veggie of the month - salad greens

January Vegetable of the Month: Salad Greens

Live Well Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Food Council is proud to present the Eat Well, Live Well campaign! Each month this campaign will highlight a new fruit or vegetable.

The January Vegetable of the Month is Salad Greens!

So which vegetables are considered ‘salad greens’? There are a variety including lettuce, collard, kale, Swiss chard, turnip, mustard greens and broccoli rabe.

Lettuce Greens: Try a variety of lettuce greens like Romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston, bibb, butterhead, radicchio (a small red/purple lettuce) and more. Dark colored greens pack more nutrition in each leaf. Two cups of green leaf lettuce provides more than 100% daily value of Vitamin A (essential for healthy vision), more than 150% of Vitamin K (ensures proper bone growth), an excellent source of Vitamin C (supports a healthy immune system and may help prevent heart disease) and a good source of the essential mineral manganese (supports the immune system and normal blood sugar levels).

Collard Greens and Kale: Kale has dark green leaves that are very curly on the ends. Collard greens have large, flat, dark green leaves. Collard green are generally sweeter than kale. Some varieties of kale have a strong taste and others have a milder, buttery taste. A great way to balance the flavors is to cook them together.

Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is among the many green vegetables rich in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients is a broad name for a wide variety of compounds produced by plants that are beneficial to the body. The leaf of Swiss chard is green, but the ribs and stem can be a variety of vibrant colors like red, yellow or even multi-colored. Each color provides unique and beneficial effects of its associated phyto­nutrients. One cup of cooked Swiss chard provides over 100% daily value of vitamin A and K, and 50% of your daily vitamin C. It is also rich in magnesium and is a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, and fiber.

Turnip and Mustard Greens: Turnip greens change in flavor as they age. They are slightly sweet when young but take on a stronger taste and tougher texture as they age. Mustard greens on the other hand have a slight peppery taste.

Broccoli Rabe: Broccoli Rabe, also known as Broccoli Raab and Rapini, is a part of the broccoli family and has a very strong, bitter flavor. One way to make them less bitter is to blanch them before cooking. Blanch vegetables by placing in boiling water for a very short amount of time and then quickly cooling in an ice bath, a large quantity of cold water, to stop the cooking process.

For all Salad Greens:

  • Choose greens that are crisp and colorful. The more color the more nutrients!
  • Choose lettuce heads that are compact and firm.
  • Avoid greens that are wilted, discolored or slimy.
  • Refrigerate in a dry plastic bag for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Cook in a variety of ways including boiling, sautéing, braising, steaming and stir-frying.
  • Add onions, garlic and/or pepper vinegar when cooking greens for extra flavor.
  • Store cooked greens in the freezer in sealed plastic bags so they are ready for use in soups, casseroles and stir-fry’s.

The featured Sioux Falls chef and restaurant this month is Chef Matthew from Pomegranate Market. Learn more about salad greens and get Chef Matthew’s Kale Ceviche recipe with this Pick It! Try It! Like It! fact sheet.

Don’t stop there! Find ways to promote salad greens at your work, school, childcare, and in your community!

Sources: Eat Well Live Well Campaign, Pick It! Try It! Like It!, Harvest of the MonthFruits & Veggies More Matters, Harvard Medical School Patient Education Center, & University of Georgia Department of Foods and Nutrition.

Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!

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