Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Little Green Can Go a Long Way!

It's spring time and that means there is an abundance of green stuff available fresh and ready for your favorite dish. Spinach, chard, and lettuces like the cooler weather and are growing well with the warm spring weather we have had early this year. Look around at your local farm market or a grocer that supplies local produce OR plant your own greens!

Some greens to consider: arugula which is a spicy green, collard greens which are a versatile green from the cabbage family, dandelion greens- yup, pick the weed from your yard and eat this somewhat bitter green, kale is also versatile and a top vegetable health wise, purslane is a hard to find green usually seen as a weed for farmers to get rid of, spinach which is one of the first greens of the spring, and Swiss chard one of my favorites for just it's beauty and color in my garden.

Why not try them all? Arugula, collards, dandelion greens, and spinach have vitamin K, good for bones and blood. Collards provide calcium and tons of fiber. Dandelion greens and roots are quite helpful to the liver in cleaning out the system and are a natural diuretic. Kale is a powerhouse, mainly because its nutrients have been found to be very absorbable by the body. It is a great cancer preventative. Purslane actually contains Omega 3s! Spinach is known for creating strength (as in Popeye's big muscles), but it's strength comes from a load of cancer fighting nutrients, immune system boosters, and mind sharpening vitamins. Chard is loaded with Vitamin A which is great for the eyes plus all sorts of beta-carotenes. Other vitamins that most of these greens contain are C, A, potassium, and minerals magnesium and phosphorous.

All of these greens can be used in a salad or cooked into a favorite dish. Just chop fine and mix in any one of these greens to pasta, soup, rice or other dishes and turn the nutrient value waaaay up! Think about trying a new green each week, perhaps in a new recipe or a favorite that just needs some extra nutritional value. I make sure to grow enough kale, spinach, chard and collards to freeze and enjoy as an addition to many winter meals and soups. Any green mixed with rice, a Parmesan or feta cheese, and some beans is a staple in my home and very satisfying! The best part is that a little goes a very long way nutritionally!

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