The classic 1947 French tale “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown, tells the story of three hungry soldiers visiting a village in search of food. When the soldiers were denied food by the villagers, they set about making a large pot of soup with three stones and water. The soldiers wondered if the soup might not be better with a few carrots. Hence, the villagers returned with an apron full of carrots. And what about, say, some cabbage… potatoes… barley?
The villagers contributed step by step, eventually turning that pot of stones into a wonderful meal, along with bread and cider, for the whole village.
I love that story, as it highlights how a few rustic ingredients from the garden can nourish the mind, body and soul. After all, is there anything quite as good as a hearty, vegetable-based soup? The story also shares the message of how you can make magic with ingredients that you have on hand.
For the article, I spoke with Philip Simon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin who first introduced the anthocyanin-packed purple carrot in 1992. One of the best things I learned from my talk with Dr. Simon is that with a little bit of time and patience we can recreate the process at home! This can be a great activity for kids and adults alike.
The first step in the plant breeding process is to get the vegetables to flower. For most vegetables such as peppers or squash, flowers are the norm (think, stuffed squash blossoms). For carrots and other root vegetables, flowering is a bit more involved. They only flower after being exposed to cold. So, here’s what you do:
Step 1: Buy a bunch of carrots with the green tops on; chose both purple and orange.
Americans need to add some pizzazz to our plates, specifically more colorful vegetables – red, green and orange according to a new report by the USDA. These veggies are important for overall health and in your cancer-fighting diet. Their low calories help with weight control and potent phytochemicals like carotenoids, vitamin C and flavonoids help keep cells healthy.
The report says we’re now eating about 1/4 cup daily per 1000 calories of these vegetables, far below the recommendation. The US Dietary Guidelines say you should eat at least double that. If you’re a woman you need at least 3/4 to 1 cup daily, men need at least 1 – 1 1/2 cups every day.