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Friday, June 19, 2015
We're at peak right now for the harvesting of cool season vegetables. These vegetable families include swiss chard, kale, cabbage, lettuce, kohlrabi, bok choy, spinach, and many others. When you hear about greens, many people think about the ones mentioned along with turnip and collards greens. These can be prolific producers depending on the season. But there are a number of other greens that I want to spotlight that many people don't think about eating or even know that they can eat them.
The greens from radish are edible. They tend to, in my opinion, have a peppery taste to them. They do have some prickly parts to them so be cautious of that as they may not be as appetizing because of these characteristics. I've previously stripped the radish greens from the radish stalk and sautéed them with other greens. In the photo below, you can see that there are some prickly parts on the radish greens which some people do not tend to like.
I've been eating broccoli greens my entire life. My grandparents in Tennessee grew broccoli solely for the purpose of the broccoli leaves. It was not until later in my adult life that I understood that no one else grew up on broccoli greens as most southerners were using turnip and collards for their greens. Yet my family was growing broccoli, harvesting the leaves, blanching them, freezing them, and later cooking them. If you grow broccoli, you want to wait until the broccoli head is ready to be removed as removing any leaves will impact the development of broccoli. Like radish, you want to remove the stalks of the broccoli leaves before cooking them.
The greens on the tops of beets are also edible. Beet greens tend to have a similar flavor as kale. Stems and leaf can be separated to cook down. Beet greens are used sometimes in Indian cooking and you can find a lot of interesting Indian recipes that call for the use of beet greens. In the photo below, you can see that some recipes do not require the stripping of the leaves either.
These three greens I've talked about today can all be cooked in the same way that you might cook your traditional greens. Some of them may also be fine eaten raw. I like to cook multiple greens together as each of these greens I've mentioned have different flavors. For instance, if I'm cooking kale, I might add radish greens or broccoli greens to them. What I like about these three I've mentioned is that I'm not wasting any leaf tissue. I'm using all parts of the vegetables. Like other greens, there are good vitamins within these unusual greens I've mentioned today.
Talk to your grower if you want large quantities of some of these greens. They may be able to sell you large amounts of say broccoli leaves that will not be used after broccoli has been harvested.
So seek out some of these greens, experiment with adding them into your recipes, and see what you think. Chances are you may have just found your new favorite green.