Heart, Healthy Winter Greens
Whether or not this is true, we can all appreciate the heart healthy benefits of adding winter greens to our daily diet.
Delicious and healthy greens are available throughout the year, but winter is typically when the dark leafy green bounty is at its peak. There’s so much to choose from: Swiss chard, kale, and collards thrive in winter, as do turnips, and mustard greens.
Winter greens are a rich source of micronutrients: particularly, the antioxidant beta carotene as well as vitamin K1, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron. The addition of these leafy green vegetables to your plate not only provides flavor, but vital health benefits including: lowering cholesterol, preserving vision health, preventing colon cancer, boosting bone health, as well as providing energy to get through your day.
Types of Winter Greens
Many varieties of lettuce grow in the winter such as Butter Head, Oakleaf, Iceberg and many types of loose leaf lettuce.
Broccoli rabe has long, slender, sometimes tough stems with dark green, rippled leaves. The bright yellow flowers are also edible.
A favorite in the American South, collard greens have large, thick, dark green leaves, each branching from a thick central stem. Their flavor is mild, but the tough texture calls for long cooking.
A slightly bitter member of the chicory family with broad, ruffled leaves, escarole can be eaten cooked or raw.
As a member of the cabbage family, kale has firm, tightly crinkled leaves on long stems. Sturdy kale is dark green in color, with an earthy flavor similar to cabbage; it holds its texture well in cooking.
Light green with hints of yellow, mustard greens come in different varieties that range in size, shape and sharpness.
Spinach has dark green leaves and an earthy, faintly bitter flavor. Several varieties are available: Some have thick, crinkled leaves, while others are smooth and flat. Small, immature leaves, marketed as baby spinach, are sold in bulk in many markets and are an excellent salad green.
Also known as chard, this green has large, crinkled leaves on fleshy, ribbed stems. There are two varieties: one with red stems and another with pearly white stems. Red chard, also marketed as rhubarb or ruby chard, has a slightly earthier flavor, while chard with white stems tends to be sweeter.
Among the most assertive of the dark greens, turnip greens are rarely eaten raw. They boast rich flavor when slowly braised and are often mixed with collard and mustard greens.
Sweet, creamy-tasting and crunchy when raw; buttery tasting, earthy when cooked. Cook the cabbage slowly, in a little oil with a few tablespoons of water-to concentrate its flavors and keep its leaves plump.
At Farmview Market we have a tremendous selection of Georgia Grown Wintergreens for you to choose from for you to enjoy. Stop into the grocery today and enjoy some tonight. We also, even have a delicious Creamed Collards recipe that YOU must try!
2 pounds collards, cut and stemmed
6 oz. bacon, cubed
4 oz. onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. heavy cream
2 oz. butter
4 oz. parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a medium pot, render fat from bacon on medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes.
Add onion and butter and sauté 4 minutes. Include garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add collards and 1 quart of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and drain.
In small pot, mix cream cheese, heavy cream and 2 oz parmesan and heat on low for 10 minutes and mix thoroughly.
Combine cheese mixture and drained collards and mix well.
Place in a casserole or baking dish, and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.