Leafy greens

Although greens can be considered a spring crop, they are now making an appearance in supermarkets, especially in the Southern states. Texas availability is from October through April. After months of eating the root vegetables, we crave the rich greens, offering a change and nutritional jump start from the doldrums of winter. Greens are so rich in crucial nutrients that they have indeed earned their reputation as tonics. They abound in carotenoids and vitamins C and K as well as folate, lutein, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and fiber. Even the nitrites and nitrates found in leafy greens can cut heart damage in a heart attack. They are truly essential to a healthy diet. Swiss chard, kale, and spinach are more commonly found, but many markets feature unusual and tempting varieties, such as dandelion, beet, chicory, arugula, radicchio, turnip, collard, endive, watercress, mustard, bok choy and a host of others. Most can be added to a salad or lightly saut’ed with extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic. Look for crisp, fresh-looking, fresh-smelling greens. Avoid any that are yellowed or browned’could be rust. Avoid any slimy or wilting greens’indicates dehydration and age. Refrigerate greens and keep them moist but not wet. Roll greens lightly in damp paper towels and store the bundle in a plastic bag (with holes punched in it so humidity doesn’t promote spoilage) in the fridge. Most greens will keep three to five days before wilting; some last longer if you change the paper towel and spray lightly with water. Don’t wash greens until just before using. Rinse thoroughly in cold water to clean off grit and dirt. Avoid soaking so as not to lose water- soluble nutrients. Use a salad spinner or clean towel to dry excess water. Some greens are bitter, others are strongly flavored, and some are a surprising change from the usual bland winter lettuces. Some folks, especially children, like their greens with a little added flavor. Dressing for Greens 1/2 cup peanut butter (soy or almond’your choice) 2 tablespoons hot green tea 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 teaspoon honey 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 small clove minced garlic Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (if desired) Blend above ingredients and use as a dressing for any cooked greens. Next week: cabbage Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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