Of baby vegetables and ancient myths

Reading time: 4 minutes

If it’s half-baked, it doesn’t make it to the plate. And the older we get, the more myths occur to us. What are we talking about? About vegetables. We are shedding light on some of the myths, mistakes and lore surrounding Carrots & Co.


The eternal image problem of canned vegetables

Veggies in a can? Not going into the bag, say many. Yet canned vegetables are much better than their reputation. Not to mention that they seem to keep an eternity. And that’s not all. A procedure at the University of Hohenheim makes the vegetables in cans even more healthful, preserving more nutrients by omitting the covering liquid. This not only lightens the weight of the can, it preserves nutrients. That would have set well with Napoleon, who significantly contributed to the success of the can. He offered a full 12,000 francs to anyone who could solve the problem of feeding his soldiers during times of war. François Nicolas Appert, a cook and pastry chef, finally came upon the idea of the can, in which food was heated to 100 degrees Celsius and sealed airtight. Perfect for soldiers, because edibles could now be preserved for a long time.

Fresh, fresher, deep-frozen food

So what about frozen vegetables? No problem, say scientists. Nowadays, flash freezing has been perfected to the point of preserving many vitamins and minerals. Even more than in canned vegetables and vegetables sitting out yet to be prepared. Which is not to say that fresh vegetables directly from the field are less healthful. Deep-frozen carrots are especially popular because they require no snipping and can be tossed right into the pot.

Carrots, horseradish and other myths

One myth associated with carrots, however, boils away upon closer inspection: that the orange veggie is good for eyesight. Although the vitamin A contained in carrots is good for the eyes, it cannot remedy debility of sight. Vitamin A is required, among other things, for the eyes to “work”. It is essential for the retina, which transforms light into nerve impulses for our brains. But we are denied X-ray vision, as well as bulging muscles from eating spinach.


Super food spinach

Whatever Popeye was eating, it was definitely not spinach. There is no vegetable, no natural substance in the world with such a muscle-building effect. We assume that it was simply his love for Olive Oyl that gave him his great strength. Also not true, unfortunately, is the high iron content of spinach. This legend seems to have originated with a simple, misplaced comma. It is assumed that a food analyst doing research moved the comma one place to the right. Spinach thereby gained ten times the iron that it actually contains. Which does not mean that spinach should immediately be scratched off of the grocery list – quite the contrary. Spinach from the deep freeze, in fact, is actually a bit richer in vitamins than its fresh relative.


Horseradish, the miracle healer

Carrots do not heal debility of sight, and spinach doesn’t add muscle mass, but what about horseradish? After all horseradish, as well as ginger, are said to be regular miracle healers for colds and such. And that is actually true. Horseradish contains mustard oil, which releases expectorant and antibacterial substances. Anyone struggling with a cold or sinusitis at these low temperatures can confidently reach for the horseradish.


The baby vegetable crux

There are many myths surrounding vegetables. Some are true, and some are not. But one thing is sure: whether from the can, the deep freeze or fresh off the farm, vegetables are healthy and belong on every plate, but that’s certainly nothing new. So how do we get our young sprouts to eat their veggies?

Tip 1: The adventure story

By using different types of vegetables, we can tell exciting stories on the plates of our little ones. With a bit of imagination, broccoli can look like a tree. The perfect starting signal for a funny or thrilling story – the broccoli forest does not limit the imagination…

Tip 2: The veggie screen

Parents know full well: the little ones want to eat what’s on the big ones’ plates. Since mom and dad also like to occasionally devour an Asian stir-fry instead of veggies, a screen must be erected on the plate. Broccoli is perfect for this. The offspring thinks that everyone has broccoli on their plates. Et voilà: The “grown-up food” can be tucked into without the annoyance of hearing the kids shout, “I want some too”.

Tip 3: Veggie art

Vegetable art is especially suited to parents with a creative vein. With the flick of a wrist, corn and peas become Jackson Pollock-like works of art, framed by beans.

The little ones quickly become big veggie fans who don’t turn their noses up to canned or deep-frozen vegetables. Enjoy!

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