VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
India with its diverse, but favourable agroclimatic conditions produces a wide range of tropical and temperate fruits and vegetables. The annual production of these crops is about 53 million tonnes.
Vegetables are plants or parts of plants served with the main course of a meal.
Apart from the nutritive value, vegetables probably do more than any other group of foods to add appetising colour, texture and flavour to our daily food.
With the wide choice of colour of vegetables, it is possible to select a vegetable with a desired colour to highten the appearance of a meal.
The texture of a vegetable varies depending upon whether it is served raw are cooked. The texture and appearance of meals can then be varied by the way the vegetable is served.
Vegetables contain a wide range of characteristic flavours. By a proper choice of vegetables, the desired flavour of a meal can be obtained.
A fruit is the edible and juicy product of a tree or plant and consists of the matured ovary including its seeds and adjacent parts. Usually fruits are sweet, with a wide range of flavours, colours and textures.
CLASSIFICATION OF VEGETABLES
Vegetables can be classified into three groups according to their nutritive value.
1. green leafy vegetables
2. roots and tubers
3. other vegetables
NUTRIENT CONTENT OF VEGETABLES AND
i. Green Leafy Vegetables :
They are an inexpensive rich source of many nutrients such as - carotene, ascorbic acid, folic acid, calcium, iron and fibre. They are a poor source of protein.
ii. Roots and Tubers :
Roots and tubers are rich in carbohydrates and are a source of energy in the diet. Carrot and yellow varieties of yam are rich in carotene and potato contains Vitamin C. Tapioca and yam are rich in calcium. Roots and tubers are a poor source of iron, protein and a fair source of B - Vitamins.
iii. Other Vegetables :
These are a good source of dietary fibre and add variety to the diet. They are a fairly good source of vitamins and minerals. (Eg.) brinjal, ladies finger, cauliflower, cucumber, gourd varieties.
A fruit is a mature ovary of a flower. The fleshy portion of the pericarp makes up the chief edible portion of the fruit.
Fruits can be classified as follows :
Berries - Gooseberry, grapes, strawberry.
Citrus - Lemon, lime, orange, sweet lime.
Drupes - Peach, plums, apricot.
Melons - Water melon, musk melon
Pomes - Apple, pear.
Berries are fruits with layers of pericarp(fruit coat) which are often homogenous, except for the skin on the outside. The pericarp layers are pulpous and juicy, and contain seeds embedded in the pulp mass. The fruits have fragile cell structure that is damaged by rough handling or freezing.
These fruits belong to the genus Citrus which contains about 16 species of evergreen aromatic shrubs and trees mostly with thorny branches distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The common citrus fruits are orange, lemon and lime. The bright colour, pleasing flavour and sweetness make them a favourite fruit. They are served as juice and can be eaten raw.
Drupes are edible fruits with a thin skin, and juicy flesh enclosing a single seed (Stone). Apricots, cherries, peaches and plums belong to this group.
Melons belong to the same family as cucumbers (Cucurbitaceae). Melons are commonly eaten raw. Their flesh consists of about 94% water and only 5% sugars. The seeds stripped of their hard coats may be eaten and also yield an edible oil.
Pomes are fruits of apple and pear trees. The receptacle, surrounds the ovaries in the flower, enlarges to become edible and juicy, and encloses the cells containing the seeds.
Fruits particularly citrus varieties and guava are a good source of vitamin C. Yellow fruits like mango and papaya contain - carotene. Banana is a good source of carbohydrate and hence energy. Fruits are a poor source of protein and fat with the exception of avacado.
Fruits also contain fibre and minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. They are not a good source of calcium. Dry fruits, seethaphal and watermelon contribute appreciable amounts of iron.