Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby brassicas

Here is the abstract from a study evaluating the content of various phytochemicals thought to have health-promoting activity in a variety of newly sprouted Brassica greens. Eight days after sprouting seems to be when this study found the highest quantity of these molecules, but no testing was done for taste acceptance at eight days versus any other time. There is always a next step in research and knowledge.

My bed of 'baby brassicas' is WAY over the 8-day mark but that does not mean these plants are not worth eating. I snack on them every time I pass by, yes they are getting big and crowded, and they are still growing well even as we head into the colder and darker days of Fall here in the upper Midwest.

We also have a salad nearly every night made from a mix of various lettuces, spinach, and the baby (maybe now teen-age) Brassica mix!

With kale being so 'sexy' now here in the US, I am surprised that no kale varieties were part of this experiment.

I'll be asking my local farmer friends who sell baby salad greens (including kale) at the farmers markets how many days past germination they target harvesting and what factors come into play to make this decision. Just out of curiosity, not as a discriminator in my decision if or not to purchase.

The 'taste test' really should be done next. :) I'll sign up! Hmmm, I'm also thinking of more possibilities than signing up. Ok, now I really need an intern!!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Here is the abstract:

 2012 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Selecting sprouts of Brassicaceae for optimum phytochemical composition.


Cruciferous foods (Brassicaceae spp.) are rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds. Edible sprouts are becoming popular fresh foods and therefore, the phytochemical profiling of 9 varieties of Brassicaceae (broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbage, rutabaga, turnip, turnip greens, radish, garden cress and white mustard) was evaluated for this purpose. The glucosinolates in seeds were significantly higher than in sprouts and the day 8 of germination was considered the optimum for consumption. The sprouts with higher concentrations of glucosinolates in 8-day old sprouts were white mustard, turnip and kohlrabi (~815 mg100 g-1 F.W., ~766 mg100 g-1 F.W. and ~653 mg100 g-1 F.W., respectively). Red cabbage and radish presented great total glucosinolates content (~516 mg100 g-1 F.W. and ~297 mg100 g-1 F.W., respectively in 8 day-old sprouts) and also higher total phenolic contents, biomass and antioxidant capacity. The selection of the best performers in terms of germination quality and phytochemical composition is the key to optimize new fresh and rich foods, enriched in health bioactive compounds. Further research of bioavailability of the bioactive compounds in Brassica foods will allow to backed recommendations for dietary effective dosages for nutrition and health.

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