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Leafy greens can be steamed, baked, added to stirfry or blended into a smoothie
Leafy greens like kale can be steamed, added to stirfry or blended into a smoothie
Leafy greens are low in calories and high in fibre, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, folic acid and chlorophyll. And many varieties of leafy greens, especially members of the cruciferous (cabbage) family such as collards, kale and bok choy, are also rich sources of vitamin C.
Regardless of variety, always look for crisp leaves with vibrant colour. Yellowing is a sign of age and indicates that the greens may be off.
Young leafy greens generally have small tender leaves and a mild flavour. Many mature plants have tougher leaves and stronger flavours.
Choose mild-flavoured greens such as collards, chard, bok choy or spinach when you want their flavour to blend well with other ingredients in your dish.
For a medium sharpness choose kale, and for stronger, assertive flavours, select mustard, arugula, mizuna or turnip greens. Collards, kale, turnip greens and mustard greens are best from October through early spring.
One pound of fresh, untrimmed greens will typically serve two to three people. To prepare greens for washing, cut off the stems and discard any bruised leaves. For greens with tough stems, such as kale, remove the fibrous stem, which can be done easily by grabbing the leaves near the stem end and pulling up toward the top.
Chard, bok choy, turnip and beet greens have tender stems that can be eaten along with the leaves.
Peppery, delicate texture. Use raw in salads or sandwiches; versatile for cooking.
Mild, slightly sweet, very tender. Steam, braise or sautée; eat raw in salads.
Sweet, mild, stays crisp when cooked. Use in stir-fries, salads or soups.
Tender, chewy, robust flavour. Sautée or braise; typical in Italian fare.
Mild, sweet, cooks to tender texture. Steam, braise or sautée, shrinks less than other greens when cooked.
Pungent, spicy, bitter. Eat small leaves raw; braise or sautée longer leaves.
Tender, bitter, high in fibre. Eat raw in salads; cook briefly for milder flavour.
Coarse, mildly bitter. Eat raw in salads, steam, braise or add to soups.
Mildly peppery, tender. Boil, steam or sautée; tough stems and ribs must be removed.
Tender, spicy, exotic flavour. Serve raw or slightly wilted; mix with other greens in salads.
Subtle hot mustard flavour. Steam, braise or sautée. Tough stems and ribs must be removed.
Soft, sweet, rich flavour. Eat raw in salads and sandwiches, sautée, braise, add to soups, quiches or pasta.
Swiss Chard (Red, Green, Rainbow)
Tender, sweet, velvety texture. Wilt, sautée, braise, add to soups, casseroles or pasta. Red chard may dye other foods.
Sharp, bitter. Boil until silky for traditional Southern style.
Article courtesy of Whole Foods Market, Canada’s leading natural and organic retailer. B.C.’s Whole Foods Markets are committed to their communities, sourcing locally grown products whenever possible and raising money for local charities through a variety of in-store events and programs. Visit wholefoodsmarket.com for the latest featured products, recipes and events in your area.