Selecting and Storing Greens
Following is a partial list of the "super" greens to use in your diet:
- Beet Greens
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Lamb's Quarters
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard
That is only a partial list of the kinds of these "super" greens. Green leafy herbs like basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, and mint provide many of the same benefits.
Greens are easy to grow, so if you have even a small yard, you may wish to consider growing your own. Most greens can be planted in spring after all frost is gone, and harvested July through August. Kale, collards, and mustard greens can be planted again in the fall. They winter nicely and produce fresh growth again in early spring.
If growing your own greens is not a viable choice for you, try your local farmers' market or local natural foods market. Look for bright-colored, perky-looking greens. Pass by any bunch with brown spots, yellowing edges, or limp-looking leaves, and choose the more vitalized ones. Smaller leaves indicate a more immature plant, which means the greens may need little or no cooking. Their flavors will be milder and more delicate. Larger, thicker-leaved greens require a little more care but will have more robust flavors. You could also choose organic greens for the best possible flavors.
Storing Your Greens
Vegetables are respiring, which means that they need moisture and air to survive. If you store wet greens in a sealed plastic bag, they will rot. If you toss a bunch of greens onto the bottom shelf of the fridge without a bag, they will dry out and wilt due to moisture loss.
The best way to store vegetables is slightly wet in an open or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Fresh herbs do well if you trim off about 1/2-inch from the root ends, place them in a jar of water with a plastic bag over the top, and store them in the refrigerator. Stored properly, greens should keep about three days.