Onions - These little veggies know how to make your cry. They bring tears to your eyes because of the sulfur content. When onions are cut open, they release sulfur fumes that react with the moisture in the eyes and create a mild form of sulfuric acid. The tear glands in the eyes respond by producing tears to flush the substance away. The trick to lessen these stinging vapors is by chilling the onions before cutting.
Brinjals - Also known as eggplants these are believed to have been originated in the Indian subcontinent, from here they have spread to Western Asia. It got its name from the common varieties grown in England, which were similar to shape and color of the hen’s egg. In the western- Mediterranean, the Arabic name, al-badinjan, evolved into Portuguese beringela. This name when taken southeast by Portuguese colonists, became brinjal. This name is now used globally.
Fennel- Fennel has been used since ancient times to ward off the evil spirits while the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Romans believed that it conveyed longevity, courage, and strength. Sweet fennel oil is used as a digestive aid. However, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Beets - The wild beet is thought to have spread from the shores of northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast to the Caspian Sea. Earlier only the leaves were consumed. The Romans first discovered and cooked the taproot. It was in the 15th century that the beets made its debut in the recipe books in England. The vegetable became famous in 1975 when the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the US’s Apollo 18 astronauts with a meal of beet soup that was cooked in the zero gravity of space.
Carrots - During the World War II, British children would very often eat the humble carrot as the substitute for the fruit that could no longer be obtained. The British government read posters with the slogan ‘Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in the blackout.’
Stay tuned for more facts on those lovely veggies in your garden!