Vegetable is an edible plant or its part, intended for cooking or eating raw. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed. Vegetables are most often consumed as salads or cooked in savoury or salty dishes, while culinary fruits are usually sweet and used for desserts.
In everyday, grocery-store, culinary language, the words “fruit” and “vegetable” are mutually exclusive; plant products that are called fruit are hardly ever classified as vegetables, and vice-versa. The word “fruit” has a precise botanical meaning (a part that developed from the ovary of a flowering plant), which is considerably different from its culinary meaning, and includes many poisonous fruits. While peaches, plums, and oranges are “fruit” in both senses, many items commonly called “vegetables” — such as eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes — are botanically fruits, while the cereals (grains) are both a fruit and a vegetable, as well as some spices like black pepper and chili peppers.
Some vegetables can be consumed raw, while some must be cooked to destroy certain natural toxins or microbes in order to be edible. A number of processed food items available on the market contain vegetable ingredients and can be referred to as “vegetable derived” products. These products may or may not maintain the nutritional integrity of the vegetable used to produce them.
Vegetables are eaten in a variety of ways, as part of main meals and as snacks. The nutritional content of vegetables varies considerably, though generally they contain little protein or fat and varying proportions of vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6, provitamins, dietary minerals and carbohydrates. Vegetables contain a great variety of other phytochemicals, some of which have been claimed to have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties. Most vegetables also contain fibre, important for gastrointestinal function. Vegetables contain important nutrients necessary for healthy hair and skin as well.
Diets containing recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables may help lower the risk of heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes. These diets may also protect against some cancers and decrease bone loss. The potassium provided by both fruits and vegetables may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Thus, IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA), in a continued effort to exploit more Agricultural opportunities, have just commenced production and marketing of some vegetables. This, we believe will not only increase the capacity of youths but also address the problem of essential nutrient deficiencies.
Listed below are the vegetable crops produced by IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA).
Green beans Grean Pepper
Carrot Sweet Corn
Hot Pepper Papaya
Corriander Cauli flower
Water melon Pineapple