Why Are Vegetables Becoming So Popular?
Historically, American dinner plates have featured meat as its mainstay/star, with vegetables as tepid, secondary supporting players. Now, the balance of power on the plate is shifting as fresh, homegrown vegetables take center stage. Recent “food trend” studies show that more people are making vegetables the main course of their meals. Although the interest in healthy eating extends to all age groups, millennials seem to be driving this healthful food trend. Data from the NPD Group suggests that people younger than 50 are eating 53 percent more fresh vegetables compared with young adults 15 years ago, and that preference is likely to continue as they age. In support of this trend, professional chefs, bloggers, restaurants and home cooks and home gardeners are embracing the flavors of a vast variety of vegetables, from common to exotic. Episodes of the popular “Iron Chef” television show feature vegetable-centric meals. The once-meat-obsessed populace is realizing that vegetables actually taste good. Especially when fresh, in season, and carefully prepared. You’ll see that many restaurants now offer vegetable-based entrees that have inspired home cooks to explore the healthy and delicious potential of making fresh vegetables a main course. The best source of fresh vegetables is a home garden or local farm stand. Some reasons driving the shift in popularity of vegetables over meat include: – Vine-Ripened, great taste. Homegrown vegetables have a home field advantage when it comes to flavor because they stay on the vine to fully ripen and are harvested just before eating. Store bought veggies are often harvested before they’re fully ripe, so they don’t spoil on the journey to the store. Once picked from the vine, sugars begin to turn to starch-and that homegrown sweetness dissipates.
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but research backs it up. In a study of over 120,000, consumption of plant protein is associated with longer life compared with animal protein consumption. Eating more vegetables and less meat can have a positive effect on the environment. Data suggests that eating more vegetables could have a greater impact on reducing one’s carbon footprint than giving up a car! As vegetables grow in popularity and push meat from the center of the plate, more people are interested not only in eating more vegetables, but eating locally grown vegetables – hey, what’s more local than growing your own veggies at home? Growing vegetables at home is convenient, satisfying, a money-saver, and they’ll taste better, too! Fortunately for the home gardener, professional growers make it easy to grow nutritious and delicious vegetables at home. A typical greenhouse grower can offer more than 250 varieties of vegetable, herb, and fruit plants, ranging from traditional favorites to new and different choices. Some easy-to-grow options for your veggie main course include hearty tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. The plants are grown a truck-ride away from most retailers such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Don’t worry if you have little outdoor space, patio-ready caged varieties and combo pots are available as great options for small spaces. If you are planting seedlings one of the easiest ways to make the perfect size hole for the roots is to use an item made by Tech Team https://techteamproducts.com/. It is their item #777 9”x3” spiral auger drill bit https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S385BW7/ref=sr_1_197?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384841&s=gateway&sr=8-197 or you can use their 24” x 3” #778 Auger https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S386MWG/ref=sr_1_53?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384749&s=gateway&sr=8-53. Not only are these garden tools perfect for planting your seedlings, tulip bulbs, and daffodils, they do a great job aerating your compost heap. Curious home gardeners interested in healthy eating can enjoy experimenting with vegetables to replace meat. For a new take on burgers, try substituting squash. Veggie burgers, like their meat-based counterparts, can be made in advance, frozen in patties, and pulled out for easy reheating as a healthy burger choice on a busy night. Try putting a new spin on salad, substituting Swiss chard for a fresh, peppy taste in lieu of such standbys as lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Time to season your homegrown veggies? Herb plants seasoning is only a snip away with a quick trip to your garden plot or pot. For more information do a Hey Siri or Hey Alexa search for information on varieties along with planting tips, tending, troubleshooting, harvesting, and delicious recipes!