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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by Eating Greens

Did you know that leafy greens are packed with nutrition and taste? Examples include kale, dandelion, turnip, collard, mustard, beet, and chard. These are often called “cooking greens.” Many greens can be eaten raw when they’re in their tender young stage. As they mature they grow tougher and have a stronger taste that cooking tames. What Nutrients are in Greens? The list is long. Here are the main ones:

  • Beta carotene (the dark outer leaves contain the most beta carotene)
  • Vitamin C, A, B6, and E
  • Fiber
  • Various minerals – especially iron and calcium

Interesting Tid Bits about Greens

  • Countries whose populations eat primarily vegetarian diets (including China) can get their total calcium needs met from eating greens.
  • Of the greens, dandelion and turnip greens contain the most calcium.
  • A pound of raw greens cooks down to about 1/2 cup.

Preparing Greens

Greens are great spring cleansers. So it’s the perfect time to buy and eat them! When grocery shopping this week, I saw a beautiful bunch of dandelion greens and bought them as an experiment. I had never cooked this kind of greens but assumed it would be similar to cooking other greens. I sauteed them with onions and portabella mushrooms and added a little salt. Very tasty. Here are a few additional preparation tips for greens:

  • Clean them thoroughly. Trim off any roots and swish them in a large bowl of water. Do not soak them. You may notice sand and other debris in the bottom of the bowl after rinsing them. Not to worry! They do come from the earth so a little grit is normal.
  • Cut off particularly tough or inedible stems.
  • Saute in a small amount of oil with fresh chopped garlic, onions or leeks. You may also enjoy adding stock. Greens are also great additions to soups.
  • When serving, you may want to top the cooked greens with slivered almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds or other nuts/seeds of your choice.

Why not give greens a try? They pack a huge nutritional punch and are becoming more widely available. Ask the produce manager if they have greens from local farmers.

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    Cheryl Miller is a wellness expert and life coach. She specializes in helping people take action to live a healthy, happy life . . . in this lifetime.

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