Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Am I eating Vegetables - Or Fruits??


I love my vegetable garden, and I suspect you enjoy yours too. We eat one or two meals a day from our garden, and my wife Araksya is an outstanding cook when it comes to using fresh garden produce.
Sometimes I'll look at a meal with 6 or 8 items from the garden and think how great it is to have such a wide variety of vegetables to eat.

But I was reminded last week that many things we consider vegetables are really fruits, botanically speaking! Let me give you a list of the items from a typical garden that are actually fruits, rather than vegetables - even though we eat them as the main part of the meal, rather than for dessert.

Are you ready for this? Garden fruits actually include Peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, squash, and tomatoes.

While I'm classifying things, let's distinguish some categories of vegetables, as well:

Leaf Crops - Those whose leaves we eat include basil, brussels sprouts, beet greens, cabbage, chard, cilantro, endive, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, spinach, turnip greens, and watercress.

Root Crops - We eat the roots of beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and turnips. And we eat tubers of potatoes and yams.

Seed Crops - We eat the seeds of several kinds of beans, corn, peas, pumpkins, and sunflowers. And we eat the seed pods of chili peppers, green beans, okra, snap peas, snow peas, and wax beans.

Stem Crops - We eat the stems of asparagus, celery, leeks, green onions, and rhubarb.

Flower Crops - We even eat the flowers of artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower. And in places like Japan people prize the squash flowers, and eat the petals - hopefully after they are pollinated.

Bulb Crops - Let's not forget the bulbs of onions and garlic - these are used more often in our own family garden cooking than just about anything else.

Did I forget to list your favorites? As you put your garden to bed for the winter, begin to plan now for the vegetables and fruit you want to grow and eat next spring.

Good Growing,

Jim Kennard

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