We all know we're supposed to eat five servings a day, but how much do you really know about vitamin-rich veggies? Test your knowledge of the nutritional facts, origins, and pop culture personalities belonging to this diverse group of edibles sometimes called "dirt candy."
1. When George Bush Sr. became president, he said he would not eat any more of this vegetable:
b. brussels sprouts
2. Which type of potato contains the most starch?
a. red bliss
c. yukon gold
3. What color were the first cultivated carrots?
4. For about how many years will an asparagus plant produce spears?
5. The soup known as borscht is made from what brightly colored veggie?
6. How are green bell peppers and red bell peppers related?
a. green and red peppers are slightly different breeds
b. green peppers are mutant red peppers
c. green peppers are immature red peppers
7. Which of these vegetables contains a pheromone that attracts females?
8. What vegetable looks like a yellowish-white carrot?
9. Poi, a traditional starchy dish eaten in Hawaii, is made from what root vegetable?
10. The total annual production of this vegetable in the U.S. is almost 70 million pounds. They are very popular in Great Britain — they grow about six times as many of them as the U.S.
c. brussels sprouts
Check your Answers:
1. c, broccoli
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed, "I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli." In response, U.S. broccoli growers sent a 10-ton delivery of the vitamin-rich veggie directly to the White House.
2. b, russet
Russet potatoes have a high starch content, making them ideal for baking whole or in gratins, mashing for fluffy purees or gnocchi, and grating for pancakes. Also, they don't absorb oil very easily, making them great candidates for French fries.
3. c, purple
Carrots originated in Afghanistan in the 7th century and were purple with a yellow interior. In subsequent centuries, they also came in red, yellow, and white. Orange carrots didn't crop up until the 16th century, when the Dutch bred the red and yellow varieties to produce an orange version of this popular root vegetable.
4. b, 15
With proper care, an asparagus plant will produce its edible spears for 15 years without being replanted. On a good day, each nutrient-dense spear can grow up to 10 inches!
5. b, beets
Borscht is a deep purple soup of pureed beets that originated in Slavic countries, like Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine. Borscht can be eaten cold or hot and can be prepared thin and brothy or thick and substantial. It is often garnished with a dollop of sour cream.
6. c, green peppers are immature red peppers
The variety of pepper plant and the stage of ripeness determine the color and flavor of bell peppers. Green bell peppers are simply unripe red or yellow peppers. As a bell pepper ages, its flavor becomes more mellow and the vegetable develops different nutrients. Red bell peppers contain 11 times the beta carotene of green peppers.
7. a, celery
Scientists discovered that celery contains androsterone, a powerful hormone naturally released through male sweat glands that stimulates sexual arousal in women.
8. b, parsnip
Parsnips came to the United States from Europe in the 1600s, but they have never enjoyed a favored status among Americans. They resemble carrots in shape, but have a mild turnip/potato flavor and are sweet and slightly creamy when cooked.
9. a, taro
Poi is a traditional Hawaiian staple made from boiled taro root that's been pounded to a smooth, glutinous paste. Poi is very easily digested, making its minerals (calcium and phosphorus) easily absorbed.
10. c, brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts may have been growing in Belgium as early as the 1200’s. The form we are familiar with has been cultivated there since 1587. They came to America in the 1800’s and to California in the early 1900’s. There are less than 3000 acres on the California central coast that supply nearly all of the country’s Brussels sprouts needs from June through January.