Early vegetables - healthy or not?

Text: Mariola Weindich-Mašek, photos: Anna Plaszczyk

5 April 2018

Fresh, new, robust, colourful and fragrant - early vegetables. After the winter we dream about something light, healthy and fresh to eat. But are early vegetables always as healthy as we think?

The most important, and also the smartest principle is to collect vegetables at the right time for them. Healthy and ready to eat are, after all, only after the end of the vegetation period. Vegetables harvested earlier than they should, can accumulate a lot of substances dangerous for a human being, because they have not yet completed a cycle of vegetation, and thus – they have not got rid of fertilizers and other substances.Today, unfortunately, supermarkets as well as bazaars can not give us any guarantee of quality. It is difficult to find any information where vegetables come from and how they were fertilized!

Its hard to argue that early vegetables are harmful, because they absorb many valuable minerals from the soil. However, you should be aware that they absorb large amounts of chemicals especially when they are excessively fertilized. The early vegetables are fertilized with nitrates. These compounds are simplified in the plant to nitrites, which are later converted into carcinogenic nitrosamines. The key to buy wisely, is the knowledge of the vegetables and fruits vegetation period. It is good to know more about what and when ripens and buy vegetables from a good, recommended source:

Tomatoes - from June to September, apart from this period they are grown in greenhouses;
Cucumber - from June to September;
Lettuce – seeding in April-September, harvesting 2 months after seeding;
Radish - can be seeded in March, harvested after about 30 days;
Spring onion -seeding in March-April, harvesting at the end of July.

If you do want healthy vegetables - think about planting them on your balconies and windowsills. For some time in OBI stores, there is a line called "mini garden" that consists of 25 different plants to grow at home, on windowsills or balconies.