Spring planting season is days away, and I know you're anticipating it as much as we are here at the urban farm! For most of us, this winter was a mild one. Not a lot of freezes meant for a slower winter crop development, but an extended growing season. If you're like us, you're savoring the last of your winter greens! Here's how to make the most of these nutritious treats:
Cilantro, you sassy little herb, you. Most of us garnish our tacos each Tuesday (or whenever!) with this gem, but do you know the health benefits? It's high in vitamin K, which is great for blood clotting and bone mass. Not to mention potassium, vitamins A and C, plus a great amount of antioxidants! We use cilantro in more than just our Latin cooking...it works well in veggie burgers, Asian-inspired salads, and salad dressings.
Kale is the most popular of the superfoods. You know what to do with it by now - smoothies, salads, sauteed as a side dish, juiced...the possibilities are endless! But do you know which nutrients this leafy green contains? The minerals include zinc, calcium, and potassium, and the vitamins range from A to C to B12 to K! Want healthy, bright eyes and great skin? It also contains Omega-3. Look for the darkest leaves for the most benefit. This is truly the best green to nosh in a variety of ways!
Collards, which are best started directly in the ground as seed (a fun fact Mr. Man taught me from his years on his grandparents' farm in Mississippi), are members of the cruciferous family. It's a great family to belong to - broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and rutabaga are the collard's relatives. This southern staple is full of vitamins A and C, plus iron, magnesium, and potassium. To prepare, I usually saute a large yellow onion with some whole peeled garlic, add a little veggie stock to deglaze, drop the chopped collards in, and cover with water, allowing them to simmer on low for at least 3 hours. Lots of people use bacon or hamhock to add flavor, but I find salt and pepper do enough for me and maintain the color of the greens the way I like it.
There's nothing better than feeling your body absorbing vitamins and minerals and working at its optimum level of health. The last of the winter veggies will get you on the right track to enjoy the seasonal spring harvest, so eat 'em up while you can!
Till next time,
Dallas Farmer Gal