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Nutritional Guide


Dear Gardener,

These top-quality vegetables and fruits coming from your backyard not only taste terrific, but do wonders for your health. Hundreds of studies world-wide draw the same conclusion: people who eat the most vegetables and fruits have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic ills than those who eat the least. Discoveries of powerful disease-fighting compounds in vegetables and fruits are making headlines all the time.

You’ve been reading those headlines, and asking us about the nutritional content of vegetables and fruits. In response to a huge volume of requests, we’re introducing the Rainbow Garden. This simple, clear approach to garden planning allows you to take advantage of the latest nutrition discoveries. You’ll wind up with a garden that gives you the full complement of protective vegetables and fruits.

Happy-and-healthful-gardening!

Yours,

George Ball, Jr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
W. Atlee Burpee


Click on a link below to go directly to the color category you prefer.

GREEN:
They are top-notch sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, compounds linked to protection from eye disease. Many of these foods are also rich in beta-carotene, folic acid and minerals.

DEEP YELLOW/ORANGE-FLESHED:
Their beautiful color comes courtesy of Beta-carotene, the antioxidant linked to decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.

DEEP RED/PURPLE:
Foods in this category are rich in Anthocyanins which research has shown can help prevent cancer and reduce the formation of artery-clogging plaque (a cause of heart disease).

LIGHT GREEN/WHITE:
Ultra-protective foods that fall under this category contain compounds which help destroy cancer-causing agents.

IN A CATEGORY OF THEIR OWN:
A few Burpee plants didn't fit into any of these categories, but are still nutrition powerhouses.

Click Here to go to the Nutrition Guide Glossary.

GREEN
They are top-notch sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, compounds linked to protection from eye disease. Many of these foods are also rich in beta-carotene, folic acid and minerals.
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
ARTICHOKES
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One choke has 6 1/2 g of fiber (even after trimming the tough stuff) and a powerful cancer-fighter called silymarin. Get an early start; plant indoors 8-10 weeks before bringing them outside.
ARUGULA
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Arugula gets its lively sharp taste from Indoles which detoxify cancer-causing chemicals. A breeze to grow; ready to harvest in 30-40 days from seed.
ASPARAGUS
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Exceptionally rich in Folic acid, with 65% the Daily Value (DV) per cup. Contain saponins, compounds that fight cancer and lower blood cholesterol. Be patient; it takes two to three years to get the full harvest. Consider ordering Burpee's one-year-old roots for an earlier harvest.
BEANS, LIMA
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A whopping 6 1/2 g of fibre is just half a cup cooked plus 10% the Daily Value for two heart-protecting minerals: copper and magnesium. They like it hot; germinate in warm soil and plant when you're assured of warm weather.
BROCCOLI
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Broccoli is the best source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane, plus 60% the DV of vitamin C in just a half cup cooked. Broccoli doesn't like the intense summer heat, so plan for a spring or fall crop. Or both!
BRUSSELS SPROUTS
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Eating brussels sprouts may decrease lung and colon cancer, according to research. Active ingredients; Indoles and vitamin C (81% the DV in a half cup cooked). Frost or cool weather sweetens brussels sprouts, so leave them on the stalk when that first frost hits.
GREEN BEANS
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A good source of fiber, and sprinkled with nearly every vitamin and mineral. All are rich in bone-preserving vitamin K, cancer-fighting Indoles and vitamin C. Pick as soon as they're ready and keep picking! If you don't, they'll go to seed and stop producing.
GREENS
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(kale, Swiss chard, turnip, collard)
Collards are high in calcium (11% the DV in a half cup cooked). Make them tender by cutting off the tough stem section, then steam lightly before sauteing or stir-frying.
LETTUCE
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2 cups of Romaine cover 45% the DV for vitamin C. A cinch to grow from seed, they like it cooler, so count on a spring and fall crop.
PEAS
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(snap or snowpeas)
An impressive 64% the DV for vitamn C in just a half cup. So tender and sweet they don't really need cooking; just throw them in a minute or two before turning the heat off.
PEPPERS, SWEET
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Red and yellow are extra-rich in vitamin C (144% the DV). All colors: the older they get, the richer in C. If left on the vine, a green pepper will turn red.
PEPPERS, HOT
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Capsaicin, the Antioxidant compound that gives these peppers their fire, battles both heart disease and cancer and is used as a topical pain reliever. To avoid tingling fingers, wear rubber gloves when plucking and chopping.
SPINACH
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Packed with two heart-savers; magnesium (20% the DV) and Folic acid (33% the DV) in a half cup cooked. The earlier you plant, the more crop you get. Work around its "day-length sensitivity" (goes to seed during the long days of summer) by planting in March and/or August.
H E R B S    
BASIL
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Contains monoterpenoids, compounds which detoxify cancer-causing chemicals and kill tumor cells. Keep nipping off the flowers and you'll get more basil leaves.
CHIVES
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Like onions and garlic, chives contain health-promoting Allylic Sulfur Compounds. Best used fresh, not cooked. Lends a milder taste than onions to sauces and garnishes.
DILL
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Contains limonene, which helps prevent cancer by disarming cancer-causing chemicals. Plant thickly, do not thin; stems help each other stand up.
MINT
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Contains menthol, which fights the inflammation that causes muscle and arthritis pain and kills oral bacteria that cause dental plaque. Steep a few sprigs in boiling water for mint tea, use a 1:4 mint to parsley ratio in tabbouleh.
OREGANO
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Contains monoterpenes, which help prevent cancer by detoxifying cancer-causing chemicals. Watch your portions, a little goes a long way with this potent herb.
PARSLEY
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A quarter cup covers one third the DV for vitamin C and 100% the DV for vitamin K, which along with calcium is linked to prevention of osteoporosis. Use generously to take advantage of its high nutrition; make parsley pestos or traditional tabbouleh which is 1/3 parsley.
ROSEMARY
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Gets its flavor from carsonol and rosmarinic acid which fight breast and lung cancer in animal studies. It likes it dry, so plant a little higher than the other herbs and on sandy, rocky soil for good drainage.
F R U I T    
KIWI
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Extravagantly vitamin-C-rich with 124% the DV in just one fruit. Stick around, in two or three years you'll get the full harvest.
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YELLOW/ORANGE
Their beautiful color comes courtesy of Beta-carotene, the antioxidant linked to decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
CARROTS
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Research shows that people who eat carrots 2-3 times/week have lower risk for certain cancers; also drinking carrot juice lowers LDL, the "bad" cholesterol. Plant at the end of July (or late October in warmer climes) for a fall crop in addition to a spring crop.
POTATOES, SWEET
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Per half cup cooked: 3 g fiber and 41% the DV for vitamin C They're not yams! Sweet potatoes are orange or reddish-fleshed and grow in the US; yams are yellow-fleshed and grow in the tropics.
PUMPKINS
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Save the seeds which are a great source of magnesium, a champion of both bones and heart. To grow a big pumpkin, trim off all shoots and keep just the vine attached to the pumpkin. Regularly water and fertilize. Start planting the second week in June for a pumpkin by Halloween.
SQUASH
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(Acorn, Butternut, Winter)
Great source of fiber (about 4 g per half cup cooked). Cutting through the tough skin can be difficult-and dangerous; soften the skin by baking in 1/2-inch water for 20 minutes, then remove and cut.
F R U I T    
CANTALOUPE
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One cup cubed covers 113% the DV for vitamin C. When is it ready to pluck? When you press your thumb on the spot where the fruit connects to the vine and it slips right off.
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DEEP RED/PURPLE
Foods in this category are rich in Anthocyanins which research has shown can help prevent cancer and reduce the formation of artery-clogging plaque (a cause of heart disease).
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
BEETS
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A half cup provides 17% the DV for Folic acid. Pick them young for tenderness and sweetness.
EGGPLANT
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In test tube studies, eggplant extracts destroyed free radicals, molecules that trigger cancer and heart disease. Eggplant can really soak up the oil so instead of frying, brush lightly with olive oil and grill.
RADICCHIO
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Contains cancer-fighting Indoles. Plant this cool season crop in early spring or late fall.
RADISHES
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Radishes go from cool to hot because chewing releases the sharp-tastng cancer fighters: Indoles and Isothiocyanates. The longer they remain in the ground, the hotter they get.
F R U I T    
BLACKBERRIES
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Ranked among the top-ten most powerful carcinogen-fighters, blackberries contain Ellagic acid and 4 g fiber per half cup. Try the thornless varieties for scratch-free picking.
BLUEBERRIES
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Blueberries improved memory and coordination in lab animals and are ranked among the top 3 fruits or vegetables in Antioxidant power. The beautiful blueberry bush grows up to 5 feet tall with flowers in spring, berries in summer and crimson leaves in the fall.
PURPLE GRAPES
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Contain similar flavonoid compounds as wine which fight heart disease by warding off high blood pressure and artery-clogging plaque. Most Burpee varieties are seedless, and all are easy to train on a trellis or fence.
RASPBERRIES
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Good source of two cancer fighters: Ellagic acid and fiber (4 g per half cup). If you've never had home-grown, prepare for a sweeter, tastier berry.
STRAWBERRIES
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Bursting with health-promoters: Ellagic acid, 3 g fiber, and 108% the DV of vitamin C per 3/4 cup. To stay stocked from June to first frost, first plant "June-bearing" and then plant "Day Neutral" or "Everbearing".
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BRIGHT RED
Rich in Lycopene.
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
TOMATOES
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All colors are vitamin C-rich (30-39% the DV in a tomato, 47% in a cup of cherry tomatoes). Orange varieties are higher in Beta-carotene, lower in Lycopene. Stretch out the season by planting one or more varieties in each class (early, middle and late summer).
WATERMELON
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A cup of cubes supplies a quarter of the DV for vitamin C. Of the fruits, this one needs the most water. It's ripe a few days after the curly tendril closest to the stem (attached to the watermelon) turns brown.
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WHITE/LIGHT GREEN
Ultra-protective foods that fall under this category contain compounds which help destroy cancer-causing agents.
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
CABBAGE
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(Chinese cabbage, Pak Choi)
Research shows that eating cabbage may protect against cancer, probably due to its Indoles. Also high in vitamin C. If it's a little strong for you, disguise it by combining with other vegetables in a stir-fry.
CAULIFLOWER
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Contains important cancer-fighters: Isothiocyanates, Indoles and vitamin C (half the DV per half cup cooked). To keep cauliflower white, when heads are still small, wrap-and-rubberband-leaves over the beginning of the heads.
GARLIC
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A half clove to one clove daily can lower blood cholesterol by about 9% according to the research. Garlic also helps reduce the risk of stomach cancer. Plant on the shortest day of the year (in December) or in very early spring. Garlic grows in cool soil and pops up when it warms up.
HORSERADISH
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It's the cancer-fighting Isothiocyanates that are wowing your tastebuds. A great source of vitamin C: 40% the DV in just 2 tablespoons. Watch it, they spread, so don't over-plant, and leave them some room. They'll come back year after year.
ONIONS
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AND
SCALLIONS
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Onions have been linked to reduced cancer risk and may help quell asthma symptoms. Rich in Allylic Sulfur Compounds and quercitin, a heart disease and cancer-fighting compound. Plant both onions and scallions in early spring. One scallion seed will produce 4-5 stalks.
RUTABAGA
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Along with its Isothiocyanates, rutabagas are a good source of another cancer (and heart disease) fighter: vitamin C (27% the DV per half cup cooked) Roast or boil and add to mashed potatoes for a new twist to an old standby.
TURNIPS
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Battles cancer with an arsenal that includes Isothiocyanates, a sprinkle of C and fiber. Adds some "oomph" to a grilled or mashed winter vegetable medley.
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IN A CATEGORY OF THEIR OWN
A few Burpee plants didn't fit into any of these categories, but are still nutrition powerhouses.
Color Category Other Nutrients Gardening Kitchen Tips
V E G E T A B L E S    
CELERY
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Contains phthalides which lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Home-grown celery is a robust green color, nothing like the anemic white stuff you find in supermarkets.
CORN
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(Yellow)
Yellow corn is high in the eye-protectors Lutein and Zeaxanthin. The sugar-enhanced varieties are easiest to grow.
CUCUMBER
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Keep the skin on for fiber and vitamin K (a quarter of the DV in a cup sliced). To minimize seeds, plant the seedless varieties or pick the other types before they grow too wide.
PEAS BLACK EYED
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A fantastic source of two heart protecting nutrients: fiber (8g) and Folic acid (44% the DV) per half cup cooked. Thrives in heat and warm soil.
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