With veggies, small can sometimes turn out to be better

AP -?Truman Capote famously told friends that the very wealthy eat better vegetables – tiny ones. So there’s another plus for gardening: It’s easier to eat the way the super-rich do.

Not that smaller is always better in the world of vegetables. A cucumber picked undersize does not taste better than one allowed to swell up before harvest – as long as that full-size one is picked before its skin yellows and seeds start to harden.

Similarly, the taste of baby carrots can’t compare with fully grown ones, unless the “baby” size is how big the carrots are supposed to be when fully mature. A certain degree of maturity is needed before a carrot can store energy – which translates to sweetness – in its fleshy roots. Some varieties of carrots, such as Caracas and Atlas, never grow large; when mature and tasty, the roots are still no more than a few inches long.

“Baby carrots” that you buy in the supermarket, incidentally, are not actually babies, but are full-size carrots cut into smaller pieces.

There’s no arguing that tiny vegetables are more fun and convenient to eat. That must be what accounts for the popularity of supermarket cherry tomatoes.

The bulk of these, unfortunately, are the variety Red Cherry, which doesn’t taste nearly as good as Sungold, which has a delectable sweet-tart flavor.

Miniature cauliflower – “minicauli” – is another tiny vegetable that is fun and convenient.