May 8-11, 2017
We only get 22 weeks to offer news and info through your CSA newsletter this season, and here we are dedicating a whole newsletter article to greens. This should tell you how important we think greens are, and also it should tell you that you need to get ready to eat some greens!
Leafy greens are versatile and delicious, and besides that, they’re nutritional powerhouses. The US Department of Agriculture says leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and B. Greens also have a lot of carotenoids—the antioxidants that protect cells and may help block the early stages of cancer—fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. What greens are missing are tons of carbs, sodium and cholesterol. They have low calorie count and a low glycemic index, too.
Adding greens to your diet increases dietary fiber, which regulates your digestion and aids in weight management. Studies have shown that eating two to three servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
All the Greens
Here’s a quick rundown of the greens we expect to give you this year and ideas of how you can use them.
Bok Choy: This Asian green has a surprisingly wide range of uses, including slaws, soups and stir fries. You may only see this once or twice, so don’t get worried!
Cabbage: Here’s a type of leafy vegetable that can have an article all to itself. There’s red cabbage, green cabbage, savoy cabbage and Napa cabbage, and each has a slightly different flavor, texture and use. As we offer different types of cabbage to you, we’ll offer recipes, too.
Collard Greens: These dark-green leaves are excellent substitutes for your tortilla wraps, not to mention they cook down into recipes hailing from Africa and the American South, plus renditions that involve braising, sautéing and seasoning with all range of spices from around the world.
Kale: We grow several types of kale, including green curly, Russian varieties and lacinato (also called Tuscan black or dinosaur kale). These are interchangeable in all kale recipes, though lacinato holds up the best in soups, Russian is the sweetest and our choice for salads, and green curly is the good-for-everything choice. Strip the leaves from the stalks, and use the leaves in all manner of dishes. Baby kale will make an appearance now and then, too, and you can use the whole leaf in salads or lightly cooked.
Lettuce: Everyone knows what to do with lettuces—you eat them in salad. You can also put these to work as a soup (yes, really) and as wrap for your sandwich. We have green, red, butterhead, loose-leaf and head lettuce on their way.
Spinach: Spinach is a perennial favorite! We grow several different kinds—smooth-leaf, red-veined and savoyed-leaf (the curly ones). They can be used interchangeably, and you may see a little of each in your shares, particularly in the spring.
Swiss Chard: This Mediterranean vegetable is fully edible. Cut the leaf away from the brightly colored stem, then chop the stem. Cook the stem pieces in the same way that you cook the leaf—just give stem pieces a little extra cooking time to soften.
Pea Shoots: These are the actual beginnings of the pea plant, and they can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Top a salad, add to pasta, pile on a sandwich to enjoy the fresh flavor of peas.
Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens and Arugula: These are greens that you won’t see too much in your share—once maybe, if at all, during the season. We do offer them at the farmers markets. With green or bold-purple leaves, mustard greens’ peppery flavor is excellent sautéed with onion. Arugula, also a little spicy, can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. It’s wonderful in salad, on top of pizza and stirred into pasta.
Bonus Greens: These aren’t items we’ll give you on their own, rather they’re bonuses that come with their accompanying vegetables. The most popular may be beet greens that can be used like spinach or Swiss chard. Two others include radish greens, which can be cooked like collard or turnip greens, and kohlrabi greens, which are used like cabbage.
Greens Prep and Use
Remember to wash your vegetables! We rinse and cool the greens after harvest, but we don’t offer them ready-to-eat.
Try to refrigerate your greens as soon as possible (and definitely don’t leave them in your hot car). If your greens have a journey after you receive them and are looking wilty, cut the bottom of the stems and put them in water, like a flower bouquet. They should perk up again.
As we offer greens in your CSA share and recipes to accompany them, know that many greens can substitute for one another. Kale, spinach, chard and collards are similar enough that they can be used in place of one another in recipes with only slight taste or texture differences. Bok choy and cabbage are similar, as well.
If cooking greens are backing up in your refrigerator, turn to the trusty staple dishes: stir-fry, omelet or soup. And when you’re really at a loss, freeze or ferment them for later! Do a quick internet search for freezing or fermenting instructions specific to each type of green, or ask us!
We are confident you will discover a new favorite greens recipe this season—and please let us know when you do! We believe in the power of eating greens and encourage you to explore the possibilities.—Lisa Munniksma
In Your Share
Dried Black Beans
Dried Black Eyed Peas