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Italian Vegetable Seed Glossary

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011

When it comes to healthy eating, there is nothing better than fresh vegetables grown in your own backyard. For high-quality homegrown food, Bill McKay of Seeds from Italy recommends planting traditional heirloom vegetables, or vegetables that have been passed down from generation to generation without being hybridized. Here he shares some of his favorite Italian varieties.

Radicchio Rossa di Treviso
One of the oldest and best-known varieties of red radicchio, Radicchio Rossa di Treviso was originally prized for its excellent storage ability; in the days when people depended entirely on homegrown foods, it could be easily stored for most of the winter. This radicchio is almost always served roasted or grilled, and is often used as the main ingredient in risotto.

Borlotto Bean Lamon

Hailing from the city of Lamon in the Veneto region of Italy, borlotto beans are popular in soups and stews. The fresh shell beans are a major source of protein. Bill likes to cook and serve them with fresh sage and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Tomato San Marzano Redorta

The San Marzano Redorta tomato is a large plum tomato with few seeds and a generous production that is excellent for sauce, canning, or a simple fresh snack.

Zucchini Bianco di Sicilia

This popular Sicilian zucchini is light green with a smooth texture and strong flavor. The plant produces great-tasting fruit over a long season, and is Bill's favorite choice for a light zucchini salad.

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