LOS ANGELES — Melissa’s/World Variety Produce has launched its third cookbook aimed at encouraging consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables.

“Melissa’s 50 Best Plants on the Planet: The Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes,” was introduced at a holiday/launch party for food bloggers and media at the company’s headquarters Dec. 14.

Melissa's third cookbook dense with nutritionThe book was written by Cathy Thomas and the produce experts and chefs at Melissa’s. Thomas has logged more than 20 years as food editor of the Orange County (Calif.) Register.

“It’s not necessarily a diet book,” Thomas said, “it’s a diet for feeling good.”

The work is an alphabetized encyclopedia with recipes and information about the 50 most nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables along with tips on how to buy, store and use them.

Dishes made from some of the recipes, such as grilled tomato salsa, grilled mozzarella-stuffed chard and couscous with tangerines, were served at the kickoff event.

Rankings for the fruits and vegetables were based on a 100-point scale. Asparagus came out on top of the vegetable category with a score of 94, and blackberries were the most nutrient-dense fruit, with a score of 74, said Robert Schueller, Melissa’s director of public relations.

“We feel America doesn’t know enough about produce,” Schueller said, “so we decided to do this third book.”

He said he hopes the book will encourage consumers to work more fruits and vegetables into their diets.

Published by Chronicle Publishing, the book now is available exclusively in a hardbound cover from Melissa’s for $35. A $30 softbound edition will be distributed nationally through all major U.S. booksellers by April. It also is available in the produce departments of Carson, Calif.-based Bristol Farms supermarkets.

The company’s other books are “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic produce” and “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce.”