70 Surprising and Fascinating Foods That Start With A!
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Pub quizzes have always been a passion of mine, and my stepdad is a local legend. If he can’t name 70 foods starting with A, I’ll eat my hat.
I built this list to test him, and you’re very welcome to use it too.
So what counts as food in this list?
I’ve gone for edible items that most people would eat, or at least think about eating.
So I’ve split the words into categories like whole foods, processed foods, sauces, snacks, and drinks. There’s a bit of everything – enough to test even the most battle-hardened pub quiz minds!
Are you ready? What foods start with A? Think you’re ready to take on a quiz master?
Here is a list of foods beginning with A:
Whole foods are exactly as they sound – single ingredients like fruits, vegetables, or seeds.
Abiu fruit grows in the Amazon in South America. Once ripe, it has yellow skin and the flesh has a creamy texture. It is said to taste like custard! So delicious!
The scientific name is Pouteria caimito.
The acai berry grows on a palm tree. It is a small black-purple berry that looks similar to a grape. Powdered acai berries have great health benefits as they’re full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
The scientific name is Euterpe oleracea.
A small round gourd that is green in color, has sweet flesh and is yellow-orange in color.
They are most commonly baked but can also be microwaved, sauteed, or steamed. They work great in soups and you can toast the seeds too.
The scientific name is Cucurbita pepo var. Turbinata.
Sometimes written as Azuki beans, the common name is mung bean. They are generally dark red in color.
Mung beans contain dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium.
The scientific name is Vigna angularis.
Also known as the flowering almond, this shrub is found commonly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, and Tibet.
It produces pink flowers but don’t try and eat the leaves as they’re toxic.
The scientific name is Prunus jacquemontii.
African custard apple
This is an ovoid fruit that has yellow scale-like skin. The flowers and leaves are both edible. The fruit is said to have a pineapple flavor – yum, yum!
The roots can be used for medicinal purposes. The scientific name is Annona senegalensis.
The African mangoes are valued for their nuts which are rich in protein. They are eaten by humans and also loved by mammals like monkeys and elephants.
They are used to make jam, jelly, juice, and sometimes wine.
The scientific name is Irvingia gabonensis.
The fruit from this tree can be eaten but is usually seen as ornamental. It’s usually made into a juice drink but watch your clothes as the juice is said to stain.
The scientific name is Garcinia livingstonei.
You can eat the leaves and flowers from these plants and they’re popular in South Asian countries. They are often used in curries, and to make sudhu hodhi, or thin coconut gravy.
The scientific name is Sesbania grandiflora.
This fruit is cultivated across the west of North America, including Alaska and parts of Russia. Traditionally, Native Americans used to mash up the fruit and eat the sweet flesh as a dessert.
The scientific name is Cornus × unalaschkensis.
Alfalfa sprouts are part of the legume family and are sometimes classed as a herb. They can be eaten by livestock and used as a herbal supplement.
They are really high in antioxidant properties.
The scientific name is Medicago sativa.
This shrub is native to the Appellation Mountains. The purple fruit is used to make jams and jellies.
The scientific name is Prunus alleghaniensis.
Did you know that almonds are actually the seed found in a drupe (or stone fruit). The tree is native to Iran and its surrounding countries.
The seed is found in a hard corrugated shell similar to a peach stone. Almonds are a good source of protein.
The tree’s scientific name is Prunus amygdalus.
Almond butter is made from ground almonds. It is a good alternative for people with peanut allergies and a good source of protein.
An amanatsu is a hybrid citrus fruit from Japan. It is around the size of a grapefruit and can be eaten fresh or as juice or made into marmalade.
The scientific name is Citrus natsudaidai.
The amaranth plant is a leafy vegetable, that is mainly eaten in East Asia, and Africa, but also in Greece and Brazil.
It is rich in lots of minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
The scientific name is Aramanthus Tricolor.
This Amazonian tree is native to South American countries. They are similar to a common grape in appearance, but its skin is inedible and has to be peeled.
The flesh is sweet and is used to make jam. It doesn’t keep for long, as the plant is susceptible to fungal attacks.
The scientific name is Pourouma cecropiifolia.
This is an edible leaf consumed and grown in India, which is also known as sorrel. The young leaves can be torn and eaten raw, or pickled.
They can also be made into a paste which can be used as a chutney or eaten with other vegetables.
The scientific name is Hibiscus sabdariffa.
This tropical fruit is also called the June plum and is a native tree in the Caribbean. This fruit looks similar to mango in appearance and is used in stews, preserves, soups, and sauces.
The scientific name is Spondias dulcis.
American black elderberry
This fruit grows from the Rocky Mountains all the way down to Bolivia. The flowers, known commonly as elderflowers are used to make drinks.
The ripe fruit can be used to make not only wine, but also jelly, and dye. The roots, stems, and leaves are inedible and highly toxic – so watch out!
The scientific name is Sambucus canadensis.
The American groundnut is also called the potato bean. Both the beans and roots are edible. The roots contain three times as much protein as a potato and they have a nutty taste.
They also have ten times the amount of calcium and twice the amount of iron.
The scientific name is Apios americana.
The American persimmon, also known as a sugar plum can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. They can also be fermented with hops to make beer or brandy.
The scientific name is Diospyros virginiana.
Sometimes, this is confused with the Canadian plum, however, this fruit is larger and yellow in color. It has both ornamental and culinary uses. Traditionally it was commonly eaten by the Native Americans.
The scientific name is Prunus americana.
This is also known as green laver. Aonori is a type of sea lettuce, which is dried and eaten in countries like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
It’s perfect for a healthy lifestyle, it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
The scientific name is Ulva Lactuca.
I love an apple! From Golden Delicious to Pink Lady there are loads of varieties. Although I can’t say they keep the doctor away.
They can be eaten raw, juiced, cooked into cakes, and don’t forget apple pie.
The scientific name is Malus domestica.
This fruit is indigenous to the Australian outback. It looks like a kiwi fruit but it has a slightly more elongated shape. It also has furry skin and has been common bush food for both people and birds.
Make sure, however, that it’s ripe before consuming as the juice of unripe apple berries can cause bad heartburn.
The scientific name is Billardiera scandens.
Apricots are small fruits. They have a sweet flavor and can be eaten raw, dried, or made into jam.
The largest producer of dried apricots is Turkiye, and it is the national fruit of Armenia.
The scientific name is Prunus armeniaca.
Although similar to an apricot it looks more like a tomato. They tend to be dark red in color and can have a sour taste depending on how ripe they are.
Interestingly, they contain high levels of hexyl acetate which is what gives apples their aroma.
The scientific name is Prunus simonii.
You’ve heard of arabica coffee haven’t you, but did you know that those coffee beans are actually the seed found inside the arabica fruit?
The fruit itself is cherry-like and red in color and was first cultivated in Yemen.
The scientific name is Coffea arabica.
This is the second seaweed named in this list and it’s also used in Japanese cuisine like Aonori. It has a mild flavor which is said to have a semi-sweet taste and it’s used in lots of dishes.
They include stews, muffins, appetizers, and casseroles.
The scientific name is Eisenia bicyclis.
This fruit is from an Amazonian tree. It has a high acidity level and contains nitrogen and potassium.
It is recommended to mix it with sugar rather than eat it alone. It has only recently been exported to the UK.
The scientific name is Eugenia stipitata.
This is short grain rice that is commonly used to make the popular Italian dish risotto.
This gourd is pale orange and mottled green in color. It originates back centuries to the Arikara Native Americans of The Dakotas in the United States.
They are popular both as decoration and for eating.
The scientific name is Cucurbita maxima.
These are really funny-looking things, aren’t they! They’re also called snake cucumbers, or snake melons (you can see why!).
Sometimes they can be pickled, and they are commonly eaten with their skin on.
The scientific name is Cucumis melo var. flexuosus.
This is a root vegetable from The Andes region. They are starchy like potatoes and are eaten across South America.
When cooked it is said to develop an aroma similar to a mix of celery, cabbage, and roasted chestnuts – festive!
The scientific name is Arracacia xanthorrhiza.
Arrowleaf elephant ear
This tropical plant is from South America that produces edible roots and leaves. It is used in a variety of dishes in countries such as Bolivia and Columbia, as well as in The Netherlands.
The scientific name is Xanthosoma sagittifolium.
This is not a vegetable in its own right, arrowroot powder is a starch that is produced in the root of several tropical plants.
It has lots of interesting culinary applications, including making arrowroot biscuits. It’s also gluten-free so arrowroot flour is a great substitute for people with a gluten allergy.
The scientific name varies depending on which plant it’s come from.
Artichoke – globe
Artichoke hearts as they’re called, are popular on pizza in European countries, have a mild nutty flavor, and are full of vitamins and nutrients!
The scientific name is Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus.
Artichoke – Jerusalem
The Jerusalem artichoke root has a lovely bright yellow flower growing from it, like a sunflower.
This is a root vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. They are interestingly, actually not an artichoke or from Jeruselum!
The scientific name is Helianthus tuberosus.
Arugula, also known as rocket has a slightly bitter and peppery taste and it can be found in most supermarkets across the world.
This green vegetable should be washed well before use as it is often packed with sandy soil. It’s great in salads and on pizza!
The scientific name is Eruca sativa.
Also called the winter gourd, this vegetable has pale green skin which is waxy. They are native to South and Southeast Asia.
It’s eaten as a vegetable when young, but when ripe it can be used to make preserves or crystalized candy called ‘petha’.
The scientific name is Benincasa hispida.
An umbrella term for a variety of leafy spring vegetables, Asian greens include bok choy, water spinach, Chinese celery, and pea shoots.
Asian pears are shaped like an apple but have mottled skin. Due to the high water content of this fruit, it is quite mushy when pressured, so not great to go into a pie.
They tend to be eaten fresh, or made into sauces for marinating meat in countries like Japan and Korea.
The scientific name is Pyrus pyrifolia.
The Asian radish is mild in flavor and is also called daikon. Unlike the red and white variety, this variety is mainly white and green in color. They are often pickled as well as eaten raw or in salads.
The scientific name is Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus.
Pennywort is used both as a culinary vegetable and for medicinal purposes and grows in tropical regions.
It can be eaten raw, in salads, and sandwiches, and in Bangkok, it can be found in health drinks.
The scientific name is Centella asiatica.
This long, stalk-like vegetable comes in two different colors – green and white.
White asparagus is eaten by the bucketload during ‘Spargelzeit’ (Asparagus Time) in Germany, which generally runs from April to June.
The scientific name is Asparagus officinalis.
The asparagus bean has no ties to the asparagus. It’s actually a legume that can grow up to 75cm in length. They’re a good source of protein and full of vitamins and minerals.
The scientific name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. Sesquipedalis.
This could be described as the hedgehog of the fruit world (if you see what I mean!) It is a hybrid of a sugar apple and a cherimoya.
Despite its ugly appearance, it is sweet and juicy inside, and apparently tastes like a pina colada!
The scientific name is Annona squamosa × Annona cherimola.
Aubergines, or eggplants (the English language is a funny one). They are popular in the UK as well as areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, North America, and Australia.
It is the key ingredient in this Moussaka, one of my favorite recipes!
The scientific name is Solanum melongena.
This is a tree native to Australia, and the seed pods of the baobab fruit are said to taste like sherbert – sweet!
This is a versatile tree as almost all parts can be used including for medicinal purposes.
The scientific name is Adansonia gregorii.
It is a vegetable? Is it a fruit? It has a stone, but a savory taste so I’ll let you land on that one.
It has a mild taste and although it can be eaten on its own, it’s also popular to eat it is on toast or as an accompaniment like guacamole.
The scientific name is Persea americana.
Now let’s take a look at other foods beginning with A.
Fish, meat, and cheese
Here are some common meat and cheese A foods to take a look at:
Abalones are sea snails. They are consumed as seafood, raw in Japanese sushi, or on pizza in California. Their shells are also used to make jewelry.
Love them or hate them, this small fish is similar to a mackerel or sardine and they’re a popular topping on pizza (goodness knows why – yuk!).
Aberdeen Angus beef
This meat comes from the Aberdeen Angus breed of cow, popular in Scotland that has been there since the sixteenth century.
The meat is eaten as steak and burgers in various countries.
An Italian cheese made from cow’s milk, it changes texture from smooth to crumbly depending on how much it has aged.
Take a look at some meals starting with A:
Aligot is a super cheesy mash dish that is from France. Who doesn’t love cheesy mashed potatoes? But I am definitely loving the amount of fromage in this meal – fondue fun!
Aloo is found as a prefix in many Indian dishes. In this instance, it’s made with potatoes and cauliflower and uses turmeric to give it a bright yellow color!
A popular dish in Italian cuisine, antipasto is a platter of meats, olives, and cheeses, usually served as an appetizer. The purpose of antipasti is said to stimulate the appetite for the courses yet to come.
Arancini are a popular tapas dish in Spain and Italy. They’re made with rice and then covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. I think they’d be delicious with a salsa dip for sure!
Here are a couple of yummy sauces that begin with an A!
This is an emulsion of olive oil and garlic from the Mediterranean. It is usually served cold and the word aioli literally translates as ‘garlic and oil.
Alfredo sauce is a really easy Italian recipe. It can vary between recipes but the main ingredients usually include butter, garlic, parmesan cheese, and either heavy cream or milk.
These are more processed foods that are super yummy!
In the UK Ambrosia is a popular brand of custard. But in the US, ambrosia is a traditional dessert dish.
It is a fruit salad often made with ingredients including pineapple, orange, and coconut. It is then mixed with sour cream or cool whip.
Angel cake is a yummy and sweet three-layered cake made with a white, yellow, and pink sponge.
Animal crackers are a cute little snack that is popular in the United States. They are biscuits shaped like animals backed with milk chocolate.
Apple sauce is processed pureed apples, which is a popular snack, especially with babies and children. In the UK apple sauce is a traditional accompaniment to pork.
Discover some drinks that start with A:
An alcoholic beverage that is brewed without hops using a warm fermentation method. It has a full-bodied fruity and sweet taste.
Amaretto is a sweet liqueur that has an almond taste to it. It works well with a mixer like coke cola.
An Americano is a coffee drink that is made by diluting an espresso with hot water. It has the same strength as normal brewed coffee but has a slightly different taste.
This is a non-alcoholic drink made with iced tea and lemonade, named after the professional golfer that used to request it a lot.
There was also a drink named after his first wife, Winnie, which is made using sweet tea and lemonade instead.
This is a traditional Mexican beverage that is popular during the Day of the Dead festival. It tends to be made with corn flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and then fruit or chocolate.
- Açaí berries
- Acorn squash
- Adzuki beans
- Afghan cherry
- African custard apple
- African mango
- African mangosteen
- Alaskan bunchberry
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Allegheny plum
- Almond butter
- Amaranth leaves
- Amazon grape
- American black elderberry
- American groundnut
- American persimmon
- American plum
- Apple berry
- Apricot plum
- Arabica fruit
- Arborio rice
- Arikara squash
- Armenian cucumber
- Arrowleaf elephant ear
- Artichoke – globe
- Artichoke – Jerusalem
- Ash gourd
- Asian greens
- Asian pear
- Asian radish
- Asiatic pennywort
- Asparagus bean
- Australian baobab
Fish, meat, and cheese
- Aberdeen Angus beef
- Asiago cheese
- Aloo Gobi
- Angel cake
- Animal crackers
- Apple sauce
- Arnold Palmer
Did you enjoy this list of foods that with A? How many of the popular foods did you recognise?
I bet there was some new food that you hadn’t heard of. From healthy foods, to fast food and side dishes there’s definitely something for everyone.