Possibly by now you've heard that a diet high in antioxidants can not only keep your body in top shape, but it can also strengthen your immune system, and possibly slow the aging process. What you might not know is that, while everybody else has been caught up with the latest dieting fads and workout routines, Burpee Home Gardens has been rigorously testing many plant varieties, in search of the vegetables that pack the highest levels of antioxidants possible.
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Burpee's BOOST Collection, a collection of 8 nutrient-packed vegetable varieties, started as an idea almost 10 years ago, and has been in the market for 6 years now. Burpee's plant breeders started researching making vegetables more nutritious through traditional breeding (that's right, no GMOs here!).
"Breeding in this kind of higher nutrition isn't easy, as the testing requirements are very strict" says Scott Mozingo, Burpee Product Manager. "Each variety is grown in a comparison trial replicated across the country. We compare each entry in BOOST next to similar, common garden varieties."
When the fruit is ready to be picked, researchers at Burpee use spectrum analysis machines to measure the claimed increase in nutrients. So if it's a pepper with a claim to higher vitamin C content, they measure the vitamin C content of the BOOST trial variety and the comparison varieties across all of the trials. "If the variety holds up to it's signicifantly higher claim, it qualifies as a BOOST variety," says Mozingo.
The plants in Burpee's BOOST collection boast increases in vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; selenium; and lycopene.
The BOOST collection, while staking a claim to higher antioxidants, doesn't lack in the flavor department. "At Burpee, we often say taste is like 'greens fees' to a golf course," says Mozingo. "The varieties aren't getting into our program unless they taste great!" Each BOOST variety passes a rigorous taste trial, and as they've been in market, they have received great feedback from gardeners and foodies.
All of these varieties are available in seed form (many also available as plants) at Burpee.com. For those who like to see a plant before buying, use the Burpee Home Gardens 'Find A Store' feature to locate a greenhouse or garden center near you that sells the BOOST collection.