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March Vegetable of the Month: Cooked Greens

The March Vegetable of the Month is Cooked Greens!

Cooked greens can include a variety of (green!) leafy vegetables like collard, mustard, kale, swiss chard, spinach, and bok choy! Their super power is that they are rich in antioxidants, which help fight aging and disease. The darker the color, the higher levels of antioxidants the vegetable has!

While each nutrient make-up is different for each type of green, leafy cooked greens are often rich in:

  • Vitamin C—a powerful antioxidant for your immune system.
  • Vitamin E—great for eye health.
  • Vitamin A—for cell health.
  • Vitamin K—known to help decrease the risk of certain cancers.

Did You Know?

  • When you cook leafy greens, the taste of the vegetable changes and more of the nutrients become available to your digestive system!
  • Cooked greens are low in sugar, carbohydrates, sodium, and cholesterol!
  • Dandelion greens are edible (yes the weed) and enhance heart and liver health! If you’re picking dandelion greens from the lawn, make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that can make you sick!

How to Harvest and Store Cooked Greens

Keep unwashed greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer for 3 days, or 5 days if wrapped in a wet paper towel. Edible greens will have fresh, green leaves. Do not eat leaves that appear wilted or yellow in color to avoid rot.

Tips to Get Children to Eat Cooked Greens

  • Add to sandwiches and wraps
  • Toss into a green smoothie
  • Make a fun kabob stick with their favorite foods
  • Add to a breakfast omelet

Ways to Eat Cooked Greens

  • Steam
  • Sauté
  • Bake
  • Boil

Let’s Get Cooking

Wilted Swiss Chard with Garlic

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. swiss chard, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, optional

Directions

  1. Rinse the greens in several changes of cold water
  2. Remove the stems and chop them into 1-inch pieces, set aside
  3. Stack the leaves and roll them into a tube shape
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut across each tube until all the greens are chopped
  5. Heat a skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat with olive oil and minced garlic. Add the wet swiss chard, one handful at a time and stir after each addition
  6. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook the greens for about 5 minutes, keeping the bright color
  7. Remove the lid and cook over medium-high heat until all the liquid has evaporated (about 2-3 minutes)
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired

Garlic Bok Choy

Ingredients

  • 1 bok choy (1 pound)
  • 5 cloves garlic (use 4-6 cloves, minced or 1–1 ½ teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Cut the bok choy crosswise into easy-to-eat pieces
  2. In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, saute garlic in oil until fragrant. If using garlic powder, add with salt in the next step
  3. Add bok choy and stir quickly, add salt, and stir until greens are wilted and stem pieces are tender-crisp
  4. Serve hot

For more creative parsnip-based recipes visit MyPlate Kitchen! With so many possibilities, like Collard Green Gumbo, Seared Greens, and Smothered Greens, you’re sure to find something that is tasty for the whole family!

Fact Check: SDSU Extension, MyPlate Kitchen, Dr. Axe

 

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!Explore more Fruits & Veggies of the Month!

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