Guest Author - Launa Stout
The selection of greens available in the United States seems to multiply from day to day. I know when I was growing up all we can choose from was iceberg lettuce and green cabbage; and now when I walk down the produce aisle, or stop at a farmers market, I have a veritable potpourri of choices. At first blush you may feel intimidated by so many choices that you may not be familiar with.
But don’t be scared or timid, take charge! Besides thinking of all the great nutrition you can be adding to your meals, think of it as an adventure. Don’t worry what the kids will say, or what your roommate will say, or even what your spouse may say… you want this adventure!
As you walk through the produce section look around and take a chance. If you don’t you will always wonder what you missed.
Be adventurous, and take a new green leafy vegetable home to dinner at your house. Once at home you have several options… you can toss some into a simple salad. Of if you want to taste it warm, sauté a little bit in olive oil and chicken broth. Or try it in a stir-fry. Or wilt it as a bed for fish or simmer some in a soup.
Bok Choy: beautiful with its white stems and green leaves- both parts are delicate and edible. Also, look for baby Bok Choy- young and tender.
Chinese cabbage:: some varieties are the barrel-shaped napa and the more elongated michihili which are mild and crunchy.
Choy Sum:: this one is slightly bitter and the stems are tenderer than the leaves. You can also eat the tiny yellow flowers.
Muzuna:: the name means “water vegetable” because the stalks are very juicy. Use the baby leaves in salads; but the mature leaves are better cooked.
Green Mustard: : many varieties with leaves of different shapes. The flavor of green mustard will always be pungent.
Red Mustard: wow! The flavor is similar to hot wasabi.
Pea shoots: these are the tendrils and top few leaves of the snow pea plant. You will find the delicate pea flavor coming through raw, or steamed or stir-fried.
Tatsoi: this is the ground-hugging member of the bok choy family. It has thick, dark leaves that grow like rose petals. It is slightly bitter, but really great raw. Add some sparkle to soups by tossing it in at the last minute.
You will enjoy the adventure of trying new greens, and then next week you can try some more!