Arugula: Young tender leaves are delicately sweet with a buttery-smooth texture and subtle pepper taste with nutty undertones. Older leaves have a distinct pepper flavor and more sharpness. The leaves are used to season salad, soup, stir-fried, pastas, pizzas and rice. Arugula compliments cheese, citrus and egg dishes.
Health benefits: Arugula is high in vitamins A, C, and K; folate and calcium; and antioxidants, including lutein and glucoerucin (which prevents tissue damage by scavenging free radicals).
Asian Greens: This group varies from buttery to crisp, mild to spicy. Bok Choy (also known as pak choi) is tender and mild. It resembles chard but the stalks are thicker and much crisper. It is good for braising, stir-fries and simmering in soups. Mizuna has a sweet, mild taste and slightly crisp. It is excellent steamed, in soups, sauté’s stir-fries and fresh. Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard spinach that is sweet and mild with a hint of zesty mustard.
Health benefits: Asian greens are typically rich in viatamins A, C and K; folate, potassium and calcium; and caotenoid antioxidants including beta-carotene. Bok choy in particular has 28 different polyphenols (antioxidant phytochemicals), the most abundant being kaempferol, a natural falvonoid shown to have anti-cancer properties.
Beet Greens: Similar to a cross between swiss chard and spinach, but beet greens have a sweet, mild flavor, cook quick and offer a range of versatility. Use them fresh, steamed, sautéed, added to soups, stews, stir fries, mix with rice or pasta.
Health Benefits: Incredibly rich in nutrients,m with very high concentrations of vitamin A, potassium, iron and calcium. Beet greens are rich in flavonoid antioxidants and provide an excellent source of carotenoid antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Swiss Chard: This beautiful vegetable is a great addition to the vegetable garden as well as to the landscape garden. It has large thick green leaves, colored veins, and stalks that range in color from white, red, yellow or orange. Remove stalks and cook first before adding leaves to avoid overcooking leaves. Use leaves fresh or cooked and in the same fashion you would beet greens. Also excellent steamed with garlic.
Health Benefits: Chard is packed full of nutrients including vitamins C, E, manganese, zinc and phytonutrient antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutin, zeaxanthin, quercetin and kaempferol.
Collard Greens: Collards are a member of the cabbage family and are mild and somewhat buttery in texture and broader than Kale. They are best when slices and lightly steamed, sautéed or used in stir fry. Do not overcook, only cook briefly 5-10 min for best flavor and nutrition.
Health Benefits: Ranks high in vitamin K, A and C with manganese, folate and calcium. Rich in niacin and riboflavin and carotenoid antioxidants. It is the most powerful green to lower cholesterol due to its ability to bind to bile acids in the digestive tract.
Dandelion Greens: Believe it or not that yellow flower in your yard is very beneficial and is a cousin to the sunflower. The leaves are somewhat bitter and similar to escarole or chicory. Use the fresh leaves in salad, on sanwiches or stir-fry. Also good steamed, sautéed or steeped in a tea. Dandelion is known as a good laxative, a nonirritating diuretic and ideal to use as a spring tonic due to its liver cleaning properties.
Health Benefits: Leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K; minerals include iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dandelion has many trace elements and health benefiting antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.