Cool Weather Crops Fight Disease
Now is a great time of year to cultivate cool weather crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. In some parts of the country the tomatoes are winding down, and the threat of frost at night is approaching faster than leaves are falling.
But many of the the cole-family crops, such as those mentioned above, can endure light frosts and come out tasting better than ever. Brussels sprouts, for example, can grow in your garden all summer. But wait until after the first frost to harvest them. They’ll be less bitter tasting. Some of these crops can be planted in late summer for harvest in late fall or early winter. In fact, most prefer cool weather. Broccoli plants tend to bolt (flower) in the heat of summer, if not wither and wilt. But give them some downright chilly nights followed by Indian Summer days, and they’ll thrive.
All of these cool-season crops are in the Brassica family. Also called cruciferous vegetables, these important food crops are unique in that they feature chemical compounds that are incredibly beneficial to human health. Some are converted in the digestive tract into compounds with potent anti-cancer activity. These organic compounds contain sulfur, which accounts for some of the odor when you cook them.
Plenty of preliminary evidence suggests that eating cruciferous vegetables offers protection against the accumulation of toxins, and provides chemical protection against the development of cancer.