Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Leaf Season All Year Round

I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding them to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

Why did I even consider adding these leafy greens that I once found repulsive to my diet?

Mainly because leafy greens are packed with important and powerful nutrients,

Also because most leafy greens are available fresh all year round…making adding them to your weekly menus quite an easy task.

 

 

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Nutritional Value

All leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat…high in protein per calorie…and contain such important nutrients are dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese,  vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and antioxidants.

Health benefits of adding leafy greens to your diet include…

  • Alzheimer’s disease…leafy greens can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Antioxidants...leafy greens contain the antioxidants need to fight the effects of free radicals in the body…which reduces your chances of getting such major illmesses as cancer, heart diseasem  high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
  • Blood.,,,leafy greens have been shown to helping your blood clot normally….leafy greens also stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells
  • Bones…leafy greens have been shown to imporove the health of your, bones by helping prevent osteoporosis and boosting bone strength
  • Diabetes…leafy greens have been shown to lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14% 
  • Eyes…leafy greens have been shown to improve your eyesight…leafy greens also help prevents eye disorders such as muscular degeneration and cataracts….they can also lower your risk of developing night blindness.
  • Immune System…leafy greens Help strengthen the immune system
  • Skin…leafy greens have been shown to maintain skin elasticity

In fact, the Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

 

 

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Varieties of Greens

 

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…so that you don’t have to feel obligated to simply eat the “required”  bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

These options include…

1.Beet Greens

  • Leaves…green…veins of the leaves correspond to the color of the beet root
  • Scales…Beets with round, scaly areas around the top surface will be tough, fibrous, and strongly flavored.

2.  Boy Choy

  • Leaves…smooth, dark green leaf blades that form a cluster similar to mustard greens or celery—resembling Romaine lettuce on top and a large celery on the bottom.
  • Flavor…light and sweet
  • Texture..crispy, crunchy

3. Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

4. Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

5. Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

5. Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

6. Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green oval-shaped outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Uses…salads and soups
  • Uses…scoop-like shape makes for serving small appetizers

7. Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

8. Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

9. Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

19, Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

11. Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

12. Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

13. Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

14. Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

15, Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

16. Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

17. Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

18. Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

19, Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

20 Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.

 

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