Image Number K7246-9
Thanks to research, carrots, onions, garlic and cucumbers taste better and
contain more nutrients. And better crop yields and disease resistance make more
of these favorite foods available.
Remember the old joke about carrots' vitamin A being good for your eyes?
(You never saw a rabbit wearing glasses, did you?) Well, ARS research has
brought us a carrot that's healthier than ever. Today's carrots pack twice the
beta carotene as their predecessors did 30 years ago, and researchers expect to
triple this important source of vitamin A by the year 2000.
Thanks to our pioneering work in lightly processing foods, the freshly
peeled carrots sold in the produce section are free of the white film that
sometimes masks their bright orange color. Processors simply dip the peeled,
ready-to-eat vegetables in a heated bath of water and citric acid for 30 seconds
and then quickly dunk them into cold water. The technique is simple, fast,
inexpensive, and additive-free. It won't affect taste either. The heated citric
acid, which is a natural product of citrus fruit, simply stops unwanted enzymes
We've altered onions too. Sweet Sandwich is now marketed as a sweet onion
that offers an alternative to Vidalia onions. It can be stored 9 months without
using any chemicals to inhibit sprouting.
And added to our plant-breeding work with cucumbers, we've worked with
picklemakers to prevent a common problem known as "pillowing" that
discolors finished pickles.
Photo by Scott Bauer.
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