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Like Cabbage and Carrots

Can you imagine a fried egg without spinach? Pizza without tomatoes? Or a stew without beans? Meals would lack vitamins, minerals, protein, color and flavor.

The leaves, stems, roots, fruits and seeds we cook or consume raw belong to the foundation of our diet. Worldwide, vegetables have great meaning as foods for personal use as well as for selling.

The Aztecs already cooked tasty vegetables from the fruits, young sprouts and leaves of chayote(Sechium edule). The cucurbits are remarkably versatile: their tubers contain up to 20% starch and the stem fibers lend themselves to braiding mats, hats and sacks. In local supermarkets, we find vegetables in the produce department. Try growing a plant from one yourself. Be careful: don't open the ripe fruit, as the new plants grow right out of it!

The Spanish introduced many nightshades like tomatoes and potatoes from the American tropics to Europe. Similarly, peppers(Capsicum) brought color to the garden. Today we appreciate their vitamin-rich fruits as well as spicy paprika powder. So, is paprika a spice or a vegetable?