Don’t forget to eat your vegetables.

Your parents were right

Your parents probably told you to eat your vegetables. Over and over again. You knew they were right, and hopefully you came to love them. Vegetables that is, I’m sure you love your parents too. It’s true, vegetables are high in vitamins, nutrients, and complex carbohydrates. Not to mention fiber. That’s one you probably took for granted as a youngster. Still, it seems that getting vegetables in our diets can seem challenging. In an age of fast foods and faster schedules we may not get the veggies we need.

A woman stands in the kitchen cutting vegetables as her daughters stand by and observes
Teaching children about the health virtues of vegetable may increase their consumption of them in life. Photo by IFAS Communications
Finding them fresh

We all know fresh veggies are the best. We can’t always find them but it’s good to try. Buying them at the local produce stand or even your local grocer is where most people start. Its fairly fresh but it doesn’t necessarily assure local. Vegetables ship across state and even country lines at a fairly fast rate. Often fruits like tomatoes, that continue ripening after they are harvested, are picked early, often green, and shipped. They can be gassed on arrival of the destination to continue the ripening process. These fruits, may not have developed fully, may begin to look ripe, but may never develop the flavors of naturally ripening fruits. Other vegetable are shipped in refrigerated trucks to prolong freshness. Still this is high on my list when it comes to sourcing vegetables.

Frozen vegetables are a convenient way to make sure we have plenty of vegetables around when getting ready to prepare our food. Busy schedules require back-up and frozen vegetable can fill that need. Vegetables are generally frozen very shortly after they are harvested and washed. This is a convenient and still healthy way to add needed vegetables into our diets.

A little boy laughs as he stands in a squash field cradling a freshly cut zucchini
Even the little ones will find joy in picking fresh vegetables. Photo by IFAS Communications

Canned vegetable, although my last choice, are also convenient. Having also been cleaned and processed quickly after being picked, they often retain most of their nutrition and definitely are a handy way to store your food long term. Pay attention to the label though, sodium and even sugar might be added at canning. I avoid these if possible, when other choices are available. If not, you can rinse these thoroughly after removing them from the can to eliminate some of the unwanted additives.

The Freshest Vegetables

There is no fresher vegetable than those that you grow yourself. There is also very few things more rewarding than walking out your door and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables to be brought in and eaten. Vegetables can be grown in pots, specially made raised beds, or simply within your landscape where space allows. Tomatoes can be harvested at perfection and all aspects of their culture controlled.To know your food is to grow your food.

Learning the Basics

If you want to learn the basics to get you started growing your own vegetables, I invite you to come to my January 11th Vegetable Gardening Workshop in Sebring, Florida. You’ll receive a 100 page booklet and take home seeds from our seed swap. For more information about the Workshop and how to register, Click here.

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Highlands County Master Gardener Class starts January 25th. Email me to learn more.

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david austin
Posted: December 27, 2019

Category: Agriculture, Crops, Fruits & Vegetables, Health & Nutrition, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension,
Tags: Agriculture, Gardening, Highlands County, Highlands Horticulture Digest, Hometown Gardener, Master Gardeners, Vegetable, Vegetables

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