Pick of the Month: Leafy Greens


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Spring is here, and it’s time to move our focus away from the storage type crops we have been featuring during winter and move on to something lighter and greener.  Our featured food for the next couple of months will be leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, chard and kale to name just a few.

Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses.  Low in calories and fat, but extremely nutrient dense, they are an important source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients .  Greens are a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.  They contain vitamins A, C, E and the elusive vitamin K, which many of us do not get in sufficient quantities.  Greens contain the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which may help protect our eyes from certain eye problems.

Greens can be eaten in a variety of ways.  Some, like spinach and arugula, can be eaten raw in a salad.  Most can be sautéed.  Kale can actually be dehydrated in the oven into a tasty chip.  Or, if you just don’t like the taste of greens, try blending some into a green smoothie with some fruit for sweetness.  A quick Internet search will yield plenty of recipes.

However we prepare them, we  should be eating more of them.  Most of us get far less than 1 ½ to 2 cups of dark leafy vegetables per week currently recommended by the USDA.  (Lettuce only counts if it is Romaine or one of the dark green leafy varieties.)  And remember, that 2 cups is a minimum amount.  You can certainly have more, and many nutrition experts believe you should!

Greens don’t store well long term, but to store them up to a week in the fridge, first remove any wilted or damage leaves, wash the greens well in cool water, then gently pat or spin dry in a salad spinner.  Place the washed greens on paper towels.  You can overlap or layer them slightly, but don’t overdo it.  Gently roll up the greens and paper toweling, place in a clean plastic grocery bag and tie it shut. Store the bag in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator.

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