Perhaps you’re looking to eat your way through the alphabet. Or maybe you’re frantically searching for a detailed description of a menu item you’ve never come across before. Whatever your reasons for research, we’re here to help!
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The culinary universe can seem nearly as big as the one in which we live. There are so many new flavors and sensations that it may be impossible to them all within one lifetime.
Many people believe they don't need to try any more new dishes. While we are all entitled to our own personal preferences, it's still a shame because, just like new people, new foods can add something to your life you never realized was missing. The joy of experiencing new favorites for the first time is something that never gets old, especially when it comes to food.
Below you’ll find 41 foods that start with the letter “H”. For more great food lists check out food that begins with the letter I and food that begins with the letter G.
Some of these you’ll undoubtedly heard of, while others will leave you wondering what on earth they could be.
Don’t worry though, we’ll explain exactly what each of them is so you can add them to your food bucket list or steer well clear if they don’t sound like something you’d particularly enjoy!
This is a coldwater, white fish that is related to cod. It has a sweeter taste, however, and the texture is finer. These are quite subtle differences though, and haddock and cod can be quite easily substituted for one another if needed.
This delicious fish is high in protein and is considered a low-mercury fish, which gives it a great amount of universal appeal. It’s also low in calories, but it isn’t as high in healthy fats like some other fattier fish.
Another fish that starts with the letter H, hake is lean and extremely low in fat. This makes it an ideal diet-addition for anybody keeping a close eye on their calorie intake, however, it doesn’t contain very many omega-3 fatty acids.
As well as being low in fats, it’s high in protein and it’s a fantastic source of many vitamins and minerals. This includes B Vitamins, which are usually quite difficult to get into your diet without relying on supplements.
3. Hakusai Cabbage
In the United States, this vegetable is better known as “Long Napa Cabbage” or “Chinese Cabbage”.
However, its Japanese name is “Hakusai Cabbage”. This is a common ingredient in many Japanese dishes and it’s used in everything from gyozas to hot-pots.
Its length and flexibility also make it a perfect choice for making cabbage rolls or Kimchi. It’s delicious when braised as served as a simple side dish, too.
Halibut is a fairly large fish that is a popular choice in many restaurants and home-cooked dishes. It’s got quite a mild flavor that isn’t as ‘fishy’ as some other types of fish. It also has firm, rich flesh that is more like meat than fish.
It can be a risky ingredient if it’s eaten too frequently though, as it has high levels of mercury. When eaten in moderation, however, it’s a fantastic source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fatty acids.
Halloumi, also affectionately known as “squeaky cheese” due to the noise it makes when it’s cooked, is an unripened, semi-hard cheese.
It’s made from a combination of two types of milk, which are usually sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.
It’s commonly used in Greek and Mediterranean dishes, but food trends have seen it become popular all over the world in recent years.
It doesn’t melt very easily either, so it’s often served grilled or fried and it makes a fantastic meat-alternative in vegetarian dishes.
6. Hami Melon
Also known as “Hami-Gua”, Hami melons aren’t dissimilar to watermelons in size but they have bright yellow, netted skin that is unusually hard for a melon.
Once cut into, the flesh is a pale peach color and they have a huge number of seeds in their center.
The taste of a Hami melon is crisp and sweet, and the texture is really juice despite their hard flesh. They also have a fragrant, floral scent that can also be picked up in their flavor.
As you might expect, hare is quite similar to rabbit in its gamey texture, and it can either be farmed or hunted in the wild.
The flavor, however, is a bit different and it can change depending on what the hare eats and where it lives. Most hares are exclusively herbivorous, but some have been known to eat meat as well.
Hare is commonly served braised, and this is because it’s a lean meat that can dry out quite easily if fried or roasted. It can, however, be deep-fried to retain some of its texture and it’s also delicious when served in a stew.
8. Haricot Beans
These are the most commonly eaten beans in the world and they are the very same beans you’d find in a can of baked beans.
The term “Haricot Beans” actually covers a wide range of bean types though, and their scientific name “Phaseolus vulgaris” refers to the family of beans that both dried and fresh green beans come from.
If you’re preparing a recipe and it calls for haricot beans, there is a strong possibility that it’s referring to “Navy Beans” or “Boston Beans”, both of which are cream dried and have a soft, creamy texture that is perfect for baking.
Conversely, haricot green beans are small, immature, and have long green pods much like string beans. These are often eaten raw for their sweet taste and crisp texture.
9. Hass Avocados
Avocados are one of the most divisive foods in the world. You either love them or hate them. Hass avocados are the most commonly found type of avocado in the United States, and many are growing domestically in California.
They are rich in plant-based healthy fats, so they are ideal for vegans trying to get more fatty acids into their diet. They also have a rich, creamy texture and a sweet, nutty flavor.
There’s often a bit of confusion when it comes to finding out if an avocado is ripe and ready to eat, but it’s quite straightforward. If the skin is dark purple or nearly black in color with a pebble-like texture, they are ready.
The flesh inside the avocado will also be pale yellow around the pit ombreing to a jade-green around the outer edges.
10. Hawaiin Mountain Apple
As their name suggests, Hawaii mountain apples are a tropical fruit that grows in Hawaii. However, their native roots are in Malaysia and they can be found growing in abundance throughout the Pacific Islands.
Their appearance is similar to a pear, but the narrow upper part is much longer and they have a more bulbous, flat-bottom. They are bright red in color and, when they are ripe, they look glossy and have a wavy skin-texture.
Inside, their flesh is crisp and juicy, and they have a fibrous texture that, again, isn’t unlike a pear. They can taste a little tart at first, but after the first bit the flavor mellows out into a sweet flavor.
11. Hawthorn Apples
Hawthorn apples look nothing like you’d expect them to, given their name. They are only the size of a berry and have thin skin and pulpy flesh.
They come in a variety of colors too, including red, green, yellow, and purple. Some are even so dark in color that they appear almost black.
At the center of a hawthorn apple, you’ll find a huge number of seeds that are packed so tightly together they appear more like a pit.
They have an extremely tart flavor, which is why they are rarely eaten raw. Instead, they are more likely to be paired with another type of berry and used to make jam.
Depending on where you live, a hazelnut may also be known as a “filbert”. They are the fruits of the hazel tree and, when they are ripe, they naturally fall out of their husk. This makes them really easy to collect from the ground.
There is usually a thin, paper-like skin covering the nut that needs to be removed before eating.
Once the skin has been removed, a hazelnut can either be eaten raw or roasted. Hazelnuts are also used to create flavorings for coffee syrups and, most famously, sandwich spreads like Nutella.
13. Hedgehog Mushroom
Hedgehog mushrooms are easy to identify in the wild thanks to their yellow-orange cap and tooth-covered underside.
This unique appearance makes them less mistakable for a poisonous mushroom, which makes them a favorite pick amongst foragers.
There are small and large varieties of hedgehog mushrooms and, regardless of size, they have a fruity fragrance.
All varieties have an earthy, smoky flavor as well and this makes them an ideal choice for enhancing the apricot-flavor you’d find in a chanterelle mushroom.
There’s often a lot of squeamishness surrounding organ meat, but if you can get past the thought of eating heart you’ll find an incredibly high source of vitamins and nutrients.
Heart meat, in particular, is a great source of B Vitamins, folate, iron, zinc, and selenium. It also contains CoQ10, which is an antioxidant that has anti-aging and energizing properties.
So, not only is it good for your internal health, but it’ll help slow down the signs of aging!
15. Heartleaf Ice Plant
This is one of the least common “H” foods on our list, and it’s something that you’ll likely find in only a couple of dishes.
The heartleaf ice plant is actually a succulent with edible leaves. They can be eaten when fully grown, but they are tastier when they’re younger.
If you’d like to try the leaves of a heartleaf ice plant, it’s quite a simple ingredient to cook. All you need to do is steam or flash-boil them as you would with spinach or other leafy greens.
16. Hearts of Palm
This is a fairly controversial ingredient as hearts of palms are harvested from the inner core of young palmetto and coconut palm trees which, if done incorrectly, can kill the tree.
They are cultivated in tropical climates where these types of trees grow naturally and, once harvested, and usually canned.
This gives them a pickled/fermented flavor. They are usually eaten raw and added to salads or salsas, but they can also be cooked and stirred through pasta and soups.
While you may think of a hen as being a chicken, the term actually refers to any female bird in the poultry category.
In this respect, “hen” could mean chicken, turkey, or duck. Hens are generally much thinner than male poultry and, because of this, they have much smaller breasts.
You may find the term “spent hen” on the labeling supplied by a grocery store or butcher. This means that the hen was an egg-laying bird that has been retired and is now being used for meat.
18. Henbit Weed
This is a herb that belongs to the mint family. It grows all year round in temperate climates and it’s often regarded as a weed due to the fact it naturally seeds itself in lawns and in the cracks in sidewalks.
This makes it quite easy to find but to make sure you’ve got the right herb it can also be identified by its small, scalloped leaves that are covered in tiny hairs. They also have small pink/purple tulip-shaped flowers that don’t bear any fragrance.
Flavor-wise, henbit weed is sweet and has mild notes of mint. It can be eaten raw, tossed through salads, used as a garnish, or lightly cooked to release more of its natural oils.
19. Hen of the Woods Mushroom
This mushroom is also known as “Maitake” in Japanese. It has a unique, delicate texture that sets it apart from the usual spongy, rubbery texture of most other mushrooms. This makes it an excellent choice for anybody that doesn’t particularly like mushrooms but wants to broaden their culinary horizons.
Hen of the woods mushrooms can be found naturally growing at the base of oak trees in large clusters. They have thick bases that need to be removed before cooking, but, otherwise, they can be prepared in the same way as any other mushroom.
Herring are small, forage fish that live in large schools. This makes it easier for predators and fishermen alike to harvest them in bulk. They are naturally high in oils and fatty acids, which makes them a really healthy addition to any diet.
You can most commonly find herring being sold smoked, pickled, or salted. Each of these types of preservatives changes the taste, but they still retain a fish-like flavor. Herring can also be eaten raw, as long as they have been flash-frozen beforehand.
21. Hickory Nuts
These are really tough nuts to crack, but it’s worth the effort to get the sweet, rich, pecan-like flavor. Hickory nuts are in the same family as pecans and walnuts, along with many other varieties.
In the natural world, ripe nuts will fall from the tree and the husks will crack open on impact.
However, as most are harvested before they are ripe, you may need to resort to using a vice or a hammer to get to the delicious inside.
22. Hinona Kabu
These are long, thin, carrot-shaped turnips with white bodies and bright purple shoulders. They also have bright purple stems and large, green leaves that have purple veins.
Sounds pretty alien, right? While they may look wild, they have a sweet flavor that has a radish-like, peppery-spice to it.
23. Hog Plum
There are actually quite a few plants that are known as hog plums, but the most common of them also goes by the name of ‘Yellow Mombin”. This is a tropical tree that grows in the West Indies and in the Americas.
Both the fruits and leaves of the hog plum are edible, despite belonging to the same family as poison ivy. The fruits are small and oval-shaped with a yellow/green color and the skin has a leathery texture.
They also have a sharp, acidic taste when eaten raw, which is why you’d usually find them as part of a jam or pie filling.
24. Hoja Santa
Hoja Santa is a “sacred leaf” herb that is also known as “Root Beer Plant”. This is because it has a sweet, sassafras fragrance and a complex flavor with licorice, anise, mint, eucalyptus, and nutmeg notes.
It can grow incredibly tall, often up to 6ft, and is usually cultivated in Mexico. The leaves are really large too and are heart-shaped, which act as a beautiful backdrop to the finger-like white flowers.
The leaves are usually eaten raw and can be used as wraps or added to salads, salsa, sauces, and soups.
25. Holland Peppers
These are similar to bell peppers but have a sweeter taste. As their name suggests, they are native to Holland but are now grown all over the world. They also come in a huge variety of colors including red, yellow, orange, white, purple, brown, and even striped!
As they are so similar to bell peppers, Holland peppers can be used as a direct substitute in almost any dish.
26. Holy Basil
You may be more familiar with sweet basil or Thai basil. Holy basil is from the same family, but it stands alone in flavor.
The leaves are a mixture of dark green and deep purple, and it has a licorice-like scent. This also carries through to the flavor and it’s a lot more peppery, with undertones of mint.
It is native to India and is often used for medicinal purposes, treating ailments of the mind, body, and soul.
Produced by honey bees, honey can be harvested from farmed and wild hives. It’s one of the most popular natural sweeteners used in cooking and it’s a fantastic alternative to refined sugars.
There are loads of different varieties of honey, and each of them has a unique flavor and nutritional value.
This is because the honey produced will be dependent on the flowers the bees have harvested their nectar from. Locally-sourced honey is also known as a great remedy for seasonal allergies.
28. Honeycrisp Apples
Honeycrisp apples start off as a bright yellow color that darkens to green and then blushes with pink as it ripens.
They have a crisp texture and sweet-sour flavor that is perfectly balanced, although they do get sweeter as they mature.
They are a perfect apple for baking as they are so sweet, and they are also a great addition to slaw and salads.
29. Honeydew Melon
Although honeydew melons are primarily cultivated in France, they are a popular choice throughout North America. They are one of the easiest melons to identify due to their smooth, icy green skin. They are also great value for money as a single honeydew melon can grow up to 8lbs!
Inside a honeydew melon, the flesh is a light green color around the center which grows to a darker green as it gets closer to the skin. The core is also packed with seeds. The flavor of a honeydew melon is mildly sweet and refreshing, with a fruitier similarity to cucumbers.
30. Honey Kiss Melon
These are a variety of Hemi melons, and they are similar in shape, size, and overall appearance. The skin is more heavily netted though, and the peach-colored flesh has a sweeter taste with a honey-like fragrance.
Honey kiss melons are usually eaten raw and they are even more delicious when paired with a contrasting flavor. This could be cured meats, tart berries, or cilantro.
31. Honeynut Squash
We’re all familiar with the famous butternut squash, and a honeynut squash is a cross between that and the buttercup variety.
It has an hourglass shape and a thin rind with a deep orange color which ripens to streaks of dark green. Like both of its parents, it also has orange flesh.
Honeynut squashes are very firm when raw, but they become tender and creamy when cooked. The flavor is similar to that of a butternut squash, with slightly more intense notes of caramel.
32. Horn Melon
Horn melons are only about the size of a pear, and they are covered in yellow/orange spiky skin, which is where they get their name from. Inside, the flesh is green and has a jelly-like consistency that is similar to a zucchini or cucumber.
The flavor is a mixture of lime and bananas which, although sounds like two ends of a flavor spectrum, gives them a nice balance between sweetness and tartness.
Horn melons are most commonly used for juicing, although they are sometimes used to create desserts, dressing, sauces, and drink flavorings.
33. Horse Mushroom
These look very similar to the large, white button mushrooms that we’re all familiar with. They can grow caps up to 7-inches in diameter and, as they age, the color fades from bright white to yellow. They also have thick, firm flesh and gills that are colored pink and brown. The stem is smooth and grows straight.
You have to be extremely careful when foraging for horse mushrooms as they have a highly poisonous look-alike called “Yellow Stainer”. It’s best to look at their fragrance to tell them apart, as horse mushrooms have an anise-like fragrance, while the yellow stainer smells like iodine.
Horseradish is a root vegetable with a pungent, hot, flavor that isn’t dissimilar to mustard. It’s most commonly crushed after being harvested and used to create sauces and dressings that can be paired with roasted or grilled meats.
It has an off-white color with light brown, bark-like markings. It also has a long, cylindrical shape that gives it the appearance of a parsnip, although horseradish generally looks a lot more gnarled.
This is a herb that grows throughout Mexico and South America in a weed-like fashion, self-seeding and setting up home wherever it’s most comfortable.
It grows quite tall and is identifiable by its delicate, leafy stems and tiny flower clusters that resemble broccoli florets. It also has a strong, herbaceous scent.
Huauzontle has a taste that is similar to leafy green vegetables, most notably spinach and broccoli. It also has notes of mint and pepper.
The leaves and seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, while the stems are quite a bit tougher and are better off being cooked before eating.
36. Hubbard Squash
Hubbard squashes come in a huge variety of colors including white, orange, and even blue! They have super-hard, bumpy skin and, because of their appearance, they are often thought of as being purely ornamental. But this isn’t the case and, if cooked correctly, they are a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.
The best way to cook a Hubbard squash is to leave its skin on, and remove it after it's been slowly roasted. Their dense flesh is perfect for making soups, stews, and casseroles, and it can also be pureed to make a pie filling.
These grow wild throughout North America. They are small in size and have shades of red, blue, and black. Huckleberries look quite similar to blueberries in size and appearance, and they taste quite similar too.
However, they have a large number of seeds in the center which, although edible, are quite bitter and so are usually discarded.
You can eat huckleberries raw but they are most commonly used for making jams, in baking, and for flavoring drinks.
This one of the rarer ingredients on our list of “H” foods. Huitlacoche is a type of fungus that only grows on organically grown sweetcorn.
It can vary in size, depending on how long it’s been growing, and it has a spongy, velvety texture that isn’t dissimilar to that of a mushroom. It also has a black color that is covered with white/light grey velvet.
Huitlacoche is most commonly found in Mexican cuisine and it can either be eaten raw or cooked. It has a rich, umami flavor that is both sweet and savory, along with earthy, smoky tones. When Huitlacoche is cooked, its black color permeates the entire dish.
39. Husk Tomatoes
Although technically berries, husk tomatoes get their name from their appearance. They are tiny, red fruits that are encased in a papery, orange husk that tapers to a point. They are cultivated and grown naturally throughout Europe and Asia.
Their firm, glossy skin, and juicy, soft flesh have a sweet, tropical flavor. They also have hints of vanilla and pineapple, which makes them delicious when eaten raw. They’re quite versatile though and can be cooked in sweet and savory recipes as well.
40. Hyacinth Beans
In many parts of the world, hyacinth beans are grown purely for ornamental purposes as they become poisonous as they age.
However, in certain parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia, they are harvested young and can be eaten raw and cooked. Mature beans can also be cooked in a certain way to remove their toxicity.
Hyacinth beans are identifiable by their deep purple outer pods and bright green inner beans and pods. Similar to snap peas, the pods turn dark green and begin to flatten out as they mature.
This is another herb that belongs to the mint family. Hyssop is native to Southern Europe and Asia, although it is now cultivated throughout North America as well. The fragrance of Hyssop is quite sweet and is fairly misleading as it has a bitter, herbaceous taste.
For this reason, it’s most commonly used to make a tea that is sweetened with honey, but it can also be added to stews and slow-cooked casserole dishes.
Hyssop can grow up to 1.5ft tall and the thin green stalks are covered with small, elliptical leaves. They also grow tiny flowers that can be white, pink, red, or violet.
And we didn't talk about ham, habanero pepper, hot dog, husk tomato, hash brown, hot sauce, hamburger, hollandaise sauce, or hakka noodles. The options are endless.
Foods That Start With H: 41 of the Best
Use in or with your favorite recipe.
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