The word verdura in Italian is interesting because it is normally used as a singular collective noun, referring to the category vegetables as a whole, or more specifically, the parts of a vegetable plant that can be used in human nutrition.
For example, if you say La verdura fa molto bene alla salute, you are saying that vegetables as a food group are good for your health.
Questo negozio vende frutta e verdura.
This shop sells fruit and vegetables.
That being said, verdura can occasionally translate as the singular vegetable. Alternatively you can use the close synonym ortaggio.
La patata è la verdura / l’ortaggio più popolare in Inghilterra.
The potato is the most popular vegetable in England.
Despite being a collective noun, verdura can also be used in its plural form, verdure, when talking about a number of vegetables.
Queste verdure sono marce!
These vegetables are rotten!
Some popular vegetables in Italy include:
- pomodoro = tomato
- cipolla = onion
- lattuga = lettuce
- patata = potato
- carota = carrot
- peperone = pepper
- zucchina = zucchini
- melanzana = eggplant
- broccolo = broccoli
- cetriolo = cucumber
- finocchio = fennel
- sedano = celery
A greengrocer is known as either a fruttivendolo or an ortolano. The latter also translates as market gardener or horticulturalist.
Below are some common words and expressions that feature the word verdura:
- passato di verdura = vegetable puree
- verdura cruda = raw vegetables
- verdura cotta = cooked vegetables
- verdura a foglia verde = green vegetables
- verdura fresca = fresh vegetables
- verdura biologica = organic vegetables
Another translation for vegetable in Italian is vegetale, which is used as an adjective to describe something that is plant-based. For example, vegetable stock is known as brodo vegetale. Vegetale as a noun is another word for plant (pianta).
Finally, verdura can also refer to the green colour of vegetation (verde means green in Italian).