Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Year 'Round Greens

Every health article and foodie blog boasts greens as one of the top 10 if not the top 3 healthy foods.  However, here in Florida, greens grow in the winter, and summertime is a greens desert unless you buy imported greens from the grocery store, or use canned or frozen.  

We've done a lot of posts about our perennial vegetable garden and how it's thriving in the summer heat.  Many of those plants provide summer greens with very little attention.   But they're strange, you say?  Actually, they taste much like the familiar greens we enjoy in the winter.  Some require cooking before eating, but others can be eaten raw and used in any recipe you already enjoy, as well as for salads, green smoothies, etc.

We took a salad and a dip to the Master Gardening quarterly meeting to introduce a few of the perennial vegetables we grow.  The two recipes were made with some of the VegHeadz' perennial greens, and they seemed to be a hit. 

The dip was a traditional "spinach" dip made with Chaya and Edible Elephant Ear.   Either or both of these greens are great spinach substitutes.  It is very hard to detect any difference.  The greens need to be boiled for a few minutes to remove harmful compounds, but then they can be used in any cooked spinach recipe.   Click here for the recipe and information on the two greens used.

The salad was a Red Beans and Rice salad to which we added a combination of four fresh perennial greens from the garden.   They were Sweet Potato Greens, Okinawa Spinach, Sochan, and Pacific Spinach (Slippery Cabbage).  These greens can be used raw or cooked.  Click here for the recipe and information on the four greens used.

For more on summer greens, see an interesting article on using the leaves of cowpeas (black-eyed peas, field peas, etc.).

Slippery Cabbage

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