Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Storing & Enjoying Greens

Dawt Sung with her mustard greens and Red Russian Kale
Leafy greens are among the first items to hit market stands in spring.  By June this lush spread is accented with bright red radishes, deep earthy beets, sweet white turnips, fresh garlic, peas, carrots, and a variety of herbs.  A beautiful sight! 

Many greens including spinach, arugula, and lettuce are unfamiliar to most New Roots farmers when they begin the program.  Others, like mustard greens, collards, pac choi, and cabbage have been grown and eaten by farmers in their home countries.  Enjoying new and unfamiliar greens can be challenging for all of us - so here are a few tips to help you make the most of the season.

Maku selling her Ripbor Kale.

Kale, collard greens and swiss chard do well in a vase of cold water on the counter - just like flowers! This allows your greens to continue living until you are ready to eat them.  Not only do they last longer like this - but they retain their nutrient density too!  

It may sound silly, but raw kale (like all of us!) benefits from a good massage.   After removing the stalks and chopping your kale, pick up a handful and roll it between your hands until it is a vibrant dark green (a few minutes).  Not only is massaged kale sweeter and easier to chew, but this action makes vitamins and calcium more accessible during digestion.

Collard greens make a sturdy wrap & healthy alternative to taco shells.  Remove the stems and blanch leaves for one minute before adding a spoonful of rice, a little guacamole, and thinly sliced spring carrots, onions, and cilantro. 

bags of spinach, arugula, and salad mix
Store spinach, arugula, and lettuce mixes in a large airtight bag or container.  These greens go bad quickly if they are packed too tightly or stored wet. If washed before storing, be sure to pat them dry with a kitchen towel. When stored properly they will last a week or longer in your fridge. 

If you find yourself with an abundance of arugula, try making pesto or adding it chopped & raw to hot pasta.  For more tips and links to recipes check out the Veggie ID tab at the top of this page.  Have tips of your own? Post a comment below!

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