Sunday, June 29, 2008


One cup of cooked kale has more than 10 times your daily vitamin K requirement, which helps support healthy bones, plus manganese for bone density and carotenoids for eye health.

One cup of cooked Swiss chard provides nearly one-third of your daily potassium requirement to help lower blood pressure - plus iron and vitamin C.

Mustard and turnip greens have plenty of the bone-healthy vitamins K and C, folate, calcium and vitamin E, a potent antioxident.

For $1.29 (or $2.49 for organic), the cost of purchasing a packet of seeds can amount to a full garden full of vitamins to keep you healthy (NOTE:  If, by chance, you know that you are a possible clotter, then you know that you MUST tread lightly with vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin K - such as spinach and red grape juice (clear juice is fine).

The easiest of vegetables to grow from seed are those that require little maintenance; such as Swiss chard.  It looks beautiful in a garden or a container and is available with stalks in an array of brilliant colors.  Swiss chard grows back as you harvest it, so one crop will last months.  Use the young leaves in salads, or harvest stalks with scissors, cutting an inch or two above the soil.

Most leafy green seeds can be planted directly in the garden as early in spring as the soil can be worked.  Provide about an inch of water once a week and use compost, mulch, grass clippings or hay to add nutrients, retain moisture and discourage weeds, retain moisture and discourage weeds.  A natural fertilizer especially designed for plants grown in containers is also useful.  For greens that don't grow back once harvested, new seeds can be planted every few weeks for a steady supply.

The best way to store greens is to keep them slightly wet in an open or perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Greens may have a reputation for bitterness, but this can be cooked out.  Don't steam them, this intensifies the bitterness.  Most greens take between one and six minutes to fully cook, depending on their leaf thickness.  Simmer or saute the greens.  

As for dressings - I no longer care for the thick, sugary glop sold in the grocery stores.  I've weaned my children off them, too.  The husband, on the other hand....if it's loaded with sugar and is orange, he'll eat it.  He's a 50's kid whose taste-buds border on being made of cardboard.  If it's not a food derivative, it's not food (to him).  And he's thin, to boot!

This is the dressing I make for myself and the kids (exclude husband who is hooked on Thousand Islands - I've actually seen this man make himself and Thousand Islands dressing sandwich with corn flakes slammed between two pieces of bread.  I kid you not.):

Per person:

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
One half lemon juice
2 tbl. olive oil

Chop garlic in chopper (food processor - but do not turn into paste)
Add the slat and lemon juice and THEN start blending while adding olive oil.  After about 20 minutes, the oil will separate.  Just give it a shake.  I also use this dressing on chicken and ground lamb in pita bread (with a little feta cheese).

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