GREENS MAKE THE GRADE!
Many leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins A and C and contribute calcium, iron, fiber and other nutrients. The federal government's National Cancer Institute reports that foods rich in vitamins A and C have been associated with the reduced risk of certain cancers. Greens are very low in calories and sodium. For instance, one cup of chopped raw spinach has just 14 calories. A = cup serving of cooked collards has just 38 calories. All greens are free of fat and cholesterol.
Leafy Greens In-School Promotion
SELECTION AND STORAGE
When selecting greens for cooking, remember they cook down considerably - from one-quarter or more - from their original volume. So purchase accordingly, i.e., 1 pound raw kale yields about 2 = cups cooked kale; 1 pound mustard greens yields 1 = cups cooked greens. To store greens, wrap them in damp paper toweling, then place in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate. If the greens are purchased in good condition and if the paper toweling is kept moist, most varieties will keep one week.
PREPARING LEAFY GREENS
Wash greens throughly. Place them in a sink filled with lukewarm water and swish around; (tepid water helps to remove the grit faster than cool water). Remove any roots, stem the greens if necessary, and repeat the washing process until the grit disappears. For salad greens, whirl in a salad spinner or pat dry in paper toweling. Mild-flavored greens like spinach, kale or chard can be steamed until barely tender. Stronger-flavored greens like collards, mustard or turnip greens benefit from longer cooking in a seasoned broth. They should also be blanched before adding to soups and stews, otherwise a bitter flavor will predominate. Note: Don't cook greens in aluminum cookware which affects both their appearance and taste. Garden fresh greens offer rich nutritional goodness and delicious, satisfying eating. There's a bounty of leafy greens for eating raw in salads or cooked to flavorful perfection.
- Garnish cooked greens with crisp bacon, chopped onion or scallion, sauteed sliced fresh mushrooms or croutons.
- Most greens are interchangeable in recipes, but their flavor characteristics vary.
- Combine stronger-flavored greens with mild-tasting varieties to perk up the flavor of the more subtle vegetables.
- Serve sauteed creamed spinach or kale as a bed for poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, fish fillets or chicken breasts.
- Spark up salads with a combination of greens.
- Use sauteed wilted greens in quiches, omelets and fritattas.