All sorts of greens are plentiful this summer in the produce section. They all taste a little different, and they all pack a strong nutritional punch.
Here are some fun facts about the greens you’ll find in our stores and different ways you can enjoy them:
Green Curly Kale:
The facts: Through the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most commonly grown green vegetables in Europe. With a deep green color, curly kale has ruffled leaves and a thick stalk. It’s high in anti-oxidants, vitamin K and vitamin C, and brings a bright and peppery flavor. It helps to massage kale with your fingers to reduce the bitterness and soften it, especially when you want to eat it raw.
Serve it up: Turn kale into the base of a beautiful, summer salad, with shaved Brussels sprouts, toasted almonds and a dressing made with ¼ cup of tahini paste, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 teaspoons of white miso, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Top with shaved Parmesan. Or crisp it in the oven with oil and salt to turn it into chips.
The facts: This bumpy, leafy green isalso known as Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale. Its leaves are dark blue green and it’s earthy but bit sweeter in flavor than its curly cousin. Like curly kale, it’s full of anti-oxidants, reduces inflammation and boasts high marks for vitamins and minerals. One serving of kale has more calcium that your body can absorb than a small carton of milk.
Serve it up: Saute lacinato kale in coconut oil for a bright side dish. Start by adding minced shallots to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute, stirring often. Add kale to wilt it for just a minute and season withsalt and pepper. Or massage and shred it and boost your potato salad with nutrients and flavor by mixing it in.
The facts: The name collard comes from the word “colewort,” which means wild cabbage. So, it’s no surprise that these greens are part of the cabbage family. They have been a part of people’s diets for thousands of years and were cultivated way back Ancient Greece. These greens are full of fiber, vitamins B9, C, A, K and all sorts of minerals, including iron and calcium.
Serve it up: Keep collard greens raw and mix with spinach and mustard greens for a unique, mixed green salad. Remove the rib in the center of the leaves and then slice collards thinly. Try them sautéed with pine nuts. Add red pepper flakes, fresh garlic and lemon juice to the pan. And stir it all together with pasta for a light summer dinner.
The facts: Arugula, also known as rucola or “garden rocket” because it grows so quickly, is part of the mustard family. It is often grown near basil and parsley because its spicy scent and flavor tend to repel garden pests. The younger leaves taste more mild and sweet, and they become nuttier and more pepper as they get older. This green is a rich source of vitamins A,C, and K, as well as B vitamins and many minerals.
Serve it up: Make arugula the base of a salad with chunks of sweet watermelon, toasted pepitas and goat cheese. Sprinkle arugula on top of a grilled pizza to give it a green, peppery kick. Or serve it on the side of a grilled strip steak with lemon juice, olive oil and a drizzle of honey.
The facts: The thick stalks of Swiss chard range between red, white, yellow and green. They have an earthy, mildly bitter taste. The name “chard” is derived from the Latin word cardus, which means thistle. It has a few other ways it is known, including silverbeet, Roman kale, and strawberry spinach. Swiss chard is full of nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C and K.
Serve it up: Saute Swiss chard in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Mix it into a frittata with mushrooms for breakfast or a lunch. Use shredded chard as a basis of a rainbow slaw, with carrots and cabbage.