Gray Foods: All You Need to Know!

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Gray Food

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Hi, I am Chef Zara. In this post, I will guide you through Gray Food.

I love exploring new foods and recipes and cooking with friends and family. One of the most common questions that I often get is for cookbook recommendations. I have created this guide for friends, family, and new friends alike. I hope that you enjoy our site.

What Exactly is Gray Foods?

For most of us, the idea of gray foods has only been brought to our attention in recent years thanks to popular media, such as movies and television shows. But what exactly are gray foods? Are there any? What makes them gray? And why do they matter? 

This article will explain all you need to know about gray foods, including the different types of gray foods, why gray foods are essential, and how gray foods can help you live your best life!

You can’t miss our post about Gray Foods, read everything you need to learn!

Do Gray Foods Exist?

It all depends on who you ask. Black sesame ice cream exists, so why not gray? But as far as research has shown, colorblind people don’t have any different opinion from anyone else about what color these fruits or vegetables are supposed to be. 

So technically speaking, yes! But it’s all just a matter of perspective, so it doesn’t matter which answer you prefer to go with- do gray foods exist or not- since the truth is that they both do!

How Does Food Become Gray?

What gives the food color results from compounds in plant or animal cells. These compounds are chlorophyll, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids. For example, plants have chlorophyll which gives them a green hue. 

Other pigments give other colors to fruit and vegetables, such as blackberries, which are red because they contain flavonoids that are purple. 

After blackberries are fully ripened, they undergo a chemical oxidation process that changes their color, often making them appear purple and lowering the fruit’s vitamin A levels. 

After blueberries are fully ripened, they go through a process of carotene conversion to the lycopene, which causes them to change their color from light purple to deep orange or yellow-orange. 

One common reason for gray colors in plants is the presence of anthocyanins. These colors are present in all shades of pink, purple, blue, or red berries, like raspberries or strawberries—a reduction in chloroplasts causes, at other times, gray colors in plants.

Can Gray Foods Be As Healthy As Other Foods?

Yes, they can. It has been found that gray foods are among the most nutritious foods on earth due to their higher nutrient density. However, it is essential to note that they also have a higher fat and sugar content. 

Therefore, the best way to reap their health benefits is to eat them in moderation and to include them in a diet rich in fruits like yellow dragon fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins. 

Foods such as seafood, pork chops, eggs, mushrooms, and avocados contain many vitamins and minerals that may improve our brain function and decrease our risk of cancer and heart disease. 

These foods commonly contain Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B12, and folate. In addition, many vitamins and minerals can be found in gray foods, including seafood, pork chops, eggs, mushrooms, and avocados.

Avocados, for instance, contain almost 20 essential nutrients, including oleic acid, which lowers cholesterol levels and may prevent strokes and coronary artery disease. However, there are much better choices than eating avocado daily if you want extra nutritional benefits since your body needs different nutrients.

Categories of Gray Food

There are so many types of gray foods, and it can be hard to know where to start. You may have heard of some common ones, but other more obscure ones like huitlacoche. Here is a list of the most common types of gray foods and the foods they are commonly found in.

  • The first category is plants and fungi; this includes mushrooms, truffles, escargot, and huitlacoche (corn smut).

  • The second type of gray food is animal products; this includes oysters, mussels, anchovies, and even chicken feet.

  • Fish and seafood comprise the third category: fish sauce, salted fish sauce, or caviar.

  • Lastly, there are dairy products which include goat cheese as well as blue cheese. You may have seen these at your local grocery store or restaurant.


Besides being packed with protein and vitamin D, mushrooms come in various colors. The gray oyster mushroom, for example, has a white flesh that can be used to make vegetarian dishes. Usually available from November through February, the Gray Oyster Mushroom can be either fresh or canned and is mild in flavor.

This is best prepared in olive oil with garlic, butter, Celtic sea salt, and pepper. You can find gray mushrooms on dead trees worldwide, so don’t let the rainy season stop you!

Truffles Plant

Truffles are fungi that grow underground and have a strong, nutty-tasting smell. These truffles can be harvested and eaten fresh, but they must be cooked before being consumed because they are poisonous when raw. 

The fruiting body of this plant is edible, while its roots are not! It’s possible to buy frozen Truffle Plants from specialty stores to have your harvest. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between this species and the actual truffle, look at the color: if it’s black with white dots, it’s not a real truffle; it’s just a relative! 


This appetizer of french descent is significantly considered free of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database record shows that one 3-ounce serving of snails contains about 76 calories. 

Snails are a good source of lean protein. Although they have no fiber, they supply 14 grams per serving and provide other essential nutrients our body needs.

As healthy as snails are, it’s notable that the ingredients used to cook them can alter your meal’s nutritional value and components.

Corn Smut

Otherwise referred to as fungus, Mexican truffle, and huitlacoche. It is simply a plant disease that grows on the ears of corn around the kernels. It’s a swollen, gray thickness resembling river stones.

Huitlacoche is predominantly seen in the corn season in the rainy months between May and November. They can be purchased at select Mexican food stores. It usually comes frozen in a jar or can. 

Storing huitlacoche is best advised in fridges, just like you would keep fresh mushrooms. However, it’s important to note that it has a low shelf life, so it should be used as quickly as possible after plucking. 

Once the cans and jars have been opened, they can be used for about a week, provided it stays refrigerated. Huitlacoche is technically veggies, so they can be used raw. It can be used alongside chicken, cheese, beef, and, ironically, even more corn; they are a great alternative to mushrooms.

Salted Plums

Salted plums are gray, juicy, and sweet or sour in Mexico and China. They keep your body strong, support a healthy immune system, and help maintain regular bowel movements.

Salted plums can make weight loss easier since they take longer to digest. In addition, other cultures value salted plums for their perceived health benefits. For example, many Japanese eat these to improve their athletic and fighting skills.


These are small shellfish often sold in their shells. The popular types are blue or European mussels. They have shiny, sleek shells and tender, very nutritious flesh. Mussels are wide-range feeders, much like oyster feeders, and must be gathered from unpolluted waters, hence why most mussels sold in supermarkets and fish stores are farmed.

Fresh mussels are mostly available around October to March, but you can buy mussels in their shells year-round. Likewise, you can also buy them frozen, smoked, or bottled in a mix of brine or vinegar. While shopping for mussels, it is best to avoid chipped, broken, or damaged shells. 


Caviar, in simpler terms, is the roe, or eggs, of a range of varieties of sturgeon fish. The four most common types of caviar are Almas, Beluga, Osciètre, and Sévruga. They have vast differences in size, color, and flavor, which are responsible for the variance in the cost and value of each caviar.

Appenzeller Cheese

Technically known as Alpine cheese, the Appenzeller variety of cheese is first documented 700 years ago in the Swiss Alps in the Appenzeller region.

This kind of cheese is typically made of hard cow’s milk but has the aroma and taste of fruits or nuts. Appenzeller is a well-known name. Thus, its taste may be stronger or weaker, depending on the ingredients.

Despite its high sodium content, Appenzeller cheese is rich in calories, vitamin A, vitamin B12, valine, isoleucine, calcium, and L-tryptophan.


Eggplant or aubergine provides fiber and a range of nutrients. It also contains other vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they are a source of phenolic compounds acting as antioxidants. The presence of Polyphenols in eggplants helps protect the body from cancer.

Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid are effective for cellular protection and preventing cell diseases. 

Nasunin helps transport nutrients into cells and move waste out. ‘Lab experiments have indicated that Nasunin may reduce the breakdown of fats in the brain, a process that can cause cell damage. Additionally, Eggplants contain fiber and are low in calories.

Charleston Gray Watermelon

It is a vast, elongated melon with a greenish-gray rind and bright red flesh, and the rind is usually used to make pickles.

Only one watermelon contains as much lycopene as a tomato. A rich source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, Charleston is also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cardiovascular diseases.

Earl Gray Macarons

If you add earl gray custard to macarons, you’ll have a fantastic breakfast that will seem like a dream all day. Together with buttercream, Earl Gray custard produces a smooth, bold flavor.

You can use the recipe for different flavor varieties by adding more custard than required, and you can use Earl Grey custard for desserts such as creams, cupcakes, and more.

Earl gray custard is made by using milk and tea leaves. So in the finished product are the health benefits of milk and the nutritional components of earl gray tea leaves.

Gray Owl Cheese

Dark and wrinkly but firm on the inside, gray owl cheese is a surface-ripened goat’s milk cheese.

Silky-smooth gray owl cheese is fairly dense but tastes sweet with a rich aroma when eaten. It’s one-of-a-kind that’s not worth missing.

Gray owl cheese, weighing about 30 grams, has about 90 calories per serving and contains about 4% carbs, 26% protein, and 69% fat.

Wood Apple

An elephant apple, also known as a wood apple, is a fruit in South Asia with a gray exterior and brown flesh with a strong flavor and aroma. 

A unique fruit, wood apples are a rich source of crude fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and various minerals. 

As a result, superfruits have many health benefits, including improvements to organ movement, blood purification, metabolism, blood sugar control, muscle repair, and digestion.

Final Thoughts

Gray foods are gradually gaining as much general recognition as they were meant to be, considering that people’s level of obscurity and limited knowledge about them has been expanded. Imagine the sweet taste of gray ice cream, gray cake pops, gray flesh, crisp and salty flavor of gray salt, gray anchovies, gray vegetable, gray hubbard squash, gray edible mushrooms, and even a gray wedding cake, it sounds strange, but it must be delicious!

It is gradually becoming clear that they are as nutritious and tasty as the more common light meals. If properly harnessed, they hold even certain health gains as medically proven in recent times.

The best way to understand gray foods is to understand what makes a food good or bad. Considering whether a portion of food has any nutritional value is a simple way to think about it. Most foods that have no nutritional value whatsoever aren’t good for you.

However, some food types do not provide enough nutrition to be healthy. In that case, gray foods come into play. These foods may still be beneficial but don’t quite cut compared to bad foods. 

In the gray area between good and bad, gray food is considered a food that is not inherently unhealthy but not as healthy as other foods. If you have a little guidance, you can figure out this complicated system for deciding what to eat. You don’t need to choose between these foods because they all provide benefits.

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Chef Zara is the founder and chief editor for Bakeaholic. She loves bringing smiles to people with the delicious visuals, smells, and tastes of food. Chef Zara's passion for baking started at a very young age, and she has never looked back since. She enjoys experimenting with different flavors and combinations, and takes great pride in creating unique recipes that will tantalize your taste buds. When she’s not whipping up something delectable in the kitchen, Chef Zara can be found exploring new culinary delights around the world. Chef Zara holds a Associate of Arts and Sciences from Kendall College and is a sought after private chef. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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