Simple Truth

Pursuing the Perishables: Rainbow of Flavors

I still think it’s magical to see a rainbow after it rains. Yes, I know it’s from the sunlight bouncing through the millions of raindrops and separating into the color spectrum. It still makes me pause and celebrate the many wonders of nature.

Those colors of the rainbow can also be seen every day in the fresh produce section of the grocery store. That is yet another way to enjoy the results of nature -- by enjoying the many fruits and vegetables available. In school, I was taught the “Roy G. Biv” acronym to remember the color pattern. You may have been taught a song. Good thing I don’t remember that or I’d be attempting to sing (to the dismay of people within earshot)! However our teachers approached the subject, we can use the colors to create a colorful, tasty, edible treat that is naturally delicious and nutritious.

Here is my list of food options separated into each of the seven colors:   

R for Red

Can be seen on cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates, red grapes, watermelons, red skinned potatoes, beets, some bell peppers, rhubarb, radishes and, of course, tomatoes.

O for Orange

Carrots, cantaloupes, peaches, pumpkins apricots, mangos, sweet potatoes, oranges, butternut squash, papayas and persimmons.

Y for Yellow

Can be seen with bananas, lemons, pineapples, pears, starfruits, corn, acorn squash and some bell peppers.

G for Green

Green is the color most people think of first when thinking about vegetables (and it’s the biggest listing by color). It can be green beans, avocados, celery, green onions, some bell peppers, limes, honeydew melons, kiwis, green apples, green grapes, spinach, cucumbers, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and an assortment of lettuces.

B for Blue

Blueberries and blue potatoes.

I for Indigo

Turnips, blackberries, kohlrabi, currants and figs.

V for Violet

This color shows up with plums, eggplants and purple cabbages.

Wow – what variety of natural, fresh, healthy food options! And the choices continue to increase when you decide how to prepare your selections.

Of course, “fresh is best” and maintains the highest level of nutrients. Items like apples, berries, grapes and baby carrots are the simplest to prepare. Just wash, dry and eat. Consider making serving cups with a ranch dressing in the bottom and assorted vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery, tri-colored peppers or cucumber wedges. With your own “vase” of vegetables, you are free to double dip as much as you want without offending anyone. Refills are also easy with this serving idea. For a festive, wholesome dessert, you can put fresh strawberries and blueberries into a sundae glass and top with a creamy yogurt and a cherry of course! Just thinking about this is starting to make my mouth water. Is yours?

If you have time to do some “slicing and dicing” try personalizing a veggie or fruit pizza. The vegetable one can be made with a tube of refrigerator crescent rolls shaped into a square or circle depending on what you want. Bake according to the directions until crust is browned. Add a salad dressing or cream cheese base, then top with your selection of vegetables. Sprinkle with finely shredded cheese, cover with plastic wrap, then chill. For a fruit pizza that’s great as a dessert, start with sugar cookie dough. Form the crust shape and bake till golden brown. Combine a little sugar with softened cream cheese for the “sauce” layer. Arrange colorful fruits on top, and then sprinkle with coconut to look like the “pizza cheese.” If you chose some fruits, like apples, that may brown, heat ½ cup of orange marmalade and brush the fruit with it before adding the coconut flakes. This pizza would also need to be covered and chilled until served.

Maybe you prefer your vegetables hot. There are lots of recipes available online at or to suit your skill, time and taste. Some classics are vegetable soup, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, creamed corn and eggplant lasagna. Vegetables are best used for main courses and side dishes. Fruits tend to be naturally sweeter and work well as snacks or desserts. You could even serve warm fruit dishes such as pies, cobblers and crisps. These all go great with a scoop of ice cream…YUM!

All these opportunities for pursuing and purchasing produce and I didn’t even mention the classic tossed salad or fruit salad--well--until now. I think you’ll discover lots of ways to put the rainbow into your next snack or meal. Just look to nature (or various cookbooks/websites) for inspiration and magic.

What foods would you choose for a rainbow kabob?

About Karen Ilhardt:

Karen’s role as Home Economist in the Kroger Service Center is to answer customer questions and write about recipes, ingredient substitutions, and Food Safety.  She holds BS and MS degrees from The Ohio State University’s College of Home Economics with a specialty in Resource Management.  Karen also has teaching credentials from Miami University (of Ohio) and Wright State University.  After having been a food teacher for 20 years she transferred to the corporate world in 2011.  Farming and crafting have always been a part of her life.  Karen values being part of our food production and preparation processes PLUS  being able to share those experiences with others.  The Simple Truth Brand embraces the wholesome nature of the foods we select and consume which makes a perfect choice for Karen’s lifestyle.



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