6 Veggie Myths, Busted
1) "Fresh is healthier."
Frozen and canned vegetables with few ingredients are often better for you because they're processed just hours after they're picked. That's when nutrients are at their peak. So a "fresh" vegetable that has been sitting in a warehouse for several days may actually have fewer vitamins and minerals than if it had been flash-frozen or canned just after harvest.
2) "Potatoes make you fat."
Frying and smothering anything in butter, cheese, and bacon can make you fat. Don't blame the poor potato! Eat enough fried zucchini, for example, and you are likely to paunch out. Or drench every apple you eat with butter, sour cream, cheddar, and bacon bits, and what do you think will happen? A plain, medium-size white potato—which is a good source of vitamins B6 and C, and nutrients like fiber, potassium, and manganese—has only 110 calories, about the same as a large apple.
3) "Organic is more nutritious."
There are good reasons to buy organic produce, but higher nutrient content is not one of them. An organic red pepper will not have more vitamin C than a non-organically grown one, for example—but it will have been grown without pesticides, which may benefit both our bodies and the earth.
4) "Corn is just empty calories."
Fresh corn gets a bad rap because of its association with high-fructose corn syrup—which is essentially the sugars of corn with all the good stuff processed out. But whole corn is chock-full of nutrients—it is both a vegetable and a grain, and has some of the best characteristics of both.
5) "If you don't eat the peel, there's no reason to wash it."
This is really, really not true. When you cut into an unwashed, unpeeled vegetable, your knife drags surface bacteria onto the flesh—the part you do eat. Be especially careful with fruits and vegetables with a bumpy or netted surface like avocado and cantaloupe.
6) "Baby carrots are demonic."
OK, so we've all gotten the spam email about how baby carrots are some kind of toxic non-vegetable about to turn us all into zombies. It is true that the bagged "baby carrots" in the supermarket aren't baby anything—they're just regular long carrots that are sliced down and put in a tumbler to smooth out their surfaces. But they are everyday, ordinary carrots. Really!
This article was first published in the June/July/August 2015 issue of Allrecipes magazine.