Aside from peanuts and sweet potatoes, which grow year-round, pretty much the only seasonal produce in March in North Carolina is leafy greens: lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, cabbage… the list goes on. And the list of nutrients they provide goes on and on too: calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and E, and more.
A lot of people must love leafy greens, because there’s even a Leafy Greens Council! As a kid, I hated leafy greens. Everything from the bland taste and the hard-to-chew texture to the way that no one can eat a salad gracefully, well, just gross. But as an adult, I’ve slowly broadened my tastes. I enjoy a good salad – at first I would only eat iceberg lettuce and cucumbers with ranch dressing (my little sister called me “Plain Salad Girl” for a while), but now I’ve expanded to more variety. And after salads, a whole new world opened up. I still am pretty inexperienced in the wider world of leafy greens, but I am a huge spinach fan. I add spinach to everything — stews, pastas, curries. I love adding it in during the last couple minutes of cooking and watching it shrink down to a fraction of its original size. And I love that it tastes like the dish I added it to instead of like leaves.
The Center for Young Women’s Health reminds us that our bodies need healthy fat in order to absorb all those vitamins, so when you eat them, you should add things like butter, canola oil, olive oil, cheese, or salad dressing. I think I can handle that.
So what are leafy greens?
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
I’ve never even eaten probably half the things on that list. I probably could not identify half the things on that list. I guess I should research a little.
Time to get crackin’ on my leafy greens recipes. Here’s what I’ve got so far: