Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-12 > 1104259212

Subject: Interesting
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:40:12 EST

Sprouts get a better taste for Christmas

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A Swiss-British company, Syngenta, is helping children overcome the ultimate
Christmas nightmare: the prospect of eating Brussels sprouts.

The agroindustrial firm – which supplies 80 per cent of Europe’s sprout
seeds – has brought glad tidings to Christmas lunch by cultivating sweeter
tasting varieties.

For many, the Brussels sprout is a bitter pill to swallow – its acrid
flavour means it is the least popular of vegetables in some parts of the world.

Its fans are few and far between, especially in Europe and the United States.

Sweet magic

The Syngenta scientists used traditional methods of cultivation to weed the
bitterness out, which in turn increased sweetness.

The project was five years in the making.

“There was no genetic modification involved, only techniques that have been
in place since Adam was around,” Andrew Coker, Syngenta’s press spokesman,
told swissinfo.

The new improved vegetables also passed a series of blind tests conducted
on children.

“They even asked for second helpings until they realised what it was they
were eating!” exclaimed Coker.

The fact that the new improved vegetables no longer taste acrid has made
life a lot easier for parents who are keen to see their kids eat up their veg
for health reasons.

“Brussels sprouts are enormously high in vitamin C – a half cup of sprouts
provides as much vitamin C as six glasses of orange juice,” Coker said.

Sprouting hatred

As to why many children hated sprouts in the first place, Coker explained
that infant palates were simpler than adult ones and found it easier to cope
with sweeter flavours.

“Of course, all children are different and some parents are more adventurous
than others when it comes to food,” he added.

Dislike of sprouts is universal, according to Coker.

“I thought it was a British joke but I talked to colleagues from around the
world and they all say the same thing: they hated sprouts as a child.”

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