Dark leafy greens are some of the healthiest, cheapest foods you can eat. If it were up to me, I’d put some on everyone’s grocery list this week! Swiss chard, kale and collard greens, to name a few, are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Broccoli is also in season, add that to your list and you’ve got some serious cancer fighting power. All of these veggies contain liberal amounts of phytonutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin, known for their cancer-fighting prowess.
I know you know what broccoli looks like and I am betting you’ve cooked with it, too. It’s the greens that mystify even the more experienced produce picker. To the uninitiated, they look like piles of weeds sitting in the produce department! Let’s remedy that and get cooking with greens.
Here are a quick five tips for choosing greens:
1âGo Green. Make sure you pick greens that are definitely green and not yellow, with nice healthy leaves.
2âStem Search. Some greens, like kale, collards and chard have thicker stems that should be removed before cooking (save them, freeze them and chop and add to your soup or stew for extra fiber). Make sure however, when you’re purchasing the thicker stemmed variety, that the stems are in good shape, not dried out, split and tough.
3âSweet Smell. If the greens you are considering smell rather “strong”, you might want to avoid them. They’ve probably been hanging around the produce department too long and need to be pitched.
4âCold Storage. Greens are hearty and can take refrigeration for up to 5 days if they’re left in their plastic bags and stored in the crisper.
5âQuick Prep. Get rid of big stems by tearing the leaves off one side and then off the other using your handsâa lot easier and faster than using a knife.
Now that you know how to pick, store and prep them, let’s cook with them!
Beans and Greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale, or other hearty green, rinsed, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or so, until soft. Add the greens and stir. Now add the beans, stirring in, salt and peppering to taste.
Add the chicken broth, cover and simmer till tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva since 2001
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