From April 28, 2016
Our Guide to Greens
Lucky for us WellandGood.com had a great article on greens this week. We also pulled from thekitchn.com and Dana Jacobi's cookbook aptly named The Power Greens Cookbook. (Good book, by the way.)
The following excerpts are from WellandGood.com:
The green known for its peppery bite has the most calcium of all the salad greens. Arugula is also packed with antioxidants (think vitamins A, C, and K) and manganese. “That combination is great for protecting your bones,” Jacboi says. And it can do way more than just act as an accent to your tossed salad. “It’s fun to use as an alternative to baby spinach—you can just wilt it,” she notes. Her kitchen advice? Try stirring arugula into risottos and soups, or adding them to a frittata.
This cruciferous green is not only delicious when stir-fried with garlic, it’s also a key supporter of a healthy gut. The green is full of magnesium and antioxidants, and helps the gut produce inflammation- and allergy-fighting substances. Bok choy leaves can be tougher, which makes them perfect for juicing. Jacobi’s favorite combination? Bok choy, apple, and ginger for a three-ingredient Asian-style super juice. For something a little easier to eat, reach for Shanghai bok choy (more commonly known as baby bok choy)—perfect for stir fries or adding a crunchy kick to salads.
This leaf is pretty on the inside and the outside. Antioxidants, iron, and chlorophyll are just some of the nutrients found in chard, whose stems are also packed with fiber. The green also contains carotenoids, which help to protect your eyes against harmful UV rays, and folate—key for healthy pregnancies. This is one green that Jacobi definitely recommends eating cooked, rather than raw. “Cooking chard helps diffuse the dry tannic quality,” she explains, adding that blanching chard will also get rid of its muddy quality (meaning it will be even more Instagram-worthy on your plate). Pair it with lentils or browned onions, or chop it up finely for a frittata.
If you’re a plant-based eater who has heard the question “How do you get enough protein?” time and time again, this leaf’s got your back. Collard greens pack 5 grams of protein per cup. They’re also loaded with calcium, cancer-preventing B6 vitamins, and the natural sleep aid tryptophan. Oh, and they make a great midnight snack: As Jacobi tells us, “You can make collard chips just like kale chips!” Crumble them on top of soups or eat them as a snack—you may be pleasantly surprised to notice they’re even a bit less bitter than their kale equivalent.
This dark, nutrient-dense, leafy green more than lives up to the hype: It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein…the list goes on. Kale also contains a category of phytochemicals called glucosinolates—a group of compounds that help to detoxify the liver and support other body functions. Another of the super-green’s super powers? “Kale protects us against the chemicals that promote the storage of body fat,” dishes Jacboi. Oh, and did we mention just how versatile it is? Massage it with lemon juice and olive oil for salad bases, blend it into your smoothie, roast it at low temperatures and turn it into kale chips—the possibilities are limitless. And if you’re not sure where to start, Jacobi’s favorite way to eat kale is braised. “Braising brings out the flavor and gives them a texture with body but not too much. You have control over the texture, without losing the flavor,” she explains. “Plus, the oil helps your body absorb the nutrients.”
If you normally throw iceberg lettuce into your salad bowl, it might be time to swap it out for some romaine. “The darker the leaves are, the better,” Jacobi says, explaining that the depth of the color corresponds with the nutritional value. This salad green is full of antioxidants and is also a great source of the natural sleep-enhancing amino acid tryptophan. And if you’ve only ever eaten romaine raw, Jacobi recommends branching out. “Lettuce is delicious slightly cooked—it has a great nutty flavor,” she notes, suggesting lightly stir frying it with white wine. That’s right: romaine and wine, together.
You can find spinach just about everywhere—yes, even your local corner store. “I like to call it the convenience green,” says Jacobi. Good thing: It’s full of vitamins and minerals that are released differently, depending on how the green is prepared. While the carotenes and iron are more accessible when we eat spinach cooked, some nutrients are lost because of heat sensitivity. Luckily, spinach is incredibly versatile—you’re bound to enjoy it some way or another. When in doubt, just throw a fistful of spinach into your a.m. smoothie and hit “blend.”
- From http://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/guide-to-buying-greens/
Although these weren't included in the article, here are a few more tidbits on in season greens:
Did you know you can eat beet greens? Beets are related to Chard and have similar nutritional benefits. Dana Jacobi describes their flavor as a cross between spinach and red chard. She also suggests serving the beet root and greens together with a gingery-citrus dressing in her The Power Greens Cookbook (2015).
(Check out the AJC In Season Column from the 14th. Conne Ward Cameron wrote about beets and our own Barbara Mathis from Fox Hollow Farm.)
Its coming to the end of the season for broccolini, but here is a bit about it as well. It is a cross between broccoli and chinese broccoli. Its small florets, stalks, and leaves are all edible. It has a milder flavor than broccoli and can be eaten raw as well as steamed, grilled, sautéed or roasted.
Watercress is a peppery green than is packed with minerals and vitamins. It has more than 15 minerals and vitamins including A, C, E and K, plus folate, magnesium, calcium . . . and the list goes on. Throw it in salads, on burgers, or last minute into soups.
Need more ideas and tips of how to use these greens? Ask our farmers!
Items of Interest from our Newsletter: