13 Whole Foods That Start With F

Looking for an extensive list of foods that start with the letter F? 

Look no further, we’ve got you covered!

Browse this list of 13 foods that start with F to get some new cooking inspiration, learn more about where each food comes from, and understand the health benefits of each food.

Let’s dive in!

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Scoop of raw farro grain (ancient wheat) on rustic wooden scoop against distressed wood surface

1. Farro 

The term farro means “ancient wheat grain” in Italian, and can refer to different types of wheat, including einkorn, emmer, and spelt (1). 

However, in the United States, most farro comes from emmer wheat, which originated in the Middle East around 8500 BC (2).

It is known for its chewy texture and nutty flavor but also happens to be very nutrient-dense, with a good amount of protein, fiber, zinc, and magnesium in each serving (3).

Most grocery stores carry pearled farro, meaning that part of the outer husk and bran have been removed to reduce cooking time and eliminate the need for soaking.

Unfortunately, this process also removes some of the nutrients and fiber, so it may be better to choose whole-grain farro instead if you have the time to prepare it.

Toss some cooked farro into your favorite soups, or add it to salads and protein bowls for an extra fiber boost.

Whole fava bean pods and shelled beans on a white background

2. Fava beans

Fava beans, also known as broad beans or faba beans, look similar to lima beans and have a nutty, buttery flavor.

They’re considered a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East, where people use them in soups, stews, dips, and dishes like Egyptian falafel (4).

Fava beans are one of the best natural sources of levodopa, a compound that gets converted to dopamine, a hormone that promotes feelings of happiness and pleasure (5, 6).

Eating these beans may actually raise dopamine levels and improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, although more research is needed (7).

They also provide 9 grams of fiber per cup, along with a hefty dose of essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and folate (8).

Look for fresh fava beans at your local farmer’s market, while dried fava beans can be found at Middle Eastern markets, health food stores, or at your local grocery store — they’re also sometimes available canned or frozen.

If cooking fresh fava beans, pop them out of the large pod and then quickly blanch in hot water to loosen and soften the white translucent skin on the beans. Remove this skin before eating for the best flavor and texture.

A top view shot of fresh fennel on a wooden plate and knife with a marble background

3. Fennel

Fennel is an herb, native to southern Europe, with a large white bulb that branches off into thick green stems and feathery leaves (9). 

All parts of the plant can be eaten, but the bulb is often used in recipes due to its delicate, anise-like flavor and crisp texture. If you’re not a fan of licorice flavor, note that it fades and mellows when cooked.

One cup of sliced raw fennel bulb provides 3 grams of fiber, 360 mg (8% DV) of potassium, 10 mg (11% DV) of vitamin C, and 55 mcg (46% DV) of vitamin K (10, 11).

Fennel fronds can be stripped from the stems and used as a fresh herb when flavoring pasta dishes, salad dressings, and more. 

Fennel seeds are used to season soups, breads, curries, and sausages — they have a warm, slightly sweet flavor (similar to licorice).

Fresh fennel can be found in the produce section at most grocery stores, while fennel seeds are located in the spice aisle.

Fenugreek seed in an olive wood scoop over white background.

4. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a plant belonging to the Fabaceae family that originated in central Asia and is now used throughout the world, especially in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine (12).

Its leaves (dried or fresh) are used as an herb, while the seeds are a spice commonly found in spice blends like Garam masala (12).

Fenugreek has a unique flavor — slightly bitter and nutty with a hint of maple and burnt sugar — that pairs well with cumin and coriander.

Drinking tea brewed with fenugreek seeds can boost breast milk production in breastfeeding women because it contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds) (13, 14).

Depending on where you live, fenugreek might be difficult to find. Look for fresh or dried leaves and seeds at Asian and Indian markets or online.

Pile of fresh spring wild fiddleheads on white background

5. Fiddlehead ferns

Fiddlehead ferns are the young, unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern that can be found growing wild in moist areas near rivers and streams, as well as in forests and meadows. 

They are typically harvested in the early spring, before they have fully opened, in the northeastern United States and Canada (15).

Fiddlehead ferns should always be eaten cooked — never raw — because they contain a toxin that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea and can only be deactivated by heat (15).

Their flavor is often described as being similar to asparagus and green beans, but with a grassy or nutty undertone.

Finding fiddlehead ferns can be a challenge. They’re sometimes available at farmers’ markets, or you can forage for your own if you have the proper plant identification skills.

They can be steamed, boiled, roasted, or even pickled, but are best enjoyed sautéed with butter and garlic. Just make sure to cook them thoroughly!

Two whole figs, a green fig leaf, and a cross-section of a fig on a white background

6. Figs

Figs are the fruit of the Ficus carica, a tree native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean and one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans (16).

They are small and shaped like a teardrop, with skin that ranges in color from bright yellow or green to dark purple. 

Inside, you’ll find soft, reddish-brown flesh speckled with small, crunchy seeds. It tastes sweet and honey-like, with a hint of fruitiness.

Dried figs are an excellent source of fiber, which helps prevent constipation and promotes healthy gut bacteria. There are about 4 grams of fiber in a single serving (5 figs) (17, 18).

Most grocery stores carry dried figs year-round, while fresh figs tend to be available during the summer months at farmers’ markets and specialty produce stores.

Dried figs can be paired with nuts and cheese for a delicious snack, or soaked and pureed to make an easy natural sweetener that can be added to oatmeal. Fresh figs are wonderful on their own or sliced in half and topped with goat cheese and honey.

Whole green finger limes on a white background with one open lime in the foreground showing the small juice-filled spheres.

7. Finger limes

Finger limes are a type of citrus fruit native to the rainforests of Australia (19). 

They are about the size of a finger (hence the name) and come in a variety of colors including green, yellow, pink, and purple (19).

Their pulp is sometimes compared to Pop Rocks candy — it is made up of small caviar-like spheres that pop in your mouth, releasing their sweet-tart juice.

These unique fruits are a rich source of a compound called limonene, which has a wide range of health benefits. It can help lower inflammation and protect against viruses (19, 20).

In the United States, finger limes are grown in California where they can be purchased at farmer’s markets, specialty produce stores, or online.

They pair well with fish, seafood, salads, and desserts. Try adding the pulp to cocktails and other beverages for a fun burst of flavor, or use the juice to make citrusy salad dressings.

Whole flaxseeds in a wooden spoon

8. Flax seeds

Flax seeds (also called linseed) are the small, flat seeds of the flax plant, a blue flowering herb that has been cultivated since ancient times (21).

They are a rich source of fiber, magnesium, and α-linolenic acid (ALA) — a type of omega-3 fatty acid that may improve heart health (22).

It can be difficult to absorb these nutrients due to the seeds’ hard outer shells, so it’s important to grind the seeds in order to fully take advantage of their health benefits (23).

Flax seeds are available whole or ground in the baking aisle at most grocery stores and online, while flaxseed oil is often found in the supplement section at health food stores. 

They have a mild, nutty flavor and are a great addition to breads, crackers, and even cookies. Sprinkle them on yogurt and oatmeal for a tasty fiber boost.

Fun fact: you can mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water to use as a vegan egg replacement.

Whole fried flounder on a white plate with onion, cabbage and potato

9. Flounder

Flounder is a species of flatfish, a family of fish known for having both eyes on the same side of their heads.

Its white flesh has a delicate texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with just about anything.

Flounder is very lean, with less than 3 grams per 4-ounce serving, and provides nearly 70% of the daily requirement for selenium (24).

It’s also lower in mercury than many other fish, making it a safe choice for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women (11).

Depending on where you live, grocery stores may carry fresh or frozen flounder. 

It can be broiled, steamed, or pan-fried, but flounder is especially delicious when breaded and baked with lemon and garlic butter. 

Organic Raw Cracked Wheat Freekeh in a Ceramic Bowl

10. Freekeh

Freekeh, pronounced “free-kuh,” is an ancient grain and a form of durum wheat that originated in the Middle East and North Africa. 

It is made using wheat that is harvested before it is fully ripe, while still green. The wheat stalks are then dried, set on fire (briefly), and rubbed to remove the burnt chaff.

This process gives the grain a unique flavor — smoky, earthy, and nutty — with a firm, chewy texture.

Freekeh is a whole grain and very high in fiber and protein. It has about 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein in each half-cup serving (26).

You’re most likely to find freekeh online or in the bulk bins at health food stores, although some grocery stores may also carry it.

Add cooked freekeh to grain bowls, soups, and salads, or season with fresh herbs and serve as a side dish.

Whole head of frisee on a white background

11. Frisée

Frisée (also known as curly endive) is a member of the chicory family, which includes other bitter, leafy vegetables like escarole and radicchio (27, 28).

Its leaves are bright green or pale yellow and narrow with jagged edges. They have a bitter, peppery flavor and a slight crunch.

Frisée is often enjoyed in salad, dressed with a red wine vinaigrette and topped with bacon and a poached egg.

It can also be added to sandwiches for extra flavor or paired with fruit and cheese as a tasty snack.

Look for it in the produce section at grocery stores and health food stores. It is sometimes included in packaged salad blends.

Two pairs of raw frog legs on a wooden cutting board with rosemary sprigs and black peppercorns

12. Frog legs

Frog legs are a popular dish in the southern United States as well as France and China.

They have a chewy texture and a mild flavor that some people describe as a cross between chicken and white fish or lobster.

Frog legs are often breaded and fried, but they can also be grilled or sauteed with butter.

One serving (about 4 legs) provides 206 calories, 17 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fat, including a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids (29).

Depending on where you live, you might be able to find frozen frog legs at your grocery store. They’re also available at some Asian food markets and specialty meat shops.

Whole green fuzzy melon next to a sliced fuzzy melon on a white background

13. Fuzzy melon

Fuzzy melon (also called mo gwa and hairy cucumber) is a type of gourd that originated in South Asia and is very popular in Chinese cuisine (30).

It gets its name from the fine, hairlike fuzz that covers its green skin before it matures. Inside, the creamy white flesh has a mild, slightly sweet flavor similar to zucchini (30).

The skin is edible but the hairy fibers should be removed by running a knife down the length of the vegetable before cooking. 

Look for fuzzy melons at Asian markets, farmer’s markets, and specialty produce stores.

In Asian dishes, fuzzy melon is often stuffed with pork, stir-fried with noodles and meat, or added to soups and stews.

Final Thoughts

From farro to fuzzy melon, there are plenty of delicious foods that start with the letter F.

We hope this list has inspired you to be adventurous and try some new foods, or to gain a new appreciation for some of the foods you already eat every day. 

Comment below to let us know which of these foods are your favorites, and how you use them in the kitchen!

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