Posts Tagged ‘kale’

As an addition to our Greens Guide, I thought it necessary to have a Washing Greens page.

The thing is, if you’ve ever bitten into a dish of homemade greens and gotten even a tiny piece of grit in your teeth you know why a washing guide is so important. It’s gross. It’s like finding a hair in your food. Ew.

So to prevent that from ever happening again, it’s pretty important to master the art of washing greens. Which, luckily, is very simple, though slightly time consuming.

Step 1.) Fill your sink or a large bowl with water and soak the greens for a few minutes. This allows time for the dirt to dislodge and fall to the bottom of the sink. Remember to swish them occasionally. Adding salt to this step will dislodge any caterpillars or bugs that may be hiding out. Adding vinegar will help deter bacterial growth if you plan on keeping the greens in your fridge for a while. Adding both…well I don’t know,  but I’d think it wouldn’t hurt.

Step 2.) Remove the greens. Drain and clean the sink, or bowl. Depending on how dirty the greens are you may need to repeat step 1. If they seem reasonably clean you can move on.

Step 3.) Rinse the greens one leaf at a time under running water. Pay special attention to the underside of the leaf where dirt and bug/eggs can hide out.

That’s it, enjoy your greens!

Greens, while more popular in the south, are a great addition to our harvest baskets here in Minnesota.

On our farm we grow; collards, kale, mustard, Swiss chard, arugula, tatsoi and bok choy. Any of these may show up in your basket over the course of the season, although they are tastiest in the spring and fall, when the weather is cooler.

Packed with nutrients, like vitamins A, C, and E, they’re low in calories and high in fiber. They’re like a delicious multi vitamin.

 

Collard Greens & Kale:

Kale (left) Collards (right)

Traditionally boiled with ham hocks or smoked turkey legs until tender. I like to season them with adobo seasoning, for a little kick try adding Cajun seasoning. Every couple of months I get a super craving for them. The liquid left behind from boiling them is called pot likker and is fantastic sopped up with corn bread.

A word of warning about collard greens. Like other members of the brassica family, collards may contain goitrogens which may cause swelling of thyroid gland and therefore, should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, it may be used liberally in healthy person.

Also keep in mind it should be used sparingly with people suffering from oxalate kidney stones.  A serving of collard greens provides more than 500 mcg of vitamin K which is well above daily recommended value; it is therefore, should be used cautiously in people taking anticoagulants like warferin.

 

Kale:

My favorite way to cook kale is in soup with peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, and onions. You can find the recipe in our Crazy Daisy cookbook here: http://crazydaisycsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/crazydaisy_cooks_081.pdf Try adding some Brie to it. I love this soup!

Kale can also be seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil then baked in the oven until crispy, so yummy.

 

Swiss chard:

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is actually a member of the beet family that is grown for the green tops rather than the root. Thus the green tops of beets can be used exactly the same way you would use chard. This is one of the reasons we leave the greens attached to the beets when we harvest them, it’s like getting two vegetables in one!

Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically sauteed as their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a delicate flavor.

 

Tatsoi (tah tsai):

Tatsoi A.K.A. Tah Tsai

These beautiful little plants have a soft, creamy texture and a mild taste that blends well in any recipe that calls for spinach. Also great in a stir fry. Although my favorite recipe is sauteing it with bell peppers, onion, shallots, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning, and serving it over rice.

 

Mustard Greens:

Mustard Greens

Mustard contains large amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C. Mustard greens are also a source of calcium that can be important to lactose intolerant individuals. And are contain a significant amount of iron.

For cooking you can prepare them the same way you would collard greens.

 

Bok Choy (A.K.A pak choi):

Bok Choy

Cultivated in China for centuries, bok choy’s popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but it is also low in calories.

When it comes to cooking, you’ll find that bok choy is very versatile. Boiling, steaming, stir-frying and even deep-frying are all possibilities. With large bok choy you should want to separate the leaves from the stalks, because the thick stalks have a longer cooking time.

 

Arugula:

Arugula

Arugula looks similar to kale but has tender lighter green leaves, unlike kale’s waxy blue green leaves. An ancient leafy plant, it’s been grown around the Mediterranean since roman times. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, and potassium. It’s described as having a peppery taste but I think it tastes more nutty.

Very versatile to prepare, it can be eaten raw in a salad usually mixed with other greens, it’s also great either raw or cooking in a pasta dish, or even used to top pizza.

 

So the next time you get a big bunch of greens in your basket, enjoy them!

 

 

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