Rich, dark greens are taking over the tables at farmers markets across the state. Frost-kissed leaves of collard, mustard and turnip greens along with kale, spinach and Swiss chard are in great supply.
On a recent trip to the farmers market, I bought some hearty collard greens and some freshly picked spinach leaves.
Collard greens are a variety of cabbage, but don't form a head. These thick, crisp leaves have a mild flavor and are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron, just to name a few healthful benefits. A few servings of these greens may perk you up on a chilly gray day.
Spinach also is a healthful green, rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron and manganese. These vitamins and minerals help protect your eyes, reduce certain types of stress and lower blood pressure. Nutritionists say cooking spinach may lessen some properties and enhance others. So, eating a variety of cooked and raw fresh spinach is key to getting all the nutrients it has to offer.
You can refrigerate these green leafy vegetables for three to five days before they begin to wilt, and their healthful properties may begin to diminish.
Wash the greens thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt. If the stems are fibrous or tough, remove them before cooking. I find that adding a little sweet white balsamic vinegar helps reduce bitterness although some cooks swear by adding a little baking soda.
Even though it’s been a bit of a gray and dreary winter, there has been enough sun and mild temperatures to make this a bountiful season for locally grown produce. You can find a variety of greens like these as well as carrots, radishes, tomatoes, potatoes and more at your local market.