This guest post from Tracey Miller, a health and wellness coach and food educator, will help you in selecting and using some of spring’s long-awaited greens now coming into abundance at the farmers’ markets. Tracey is active in teaching about the benefits of eating locally, and will be leading the upcoming In the Kitchen Workshop: Feeding Families from the Farmers’ Fields. For more information about Tracey, and her new schedule of health and wellness classes based on local food, please visit www.traceymillerwellness.com.
Winter is finally behind us and it’s time trade in our meat and potatoes and welcome the deep, leafy greens that spring brings. Greens like Swiss chard, kale, arugula and spinach, offer a powerhouse of nutrition such as calcium and other essential minerals which most Americans lack.
The green pigment in dark greens also contains chlorophyll which helps increase our beneficial bacteria and strengthen our blood and respiratory systems. The more bitter the better to help eliminate mucous and prevent colds and allergies. Chlorophyll also helps prevent cancer, purifies the liver, and sweetens the breath!
The slightly bitter flavor of greens competes with sweet and savory foods, but you’ll find as you eat more greens, you’ll stop craving sugary treats. Bok choy, dandelion greens, watercress, sorrel, pea shoots are all in season and can be tossed into salads, stir fries or lightly sautéed without much fuss. Here are two simple ways to enjoy some spring greens:
This slightly peppery pesto goes great over pasta, on crackers or as a marinade for chicken.
Blend 4–5 cups of fresh arugula, ½ cup mint, 4–5 cloves garlic, ½ cup pine nuts, and a dash of salt and pepper in a food processor while slowly streaming in about ½ – ¾ of a cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve. This pesto also freezes well.
Spring “Green” Saute
Use Swiss chard, kale, or beet greens in this simple sauté. One bunch of greens will serve 4 people. They key is not to overcook them or they become bitter.
First, submerge the leaves into some cold water to clean them. Then, fold the leaves in half, and strip the leaves from the stalks. Coarsely chop the stems and the greens. Saute the chopped stems with 1–2 cloves of garlic until soft. Add the greens and a splash of water. Cook for approximately 4–5 minutes on medium heat until the greens are wilted. To change it up, add a squeeze of lemon, soy sauce, or even a dash of toasted sesame oil.
Some other spring recipes from my blog: