Give Greens a Chance: What to Do With Nutritious Cooking Greens.
Cooking greens pack a nutritious punch of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium, plus phytonutrients. In addition, they provide a fair dose of fiber, about three grams per 3/4-cup serving. During winter months especially, greens can add variety to your menus; check vegetarian cookbooks for the best array of recipes. Here is EN's guide to greens to get you started.
Selection and Storage
* Use what's in season to ensure good taste and maximum nutrients. While some greens may be available only seasonally or at farmers' markets, some greens (spinach, kale, collards) can be found in supermarkets year-round.
* Choose greens that are fresh-looking, with firm stalks that aren't limp, with roots attached, if possible. To store greens, wrap in damp paper towels, place in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate; they'll keep for a week. Wash just before preparing.
* Remember that fresh greens cook down considerably--sometimes to a quarter of their original volume. In general, a pound of fresh greens yields 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 cups cooked.
* Buy frozen greens if the quality of fresh isn't up to par.
* To remove dirt, swish greens around in a sink of cool or lukewarm water. If grit remains, repeat. Remove any roots, and stems if desired.
* Young, tender greens can be eaten raw in salads, but older, heartier greens are best cooked.
* Quick-cooking techniques, such as microwaving, steaming or quickly boiling are best for preserving texture, color and flavor.
* Wait until the final five to 10 minutes of cooking to add greens to soups, stews or pasta sauces.
* Don't cook greens in aluminum or copper cookware as color, nutrients and flavor will be adversely affected. Use stainless steel, enamel or glass.
EN's Guide to the Goodness of Greens (Greens are listed alphabetically. Serving size is 3A cup cooked greens.) Cooking Green Vitamin A[*] Vitamin C Calcium[dagger] (IU) (mg) (mg) Beet, fresh, boiled 5,100 25 114 Collards, fresh, boiled 3,129 18.2 119 Collards, frozen, boiled 5,981 26.4 210 Dandelion, fresh, boiled 11,700 18 140 Kale, fresh, boiled 7,400 41 72 Kale, frozen, boiled 6,354 25 138 Mustard, fresh, boiled 3,031 25.3 74 Spinach, raw 6,715 28 99 Spinach, fresh, boiled 8,190 9.8 136 Spinach, frozen, boiled 7,784 12.3 146 Swiss chard, fresh, boiled 3,319 18 58 Turnip, fresh, boiled 5,498 27.4 137 Cooking Green Potassium Folate (mg) (mcg) Beet, fresh, boiled 909 14 Collards, fresh, boiled 260 93 Collards, frozen, boiled 251 76 Dandelion, fresh, boiled 232 13 Kale, fresh, boiled 228 13 Kale, frozen, boiled 321 14 Mustard, fresh, boiled 202 73 Spinach, raw 558 194 Spinach, fresh, boiled 466 146 Spinach, frozen, boiled 298 108 Swiss chard, fresh, boiled 549 9 Turnip, fresh, boiled 203 118 [*] Much of the vitamin A comes from carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. [dagger] Not all may be absorbed, because it binds with oxalate, particularly high in spinach. IU = International Units; mg = milligrams; mcg = micrograms Sources: USDA Nutrient Database (2000); USDA-NCC Carotenoid Database (1998). [C] Copyright, 2002 by Environmental Nutrition, Inc., New York, NY; www.environmentalnutrition.com
RELATED ARTICLE: Easy-to-Be-Green Recipe Ideas
* For a side dish, blanch fresh collards, kale, mustard or turnip greens in boiling water for six to 10 minutes; drain and chop. Saute with chopped onion and minced garlic in a little olive oil until tender.
* For a vegetarian entree, will fresh spinach, Swiss chard or beet greens (still wet after washing) in a covered skillet for two to four minutes over medium heat. Remove greens and chop roughly. In skillet, saute fresh sliced mushrooms, chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil; add greens back to skillet to heat through. Serve over hot pasta or baked potatoes with a little Parmesan cheese.
* For a healthful soup, thaw frozen spinach, collards, kale or mustard greens in a saucepan of boiling water until heated through. Add to your favorite vegetable soup during the last five minutes of cooking.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2002|
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