb 25, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                  Wow, and here I really enjoy a good spinach salad with sliced mushrooms. Yum. Oh, and I'm definitely not a raw foodie. I just don't get it at all!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                    kittylouise Nov 17, 2011 07:34 PM

                                                                                                                                    hey sorry to bother you but i don't see how you can't get the nutrients from spinach? i mean yes MOST green leafy vegetables have complex fibres of starch and cellulose, and cellulose cannot be broken down through digestion because of the hydrogen bonding. but it can be broken apart by physical processes such as chewing?
                                                                                                                                    and how do the complex fibres stop you from getting nutrients?
                                                                                                                                    oh and how does cooking fix this issue?????
                                                                                                                                    im confused thx xxx

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                    maisonbistro Oct 31, 2007 07:14 PM

                                                                                                                                    Huh? I've eaten raw potatoes many times. Same for raw spinach (well washed, but definitely raw) Still alive and kicking

                                                                                                                                    1. re: maisonbistro
                                                                                                                                      Morton the Mousse Nov 1, 2007 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                      Never said it would kill you. Just more likely to give you gass, less likely to optimize nutrient intake, and less likely to taste good.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                      KaimukiMan Nov 1, 2007 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                                      There is a restaurant here in Honolulu that serves a very popular shredded raw potato salad.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                                                                                        womensan Jul 4, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                        Raw olives are not poisonous or toxic, so are safe to eat, but contain a compound that is terribly bitter. It's a myth that ou cannot eat them raw- it's just that no one would ever choose to!!

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