Gardening Articles: Health :: Health

Super-Nutritious Vegetables (page 3 of 3)

by Deborah Wechsler

Peppers, Potatoes, and Vitamin C

Peppers, Potatoes, and Vitamin C

Peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens are all excellent sources of vitamin C. The champs, however, are ripe peppers. They have three times the vitamin C of any citrus. Among these peppers, yellow wax or banana peppers-hot or sweet-have the most vitamin C.

'Sweet Banana' (72t days). This widely adapted variety is the most popular of the banana peppers. It produces 6-inch tapered yellow peppers that turn red at maturity.

'Hungarian Hot Wax' (70t to 80t days). These medium-hot, 8-inch peppers can be used at their canary yellow stage, or when red and fully mature.

Though potatoes are only a so-so source of vitamin C, they can be a major source for those whose consists of burgers, fries, and sodas. It's been said that if it weren't for the vitamin C in potatoes, a lot of Americans would have scurvy!

'Ranger Russet' is a new processing potato that was developed by USDA potato breeder Joe Pavek at the Aberdeen Research Station in Idaho. Intended for commercial growers, it has about twice the vitamin C of an average potato. A close runner-up nutritionally, and much more practical for home gardeners to grow, is 'Butte', which is one of the parents of 'Ranger Russet'.

'Butte' potato (90 to 100 days). This late-maturing, high-yielding russet baking potato has medium to large tubers and dry, white flesh. Compared with ordinary russets, it is 50 percent higher in vitamin C and 20 percent higher in proteins.

Hyping vegetables with vitamins can be problematic. Vitamin content is influenced by variations in growing conditions, time to maturity, post-harvest handling, and food preparation. The vitamin levels claimed for vegetables usually assume optimum conditions. Don't forget, too, the best way to be sure you're getting enough vitamins: eat more kinds of more vegetables more often.

Deborah Wechsler lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Photography by National Gardening Association.

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