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term originally used for any plant, now the name for many food plants, most of them annuals, and for their edible parts. There is no clear botanical distinction between vegetables and fruits. Most vegetables consist largely of water, making them low in calories. They are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron. Legumes (e.g., dried beans, peas, and lentils) are a good source of complex carbohydrates, have a high protein content, and can be used to some extent as meat substitutes. In the United States the demand for fresh vegetables during all seasons has been met by improved methods of handling and shipping and the development of large commercial truck farms and market gardens, especially in California, Florida, and Texas, plus importation from other countries such as Chile. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture guidelines for a healthy diet recommend 3 to 5 servings of vegetables daily.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a succulent part of herbaceous plants that is edible in fresh or processed form. The edible parts of vegetable plants include the fruits, ovaries, young shoots, roots, rhizomes, tubers, flower clusters, seeds, leaves, leaf stalks, heads, bulbs, and thickened stems. Vegetables play an important role in the human diet. Their pleasant taste and nutritional benefits arise from varying combination of sugars, organic acids, and aromatic and mineral substances. Many vegetables are used as medicines and in dietotherapy.

It is recommended that a healthy adult consume at least 600 g of vegetable substances daily. The composition and nutritional value of vegetables vary widely (see Table 1) and depend on the type of product and on growing and storage conditions.

Table 1. Chemical composition and nutritional value of vegetables
 Proteins (g)Carbohydrates(g)Caloric value (kcal* per 100 g)Vitamin C (m percent)
* 1 kcal = 4.1868 × 103 joules
Fresh white cabbage...
Green onion ......
Cucumber .......0.72.915.04.7

Vegetables do not contain fats. Their protein content is significantly less than that of animal products. Vegetables are particularly valuable as sources of such nutritious biologically active substances as vitamin C, carotene, folic acid, minerals, organic acids, cellulose, and pectins. Vegetables stimulate appetite and secretions of the digestive glands. Large quantities of vegetables may be processed in various ways (canned, pickled, marinated, frozen, dried). Vegetables lose a significant amount of nutritional value when cooked or improperly stored. Pickling, quick-freezing, and sublimation drying preserve more of the vitamins.


Spravochnik tovaroveda prodovol’stvennykh tovarov, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.
Shirokov, E. P. Tekhnologiia khraneniia i pererabotki plodov i ovoshchei. Moscow, 1970.
Spravochnik po ovoshchevodstvu. Edited by V. A. Bryzgalov. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The edible portion of a usually herbaceous plant; customarily served with the main course of a meal.
Resembling or relating to plants.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.



1. any of various herbaceous plants having parts that are used as food, such as peas, beans, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, and onions
2. Rare any member of the plant kingdom
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Dreaming about a large variety of foods seems to be typical. Food represents nourishment and pleasure. Interpreting the symbolism of vegetables in your dream depends on how you feel about them in daily life: whether you like them for their taste and nutritional value, or find them dull and boring. You may be projecting a need to feed your body or soul or reflecting on a dull and not very satisfying part of life. The shape and type of vegetable and the overall content of the dream need be considered when making an interpretation.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.