Five hybrid fruit and vegetables that will wow your guests

Event uncovers the weird and wonderful world of hybrid vegetables - crosses of familiar names that are sure to gain interest on any menu.

The Broccoflower boasts a vivid colour and interesting texture (Creative Commons: Karen Booth)
The Broccoflower boasts a vivid colour and interesting texture (Creative Commons: Karen Booth)

While purists argue that all fruit and vegetables are strictly hybrids, a new breed of anything edible tends to excite the public (see: Five bakery hybrids that outshine the cronut).

Hybrid fruits don’t seem to have entered the realm of large-scale event catering yet, however as Zafferano’s Simon Dento puts it: "From what little I hear, they are style over substance to the most part, so I think they are a great addition to a menu as a point of difference."

But which to choose as your centrepiece? We take a look at the five most popular on the market right now.

The Broccoflower

What is it? A cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower. 

What’s its story? This is a green, cactus-like veggie that tastes exactly as you’d imagine it to. It can be cooked exactly like its parents can be – steamed, boiled, sautéed or even eaten raw – however its distinctive colour means it does come at a higher price. 

It’s a popular ingredient to pop into curries and soups, while many have used its vibrant colour as a bribery mechanism for veggie-averse children.

The Broccolini

What is it? A hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese kale).

What’s its story? A trademarked invention in some parts of the world, this is a more subtle hybrid due to the similarities of its parent vegetables. It features a long thin stalk and miniature florets, while many foodies appreciate it for its sweet taste.

The vegetable can easily be sautéed with lemon and garlic for an easy side dish.

The Kalette

What is it? A kale and Brussels sprout plant.

What’s its story? Just when you thought kale couldn’t get any trendier, it takes on arguably the most unpopular of vegatables and makes it a trend. Kalettes launched onto the global food market last October and were created as a sweeter, milder alternative to the bitter Christmas Brussels sprout.

The veg can be steamed, roasted, sautéed or even eaten raw. 

The Pomato

What is it? The potato and tomato’s confused love child.

What’s its story? The pomato won’t be found in the natural environment due to its parents’ very different characteristics: one is a plant and one is a fruit. Yet scientists in Germany managed to combine the two in the 1990s and the creation is available to purchase in the UK, from gardening business Thompson & Morgan. 

The Pineberry

What is it? Not strictly a hybrid, the pineberry is a specific strain of strawberry with a pineapple taste.

What’s its story? It’s an old fruit that hails from South America. Around a decade or so Dutch farmers began to grow the fruit on a commercial scale and, according to Waitrose, saved it from extinction.

The supermarket started peddling the cute white fruit in 2011.

More: Six catering trends for the festive season

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