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Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson (2013): Food list of nutritious vegetables and fruits

Eating on the Wild Side book by Jo RobinsonsEating on the Wild Side (2013) is a book that advises you how to choose, store, and prepare the most nutritious vegetables and fruits.

  • Which vegetable varieties and fruit varieties are the most nutritious.
  • How to check for ripeness and high phytonutrient content.
  • How to store vegetables and fruits to retain their nutrients, and how long you can store them.
  • How to prepare vegetables and fruits to get the maximum phytonutrients and health benefits from them.

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the book.  Vegetables  |  Fruits.  There’s a lot more in this fascinating book, which could be used in conjunction with any other diet that recommends eating produce.

Get a copy of Eating on the Wild Side for the nutritional and health benefits of all these varieties, descriptions of the recommended varieties, how to find or grow the best varieties, details on the development of modern produce and how it has affected nutritional values, and some recipes.

The reasoning behind Eating on the Wild Side

Generation after generation, we have reshaped native plants and made them our own. Compared with wild fruits and vegetables, most of our man-made varieties are markedly lower in phytonutrients/bionutrients, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Most native plants are also higher in protein and fiber and much lower in sugar than the ones we’ve devised. More recently, growing foods on megafarms has greatly increased productivity, but it caused a marked loss of flavor – plants are chosen for durability and storability, and often harvested too early, and may have markedly less phytonutrient content (as well as poor flavor) as a result. This book is the result of research from over 1,000 research journals, and recommends vegetable and fruit varieties that are among the top 10% in terms of their phytonutrient content; many are also relatively high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and have a low glycemic index.

Eating on the Wild Side diet plan – what to eat

The book contains details on how to select produce for maximum nutrition

Vegetables:   Salad greens | Alliums/onion family | Corn | Potatoes | Other root vegetables | Tomatoes | Crucifers/cabbage family | Legumes | Artichokes, asparagus, and avocados

Fruits:   Apples | Blueberries and blackberries | Strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries | Stone fruits | Grapes and raisins | Citrus fruits | Tropical fruits | Melons

Vegetables to eat in Eating on the Wild Side – Choosing vegetables for the best nutrition

Salad greens

  • Selecting nutritious salad greens
    • Choose red, red-brown, or purple varieties for the highest amount of phytonutrients; the next most nutritious are dark green in color. As a general rule, the most intensely colored salad greens have the most phytonutrients
    • Choose looseleaf varieties for the most phytonutrients; plants that have a combination of open and wrapped leaves, such as romaine and Bibb lettuce, have moderate amounts of phytonutrients
    • Choose whole heads of lettuce, which are fresher than packaged greens or lettuce that is sold pre-cut. Look for crisp leaves with no sign of yellowing or wilting. The lettuce should also feel heavy for its size, an indication that it has preserved its internal moisture
    • Choose bags of mixed greens with the most colorful, freshest leaves – check the use-by date
  • Storing salad greens to retain their nutrients
    • Spend 10 minutes preparing your lettuce to preserve its flavor and nutrients – wash in very cold water, dry thoroughly, tear into bite-sized pieces, and put in a resealable plastic bag pricked with tiny holes (“microperforated’ bags). Squeeze out the air, seal, and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator
  • Preparing nutritious salads
    • Enrich your salads with extra-nutritious nonlettuce varieties such as arugula (raw for the most health benefits), radicchio, endive, and spinach (not boiled), which are higher in phytonutrients.
    • Dress salads with oil – extra-virgin olive oil is one of the best oils to use in a salad dressing, making the nutrients more bio-available. Unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is even better because it has more antioxidants and will stay fresh longer. Buy the amount you plan to use in 1-2 months, and store in a sealed container in a dark, cool location
    • Use an acid along with the oil – apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar (especially naturally aged balsamic vinegar), and fresh lemon juice are good sources of antioxidants
    • Tame the bold flavors of bitter greens by mixing in with milder lettuce (such as butterhead or romaine), adding avocado or dried or fresh fruit, and/or using a honey mustard salad dressing
  • Recommended varieties
    • Arugula, frisée/curly endive, Rosso di Chioggia, Rossi di Treviso
    • Looseleaf lettuces: Blackjack lettuce, Fire Mountain lettuce, Flame lettuce, Galactic lettuce, Lollo Rosso lettuce, Merlot lettuce, Merveile des Quatres Saisons lettuce, Prizehead lettuce, Red Oak Leaf lettuce, Red Sails lettuce, Red Velvet lettuce, Revolution lettuce, Ruby Red lettuce
    • Romaine lettuces: Cimarron lettuce, Dazzle lettuce, Eruption lettuce, Outredgeous lettuce, Rouge d’Hiver lettuce
    • Oak leaf lettuce: Cocarde lettuce
    • Batavian lettuce: Concept lettuce
    • Crisphead lettuce: Red Iceberg lettuce

Alliums – garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, chives, scallions

  • Garlic
    • Look for garlic bulbs with plump, firm cloves enclosed in a tight, intact outer wrapper
    • Freeze-dried garlic maintains its potency and flavor as long as you keep it in a sealed container to keep out the moisture; it costs more than fresh garlic
    • Store garlic in the refrigerator in netting or an open paper bag for good air circulation, on one of the shelves rather than the crisper drawer where it is likely to sprout. You could also keep it outside the refrigerator in a garlic keeper to block the light. Do not store it close to heat-generating appliances
    • Slice, mince, or press the garlic with a garlic press and then let it rest for 10 minutes before exposing it to heat
    • Best varieties of garlic: All types, hardneck and softneck (hardneck has a bit of an edge). California Silverskin garlic, Chilean Silver garlic, Inchelium Red garlic, Music garlic, Persian Star garlic, Pink Music garlic, Romanian Red garlic, Spanish Roja garlic
  • Onions
    • Strongly flavored, pungent onions are the best for your health. Bold-tasting red and yellow onions offer the most health benefits. Small onions have more nutrients per pound than larger onions
    • Cooking onions tames their pungency, brings out their sweetness, and increases the nutritional content
    • Best varieties of onions: red and pungent, yellow and pungent, Western Yellow onions, Empire-Sweet onions, New York Bold onions, Karmen onions /Red Karmen onions, Purplette onions, Red Baron onions, Red Wethersfield onions /Dark Red Beauty onions /Red Beauty onions, Red Wing onions /Redwing onions
  • Shallots
    • Mild but nutritionally potent. They are more nutritious than most varieties of onions
  • Leeks
    • Use the bulbs and the greens, as the green portions have more bionutrients than the white portions. Leeks lose their antioxidants very rapidly, so eat them within a few days of purchase
  • Onion chives and garlic chives
    • Onion chives are also known as chives. Garlic chives are also known as Chinese chives, Asian chives, or (in Japanese) nira
    • Eat them within a few days, or store them in a sealed plastic bag perforated with tiny holes
  • Scallions / green onions
    • These are more nutritious than most other alliums, as they are closest to wild onions in appearance and nutrition. The green leaves have a greater concentration of nutrients than the white bulbs. Store as you would chives

Corn on the cob

  • Selecting nutritious corn
    • Choose colorful corn – varieties that are deep yellow, red, blue, black, or purple, or any combination – to give you more phytonutrients than pale yellow or white corn. Blue corn and blue cornmeal are becoming more popular.
    • Choose old-fashioned or moderately sweet corn, rather than supersweet corn
    • Buy organic corn to reduce your exposure to pesticides
  • Cooking nutritious corn
    • Steam, grill, or microwave corn to retain its nutrients – do not boil it. Corn cooked in its husk retains the most nutrients of all
    • Canned and frozen corn can be as nutritious as fresh corn
    • Cook with whole-grain yellow cornmeal to benefit from the nutrients in the bran and the germ. For added nutrition and variety, cook with red, blue, or purple whole-grain cornmeal
  • Types of corn include: old-fashioned sweet corn, sugar-enhanced corn, supersweet corn, augmented sweet corn, and synergistic corn (which includes most bicolored corn)
  • Recommended varieties
    • Old-fashioned: Blue Jade corn, Double Red Sweet corn, Golden Bantam corn
    • Sugar-enhanced: Ruby Queen corn
    • Supersweet: Indian Summer corn
    • Field Corn: Hopi Blue corn, Seneca Red Stalker corn, White Eagle corn /Cherokee White Eagle corn
    • Flint corn: Floriani Red corn


  • Selecting nutritious potatoes
    • Choose the most colorful potatoes – dark skin and flesh. Blue, purple, and red potatoes give you more antioxidants than yellow potatoes. Russet Burbank potatoes are higher in phytonutrients than most white potatoes, but they are also high in rapidly digested carbohydrates
    • Buy organic potatoes to reduce your exposure to pesticides
  • Storing potatoes to retain their nutrition
    • Store potatoes in a cool, dark location with adequate ventilation. New potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Old potatoes are best stored outside the refrigerator in a dark cool location, ideally between 45-50 degrees F, and in a partially closed paper sack or a box perforated with a few nickel-sized holes
  • Cooking and eating potatoes to maximize nutrition
    • Eat the skins, as they contain 50% of the antioxidant activity in the entire potato and give the potato a lower glycemic value
    • To reduce the sugar rush: New potatoes do not raise your blood sugar as much as mature potatoes do. In addition to eating the skins, you can lower the glycemic index of potatoes by: eating them with some type of fat; chilling them for 24 hours after they’ve been cooked; flavoring them with vinegar
  • Recommended varieties of potatoes
    • Supermarket varieties: all varieties of new potatoes, Russet Burbank, colorful “novelty” potatoes
    • Farmers markets, specialty stores, U-pick farms, and seed catalogs: All Blue potatoes, All Red potatoes /Cranberry Red potatoes, Mountain Rose potatoes, Nicola potatoes, Ozette potatoes, Purple Majesty potatoes, Purple Peruvian potatoes, Ranger Russet potatoes, Ruby Crescent potatoes, Russet Norkotah potatoes

Other root vegetables – carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes

  • Carrots
    • To get the most health benefits, choose whole fresh carrots rather than so-called baby carrots.
    • Carrots with their tops still attached have a fresher flavor than other carrots
    • Cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw carrots. Include some fat or oil with the meal. If you steam or bake them whole and cut them after they’re cooked, carrots are more flavorful and nutritious
    • Purple carrots and purple-and-orange carrots are more nutritious than all-orange carrots, as they are rich in anthocyanins
    • Recommended varieties of carrots: deep orange carrots; blue, purple, yellow, and red carrots; Atomic Red carrots, Bolero carrots, Carlo carrots, Cosmic Purple carrots, Deep Purple carrots, Nutri-Red carrots, Purple Haze carrots
  • Beets and beet greens
    • Red beets are high in bionutrients (golden, white, and multicolored beets such as Chioggia are less nutritious). Beet leaves are even more nutritious than the roots. When you buy bunch beets, trim the leaves from the roots and store them separately in the refrigerator – the leaves in a bag pricked with tiny holes and the roots unwrapped in the crisper drawer
    • If you don’t like the earthy flavor of some beets, choose cultivars that are low in geosmin, such as Detroit Dark Red and Crosby Green Top beets
    • Roasting, steaming, or microwaving beets increases their antioxidant properties. To disguise the earthy flavor of beets, serve them with mustard, horseradish, or vinegar
    • Recommended varieties of beets: deep red or purple; Bull’s Blood beets, Cylindra beets, Detroit Dark Red beets, Red Ace beets
  • Sweet potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes are better for you than common potatoes, as they are higher in antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index. The most nutritious varieties have red, dark orange, purple, or deep yellow flesh
    • Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark location instead of in the refrigerator (where they would develop an “off” flavor)
    • Recommended varieties of sweet potatoes: dark-fleshed varieties; Beauregard sweet potatoes, Carolina Ruby sweet potatoes, Diane sweet potatoes /Red Diane sweet potatoes, Hawaiian sweet potatoes /Okinawan sweet potatoes, Stokes Purple sweet potatoes


  • Selecting nutritious tomatoes
    • Deep red tomatoes have more lycopene and overall antioxidant activity than yellow, gold, or green tomatoes
    • As a rule, the smaller the tomato, the higher its sugar and lycopene content. Red-colored cherry, grape, and currant tomatoes are the most flavorful and highest in lycopene
    • On-the-vine tomatoes are not field-ripened – taste them to see if the flavor justifies the cost
    • Processed tomato products can be more flavorful and nutritious than fresh tomatoes. The heat involved in canning increases the absorption of lycopene; canned tomato paste has the highest concentration of lycopene of all the tomatoes and tomato products in the store.
  • Storing tomatoes to retain their nutrients
    • Store fresh tomatoes at room temperature to preserve their flavor, as chilling tomatoes below 50 degrees F breaks down their flavor and aroma compounds
  • Preparing and eating tomatoes
    • Cooking tomatoes converts lycopene into a form that is easier to absorb. The longer you cook them, the more health benefits you get
    • Use all parts of the tomato whenever possible. The skin and seeds are the most nutritious parts of a tomato, and the juice is rich in glutamate, which enhances flavor
  • Recommended varieties of tomatoes
    • From the supermarket: red cherry tomatoes, red grape tomatoes, red currant tomatoes
    • Currant tomatoes: Hawaiian Currant tomatoes, Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes, Sara’s Galapagos tomatoes
    • Grape tomatoes: Elfin tomatoes, Juliet tomatoes
    • Cherry tomatoes: Black Cherry tomatoes, Gardener’s Delight tomatoes /Sugar Lump tomatoes, Red Pear tomatoes, Sun Cherry tomatoes
    • Plum or sauce tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes
    • Salad or globe tomatoes: Abraham Lincoln tomatoes, Jet Star tomatoes
    • Beefsteak tomatoes: Giant Belgium tomatoes, Oxheart tomatoes

Crucifers – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale

  • Broccoli
    • Eat fresh, as once harvested it loses its sugar and nutrients very rapidly. Whole heads have more nutrients than precut florets. Chill as soon as you can and eat it raw or cook it as soon as possible. If you keep broccoli for more than one day, put it in a sealable plastic bag pricked with tiny holes, and keep it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator
    • Steaming broccoli for less than 5 minutes preserves the most nutrients. Boiling it or cooking it in a microwave destroys a high percentage of its potential health benefits. Raw broccoli gives you the most sulforaphane, which fights cancer
    • Recommended varieties of broccoli – green broccoli, purple broccoli, Atlantic broccoli, Brigadier broccoli, Cavolo broccoli / Cavolo Broccolo broccoli, Majestic Crown broccoli, Marathan broccoli, Packman broccoli, Purple Sprouting broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
    • Buy them in season, and look for bright green, tight heads. Chill immediately, stored in a microperforated bag if keeping for more than a day, and eat as soon as possible
    • Steam Brussels sprouts for 6-8 minutes to preserve the most nutrients
  • Cabbage
    • Cut cabbage and steam it briefly (5 minutes or less) to reduce odor and increase nutritional value
    • Cabbage can be stored for weeks longer than broccoli or Brussels sprouts without losing its nutrients; however it is sweetest when eaten within a few days of purchase
    • Red cabbage is especially high in antioxidants
    • Recommended varieties of cabbage – red cabbage, savoy cabbage, Deadon cabbage, Mammoth Red Rock cabbage, Red Express cabbage, Ruby Perfection cabbage
  • Cauliflower
    • White cauliflower has more cancer-fighting compounds than green cauliflower or purple cauliflower, but the colored varieties are higher in antioxidants
    • Cauliflower can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator
    • Steam cauliflower rather than boil it to retain the most nutrients. Sautéing cauliflower in extra virgin olive oil adds to its nutritive value
    • Fresh cauliflower is more nutritious than frozen cauliflower
    • Recommended varieties of cauliflower – white cauliflower, colorful varieties, Celio cauliflower, Emeraude cauliflower, Graffiti cauliflower
  • Kale
    • Kale is the most bitter and beneficial of all the crucifers
    • Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and use within a few days
    • It is most nutritious when eaten raw. Alternatively, steam it briefly, sauté it in extra virgin olive oil until wilted, or make roasted kale chips
    • Recommended varieties of kale – all varieties; Tuscan kale/Cavolo Nero kale/Lacinato kale, Red Russian kale, Redbor kale

Legumes – beans, peas, and lentils

  • Choosing legumes for nutrients
    • Choose pod peas over traditional shelled garden peas, as when you eat the pods along with the peas you get more nutrients and fiber
    • Fresh peas and beans are more nutritious than frozen ones
    • Choose colorful varieties, such as red, blue, or purple peas and beans
    • Dried peas and beans are very high in phytonutrients, and have more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Varieties with the highest antioxidant levels include lentils, black beans, small dark red beans, dark red kidney beans, and pinto beans
    • Canned beans are even higher in antioxidants than home-cooked beans, because the heat of the canning process enhances the nutritional content of dried beans. This means that canned beans are some of the most nutritious foods in the supermarket
  • Cooking legumes to retain nutrients
    • Steam or pressure-cook dried beans to retain their antioxidant value. If you simmer beans and do not plan to use the cooking water, let them soak in the cooking liquid for an hour after they are done so they will reabsorb some of the nutrients. Steaming beans lessens their exposure to water, which also preserves more nutrients. Cooking them in a pressure cooker is better still
    • To improve the digestibility of dried beans (oligosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate in beans, are difficult to digest for some people) – either choose varieties that are low in this compound, such as lentils and pinto beans, or discard the soaking liquid before cooking them
  • Recommended varieties of peas, beans, and lentils
    • Pod peas
    • Dried peas – yellow peas are more nutritious than green peas
    • Fresh or frozen edamame (fresh soybeans)
    • Lentils – especially black lentils / French lentils or red lentils
    • Common dried beans – black beans, red beans, kidney beans, pinto beans
    • Royal Burgundy beans, Royalty Purple snap beans

Artichokes, asparagus, and avocados

  • Artichokes
    • Artichokes are high in antioxidants and fiber
    • The French artichoke, or globe artichoke, is the most common variety and one of the most nutritious
    • Buy the freshest artichokes you can find. A fresh artichoke feels firm when you squeeze it. Rub two artichokes together, and they should squeak. The brown streaks on artichokes comes from exposure to cold temperatures during the growing season and do not detract from their flavor or nutritional content
    • Artichokes lose their nutrients quickly, so choose the freshest ones you can, chill them in the crisper drawer as soon as possible, and eat within 1-2 days
    • Steaming artichokes retains more nutrients than any other cooking method. Canned or jarred artichoke hearts are nutritious as well
    • Recommended varieties of artichokes – Green Globe artichokes, French artichokes, Purple artichokes, Imperial Star artichokes, Violet de Provence artichokes, Violetto artichokes
  • Asparagus
    • Asparagus does not keep well – buy the freshest asparagus you can, keep it chilled, and eat it within 1-2 days
    • Look for short, straight spears with tightly closed tips and moist ends
    • Steam until the spears bend slightly when you hold them in the middle. Do not overcook. Can be shaved and eaten raw
    • Recommended varieties of asparagus – all green varieties, all purple varieties, Apollo asparagus, Guelph Millennium asparagus, Jersey Knight asparagus, Jersey Supreme asparagus, Purple Passion asparagus
  • Avocados
    • Avocados contain soluble fiber and “good” monounsaturated fat. Adding sliced avocados to a salad can increase the amount of beta-carotene and lutein you absorb from the greens by as much as 1,500%
    • Ripen firm avocados in a closed paper bag. Add a banana to speed up the process. Avocados are ready to eat when they are soft at the stem end but have only a slight “give” in the middle – if the middle of the avocado feels as soft as the top, or if the avocado rattles like a gourd, it is over the hill
    • Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Cut sections will stay fresh for 2 days if you drizzle them with lemon or lime juice, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator. You can also store a cut avocado on a bed of onions
    • Recommended varieties of avocados – The Haas avocado variety is the most common and one of the most nutritious

Fruits to eat in Eating on the Wild Side – Choosing fruits for the best nutrition


  • Selecting nutritious apples
    • Choose the most colorful apples. When you are shopping for red-skinned apples, choose those that are red on all sides. As a general rule, apples with dark red skin are more nutritious than those with light red or bicolored skin. Granny Smith and a number of other varieties are high in antioxidants even though they have green or yellow skin
    • Varieties that are among the least nutritious include Elstar, Empire, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, and Pink Lady
    • Rinse apples thoroughly or buy organic apples
    • Choose cloudy apple juice, which has up to 4 x more phytonutrients than clarified juice
  • Storing apples to retain their nutrients
    • Freshly harvested apples have the most nutrients
    • Store apples in a cool, humid environment. Apples keep best if you store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator
    • Apples that are harvested in the summer can be stored for 1-2 weeks. Fall apples can be stored for a month or more
    • Commercial warehouses do a better job of preserving the eating quality of apples than your home refrigerator, so buy them as you need them
  • Eating apples
    • Eat the skin, which has a greater concentration of phytonutrients than the flesh
  • Recommended varieties of apples for the best nutrition
    • Apples found in the supermarket: Braeburn apples, Cortland apples, Discovery apples, Fuji apples, Gala apples, Granny Smith apples, Honeycrisp apples, Liberty apples, Melrose apples, Red Delicious apples
    • Specialty apples: Belle de Boskoop apples, Bramley’s Seedling cooking apples, Golden Russet apples, Haralson apples, Liberty apples, McIntosh apples, Northern Spy apples, Ozark Gold apples, Redfield apples, Red Jonagold apples, Rhode Island Greening apples, Spartan apples, WineCrisp apples

Blueberries and blackberries

  • Eat more blueberries and blackberries, which are among the most nutritious foods you can eat – high in vitamin C and anthocyanins, low glycemic index, and rich in fiber. Eat them several times a week, or even more often, for the most health benefits
  • Frozen berries are almost as nutritious as fresh berries. Thawing them destroys many of the nutrients unless it’s done very quickly, so thawing berries in the microwave is the fastest and most effective method
  • Eat berries right away or freeze them
  • Cooking and canning blueberries can increase their phytonutrient content
  • Recommended varieties of blueberries
    • Fresh or frozen, all varieties
    • Aronia blueberries / chokeberries, Bluechip blueberries, Bluegerm blueberries, Bluegold blueberries, Brightwell blueberries, Brunswick blueberries, Burgundy Maine blueberries, Burlington blueberries, Centurion blueberries, Chandler blueberries, Climax blueberries, Covill blueberries, Darrow blueberries, Earlyblue blueberries, Early May blueberries, Elliot blueberries, Northcountry blueberries, Northsky blueberries, Rancocas blueberries, Rubel blueberries, Sharpblue blueberries / Sharp Blue blueberries
  • Recommended varieties of blackberries
    • All types of blackberries, fresh or frozen
    • Chester Thornless blackberries, Hull Thornless blackberries, Jumbo Thornless blackberries, Waldo blackberries, Wild Treasure blackberries
    • Loganberries, boysenberries, and marionberries are man-made varieties of blackberries, and are more nutritious than blackberries

Strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries

  • Strawberries
    • Select red, ripe strawberries. Choose berries that are a uniform, dark red color
    • Eat them within a few days
    • You can increase their antioxidant value by storing them on the counter for 2 days
    • If you buy frozen strawberries, thaw them in the microwave to preserve more nutrients. Before freezing strawberries, dust them with sugar, powdered vitamin C, and/or powdered pectin to preserve their nutrients
    • Recommended varieties of strawberries – Bounty strawberries, Camarosa strawberries, Chandler strawberries, Earliglow strawberries, Honeoye strawberries, Late Star strawberries, Ovation strawberries, Selva strawberries, Sweet Charlie strawberries
  • Cranberries
    • Eat cranberries throughout the year
    • Dried cranberries are less nutritious than fresh cranberries, but they have enough antioxidant value to provide significant health benefits
    • Cranberry juice has proven health benefits. Unsweetened juice has more benefits than cranberry juice cocktail or cranberry juice blends
    • Recommended varieties of cranberries – all varieties, fresh or frozen; Early Black cranberries, Howes cranberries, Ben Lear cranberries
  • Raspberries
    • Raspberries are high in fiber and antioxidants. Black raspberries are even better than dark red raspberries
    • You can buy frozen berries or freeze-dried black raspberry powder
    • Recommended varieties of red and black raspberries – fresh or frozen; Caroline red raspberries, Heritage Red raspberries, Summit red raspberries, all black raspberries Bristol black raspberries, Jewel black raspberries

Stone fruits

  • All stone fruits
    • Buy ripe or nearly ripe stone fruits
    • Buy organic fruit to limit your exposure to pesticides, which are most concentrated on the skin
    • Eat the skins. If you don’t like to eat peach fuzz, “defuzz” it by wiping it gently with a damp cloth
  • Peaches and nectarines
    • Look for ripe fruit that has a creamy yellow or white background with only traces of green. The fruit should be free of dents and bruises and have a slight give when you press it gently between your palms
    • As a rule, white-fleshed peaches and nectarines are richer in phytonutrients than yellow-fleshed varieties
    • Recommended varieties of peaches – white skinned peaches; Champagne peaches, Indian Blood cling peaches, O’Henry peaches, September Sun peaches, Snow Giant peaches, Snow King peaches, Spring Crest peaches
    • Recommended varieties of nectarines – white skinned nectarines; Arctic Snow nectarines, Brite Pearl nectarines / Bright Pearl nectarines, Crimson Gold nectarines, John Boy II nectarines, Red Jim nectarines, Zee Fire nectarines
  • Apricots
    • Choose deep orange or orange-red apricots for the highest nutrition
    • Dried apricots treated with sulfur dioxide retain more of their phytonutrients (although some people are very sensitive to sulfur dioxide)
    • For greater retention of nutrients, purchase apricots that have been “tunnel-dried” or “hot-air dried,” which is a speedier process. Tunnel-dried apricots have 75% more antioxidants than sun-dried fruit
    • Recommended varieties of apricots – all varieties; Blenheim apricots, Goldstrike apricots, Hargrand apricots, Harogem apricots, Robada apricots, Wilson Delicious apricots
  • Cherries
    • All cherries are best when freshly picked. Bright green, flexible stems are the best indicator of freshness
    • Recommended varieties of sweet cherries – Bing cherries, Early Black cherries / Knight’s Early Black cherries, Hartland cherries, Royal Anne cherries / Queen Anne cherries, Summit cherries
    • Recommended varieties of tart cherries / sour cherries (which can help calm inflammation) – Balaton cherries, Montmorency cherries
  • Plums
    • Blue, black, and red plums are higher in antioxidants than yellow and green varieties. The darker the color of the skin and flesh of a plum, the more anthocyanins it contains
    • As a general rule, varieties that ripen in the summer are sweeter and less acidic than those that mature earlier in the year
    • Buy ripe or nearly ripe plums for the best quality
    • Dried plums (formerly called prunes) are among the most nutritious foods in the grocery store. There are two kinds – plums that have been soaked in juice or syrup to make them sweeter and softer, and plums that have been dried without any additional ingredients (which are chewier and may benefit from soaking)
    • Recommended varieties of plums – red, dark blue, and black plums; Angeleno plums / Angelina plums, Autumn Sweet plums, Black Beaut plums, Black Diamond plums, Cacak’s Best plums, Castelton plums, French Damson plums / damsons, Italian Prune plums, Longjohn plums / Longjohn plums, Red Beaut plums / Red Beauty plums, Stanley plums

Grapes and raisins

  • Selecting the most nutritious grapes and raisins
    • Red, purple, and black grapes are the best for your health
    • Muscadine and Concord grapes are especially high in anthocyanins, as are other red, purple, and black varieties
    • Concord grape juice has more phytonutrients than much more expensive juices
    • Look for the freshest grapes. Their stems should be bright green and flexible. They should not be sticky, moist, or contain loose fruit
    • Buy organic grapes to reduce your exposure to pesticides, or rinse conventional grapes thoroughly. Whether the sulfur dioxide use is noted or not, you should assume that most conventionally raised grapes have been fumigated
    • Golden raisins have more phytonutrients than conventional black raisins. Avoid golden raisins if you are sensitive to sulfur dioxide
    • Eat more currants, which have more antioxidants than traditional raisins or golden raisins.
  • Storing grapes to retain their nutrients
    • Chill grapes as soon as you can to slow their rate of decay and preserve their flavor and phytonutrient content
    • Place them in a sealed plastic bag with tiny holes and store them in the crisper drawer
    • Clip off the quantity of grapes you intend to use and leave the rest of the bunch in the refrigerator
  • Recommended varieties of grapes
    • Red, purple, or black grapes. Note that Thompson seedless is the lowest in nutritive value
    • Autumn Royal grapes, Concord grapes, Crimson Seedless grapes / Red Crimson Seedless grapes, Glenora graps, Noble grapes, Red Flame Seedless grapes / Flame Seedless grapes, Red Globe grapes, Ribier grapes

Citrus fruits – oranges, tangelos, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons, limes

  • General
    • Choose citrus fruits with the most colorful flesh. Varieties with extra-colorful flesh include Cara Caras, blood oranges, Valencias, mandarins, and tangelos
    • Citrus fruits harvested after December are less likely to be unripe fruits force-ripened with ethylene gas (to give them the color of ripe fruits), and will be lower in acid and more nutritious. Note that USDA standards for the designation “organic” do not allow the forced ripening of oranges and most other fruit; what you see is what you get
    • The greatest concentration of phytonutrients is in the pith, the spongy white tissue that lies just beneath the skin (scientific name: albedo). It is rich in pectin and has a high concentration of flavanones
    • Store citrus fruits on the kitchen counter for a week, but in the refrigerator for longer storage. Do not store in plastic bags, as this promotes mold. If you have extra fruit, freeze the juice and the grated peels
  • Oranges, varieties of oranges, and orange juice
    • Navel oranges are nutritious. Choose large navel oranges with deep orange skin and flesh. If all the oranges on display have a uniform, deep orange color, choose the largest fruits you see
    • Eat the membranes that surround the orange sections for added nutrition
    • Orange juice – deep orange-colored orange juice with pulp offers more nutrition than paler juices without pulp. Some inexpensive juices, including those made from concentrate, can have more phytonutrients than premium brands. Organic, flash-pasteurized orange juice is the most flavorful. Juice made from Valencia oranges, Cara Caras, or blood oranges is more nutritious than juice made from navel oranges. You can juice using a reamermanual press, or an electric juicer (which extracts the most juice and includes more of the pith, increasing the nutritional content of the juice)
    • Drink your juice within a few hours of squeezing to get the most health benefits and flavor
    • Recommended varieties of oranges – blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, Valencia oranges, Washington Navel oranges / navel oranges
    • Recommended varieties of tangelos – any variety
    • Recommended varieties of mandarin oranges – clementines, satsumas, tangerines
  • Grapefruits
    • Selecting citrus fruits – the skin should be taut and spring back when you press it. Avoid grapefruits with dents, bruises, scars, or soft spots. When white grapefruits are ripe, their skin is yellow, not greenish-yellow. The ripest red grapefruits have a reddish blush on the skin
    • Recommended varieties of grapefruits – white grapefruit varieties; pink grapefruit varieties; red grapefruit varieties including Rio Star grapefruits, Star Ruby grapefruits, Rio Red grapefruits, Ruby Red grapefruits
  • Lemons and limes
    • Choose the ripest lemons and limes, as fully ripened fruit has the most juice. Select lemons that are yellow without any traces of green. The most mature limes are beginning to turn yellow – and the darkest green limes in the store are the most immature and will have the least juice. The fruits should have glossy skins with no soft spots and be heavy for their size

Tropical fruits

  • Bananas
    • Bananas are relatively high in sugar and low in phytonutrients, especially the popular Cavendish banana. They provide some fiber and are a good source of potassium.
    • Store ripe bananas in the refrigerator to prolong their palatability
    • Bananas with colorful flesh are more nutritious than the Cavendish
    • Recommended varieties of bananas – baby bananas, red bananas / red finger bananas, burro, Brazilian Dwarf bananas / apple bananas / Dwarf Brazilian bananas, Hawaiian varieties of bananas
  • Pineapples
    • Extra-sweet, more golden varieties of pineapples have more beta-carotene and vitamin C than the traditional variety, the Cayenne pineapple
    • Choosing pineapples – they are harvested when ripe, so select the freshest fruits you can find. Fresh pineapples have dark green leaves on the crown with no signs of fading or browning
    • Recommended varieties of pineapples – golden, extra-sweet varieties such as Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet pineapples, Hawaii Gold pineapples, and Maui Gold pineapples
  • Papayas
    • Papayas have a glycemic load of 3 and are an excellent source of vitamin C
    • Red-fleshed papayas are more nutritious than golden-fleshed varieties
    • Selecting papayas – a ripe papaya is mostly yellow or orange-yellow. Press the rounded end of a papaya and it should have a slight give, but the stem end should be firm, not soft. Brown “freckles” on the skin do not detract from the flavor or quality of the fruit
    • Ripening papayas – A semi-ripe papaya will ripen very quickly. If the skin is equal parts green and yellow, it will become fully ripe in just 2-4 days at room temperature. You can finish ripening papayas on your kitchen counter.
    • Eat papayas when they’re ripe, or refrigerate them for a few days
    • Recommended varieties of papayas – Caribbean Red papayas / Caribbean Sunrise papayas / Mexican papayas / Maradol papayas, Solo papayas, Rainbow papayas, Sunrise papayas
  • Mangoes
    • Mangoes have 5x more vitamin C than oranges, 5x more fiber than pineapples, and a moderate glycemic load
    • Mangoes with dark orange flesh give you extra phytonutrients
    • Choosing mangoes – the fruit should have the distinctive aroma of a mango without any hint of ammonia, which is a sign of an overripe fruit. When you press the fruit gently between your palms, it should have a slight give
    • Ripening mangos – if you bring home a semi-ripe fruit, you can speed the ripening process by putting it in a closed paper bag along with an apple or banana
    • Storing mangos – once the fruit is ripe, store it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator to maintain its juiciness and to prevent over-ripening
    • Recommended varieties of mangoes – Ataulfo mangoes, Haden mangoes, Francis mangoes, Uba mangoes
  • Guavas
    • Guavas are more nutritious than bananas, pineapples, papayas, and mangos
    • Red-fleshed guavas are the most nutritious of all, but even the white-fleshed varieties offer important health benefits. Eat fresh guavas and drink guava juice and guava nectar and look for frozen puree
    • Choosing guavas – to choose a ripe guava, look for one that yields to gentle pressure when pressed between your palms. It should be free of soft spots, dents, and scars
    • Ripening guavas – if the fruit is still green, store it on the kitchen counter until it ripens
    • Storing guavas – ripe guavas will keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for 3-4 days
    • Recommended varieties of guavas – red guavas, pink guavas
  • You can buy tropical fruits produced under fair trade guidelines in some farmers markets and specialty stores, which can help protect the ecosystem and improve the lives of field workers


  • Selecting the most nutritious melons
    • Most melons are refreshing fruits with limited nutritional value because of their high water content. Melons with pale flesh have fewer nutrients than those with more intense colors
    • Watermelons with deep red flesh are a good source of lycopene
    • As a rule, small seedless watermelons are more nutritious than large heirloom varieties
    • The skin of ripe watermelon has lost its gloss, and the “ground spot” is yellow, not green or white. Listen for a deep sound when you thump it
    • As a rule, honeydew and casaba melons are the sweetest and least nutritious of melons. An exception is the orange-fleshed honeydew, which has more beta-carotene than most varieties of cantaloupe
    • Ripe cantaloupes should have a slight depression, or “innie,” at the stem end. They should smell both sweet and a bit musky, and the “blossom” end should depress slightly when you press it with your thumb. If it has a bit of a stub, or an “outie,” it was probably picked while still green and won’t have had time to develop full flavor.
    • Ripe honeydew melons feel heavy for their size, and the skin is cream colored, not green. The stem end depresses slightly when you press it with your thumb. If it depresses too far, the melon is likely to be soft and mushy rather than ripe and crisp. Shake the melon – if the seeds rattle, it’s overripe
  • Storing melons
    • Watermelons are one of the rare foods that increase their antioxidant value after they’ve been harvested, provided you keep them out of the refrigerator
    • Store watermelons at room temperature for a few days to increase their antioxidant value
  • Preparing melons to avoid pathogens
    • Because melons rest on the ground, they come into direct contact with potentially harmful soil bacteria
    • Scrub them with a clean, soft brush under running water. Don’t use detergent to wash fruits and vegetables as fresh produce, especially porous fruits such as cantaloupes, absorb detergent residues
    • Netted melons, such as cantaloupes, have more places in which to harbor bacteria and need an even more thorough scrubbing
  • Recommended varieties of melons
    • Watermelons: small seedless varieties; precut watermelons with the most intense red color; Dixie Lee watermelons, Extazy watermelons, Lycosweet watermelons, Millennium watermelons, Mohican watermelons, Summer Flavor #710 watermelons
    • Cantaloupes: precut cantaloupes with the deepest orange flesh; Blenheim Orange cantaloupe melons, Charentais cantaloupe melons, Durango cantaloupe melons, Oro Rico cantaloupe melons
    • Honeydews: orange-fleshed varieties; Honey Gold honeydew melons, Orange Delight honeydew melons, Orange Dew honeydew melons
    • Casabas: all varieties, although they are not as nutritious as cantaloupes or as sweet as honeydews

Health benefits claimed in Eating on the Wild Side

This book refers to research which claims that bionutrients in these foods (different foods have different benefits) can  reduce the risks for: Alzheimer’s disease, bladder infections, blood clots, cancer, cardiovascular disease, constipation, depression, age-related dementia, diabetes, prediabetes, food-borne bacteria, flu/influenza, high blood pressure/hypertension, high blood sugar, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, infections, inflammation, liver disease, low testosterone, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, memory loss, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, overweight/obesity, stomach ulcers, stroke, and increase immunity and longevity

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of Eating on the Wild Side for the nutritional and health benefits of all these varieties, descriptions of the recommended varieties, how to find or grow the best varieties, details on the development of modern produce and how it has affected nutritional values, and some recipes.

Buy now from Amazon
The author’s website is http://www.eatwild.com/, and includes information on pastured/grassfed animal foods and sources for local grassfed meat, eggs and dairy

How have these produce suggestions helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • V Girl November 11, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Excellent summary, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for compiling. 🙂

    • Penny Hammond November 18, 2015, 7:20 pm

      You’re welcome, glad to help!

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