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Spring Greens

An article by Jeff Watson, from the May 1996 issue of News In Natural.

Jeff Watson


You remember, that yucky green leafy stuff some of us really didn’t care for as kids. If Mom said they were good for us, they mustn’t taste good. Good thing Popeye set us straight on that one.

So now we’re grown up and sophisticated, what are all those strange plants on the produce rack, anyway?

Here, I’ll profile the more popular and nutritious ones, like Dandelion, Chard, Collards, Kale, Arrugula and Mustard Greens.


Dandelion Greens

Dandelion—I recently attended an Herb seminar where the herbologist said if he could choose only one herb/green to sustain himself, Dandelion would be it. It’s rich in vitamin A and C, seems to be good for stomach aches and mild constipation, andhelps maintain digestive regularity. Many North American tribes combined it with pennyroyal leaves to make a tea to relieve menstrual cramps. Young dandelion greens are great in salads if you like the slight bitterness. You can take the bitter out by hanging the greens upside down in a paper sack for a few days.


A Field Full Of Dandelion Flowers
Collard Greens In A Bowl
Collard Greens

Collards—A hearty broad leaf green, very high in calcium. In fact, it’s the highest one I could find in my research. It’s also very high in vitamin A, C and amino acids. This green is great in salads when young. Collards are most commonly used in hearty winter soups or slightly steamed as a nutritious side dish.


Chard Garden
Rainbow Chard

Chard—A popular green, especially in northern Italian cuisine. It’s used in soups, sautees, pasta dishes, and salads. It’s loaded with vitamin A and C, and it also has naturally occurring sodium and calcium. Chard is slightly sweet in a salad. If you steam it, try a sprinkle of red wine vinegar. Yumm.


Kale In A Bowl

Kale—A course leafed green, usually slightly steamed as a side dish or added to hearty soups and stir fries. Kale is excellent in salads when harvested young and tender.


Arugula on pizza
Arugula Greens On Pizza

Arrugula—A great salad additive. It’s slightly spicy, like radish, but coupled with its buttery texture, it’s a unique experience. I really encourage you to try this one.


Beet Greens

Beet Greens—High in vitamin A, potassium and calcium,these are very tasty steamed or in soups. But don’t juice them, I’ve read the fibers can break up in juicers and cause great discomfort. 


Mizuna Mustard

Mizuna mustard—For those of you who like mustard green flavor but can’t handle the spicyness, this one’s for you. Mild and tender.

Mustard Greens

So there you have a brief profile of some of the most interesting, flavorful, and nutritional greens grown on planet Earth. Many of you have had our incredible baby salad mix. Most of these greens and a few more are found in this mix. Next time you’re in, ask one of our friendly produce staff to help identify the different types so you know which ones are your favorites. Then you can buy full bunches and really spoil yourself on the nutritional greens of your choice.

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