Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, bok choi, all members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. I confess, while we might be in the height of summer and watching more and more produce become available, I still regularly eat them even though I can find them at the farmer’s market year-round.
source used under Creative Commons.
These greens are incredibly nutritious. High in vitamins like K and D as well as calcium, they are certainly a beneficial addition to any diet. In the correct preparation, that is.
Green smoothies are currently popular, where the various greens are blended together raw. While these vegetables do have a lot of good properties, in their raw state they are packed with oxalates and goitrogenic. Oxalates can cause kidney stones and goitrogens inhibit the thyroid. Not exactly something you want to consume to improve your health. These are foods which should be cooked in order to gain the most benefit from them.
“But Soli,” I hear some of you say, “they don’t taste very good. They’re bitter!”
Yes, I know. It took me some time to learn how to properly prepare and season greens to make them more palatable. But once you learn how to cook them up well, you’ll be eating them on a regular basis. I promise you.
There are two big keys to making tasty greens.
1. Cook them in a good fat.
Foods which are high in fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin D, need to be served with healthy fats in order for the body to properly utilize them. Healthy and tasty fats, in fact. Use butter, olive oil, (non-hydrogenated) lard, tallow, duck fat, or other fats our bodies can digest properly. The southern tradition of collard greens and ham hock is a perfect example of people in the past knowing how best to make up their food.
2. The big taste secret: acid.
It’s not easy to counteract the taste of anything bitter. It sticks with you, it lingers. This makes it very difficult for people to willingly eat bitter but nutritious foods. You need a contrast to that bitter flavor. And it’s very likely you have that very ingredient in your kitchen already.
A fairly popular bottle in my house.
Vinegar. Beautiful, delicious vinegar. A good balsamic or apple cider vinegar provides the perfect contrast to the greens and brings out a flavor you may not have been aware they were capable of having.
I promise you, follow the following directions and you’re going to have very little in the way of leftovers the next time you serve greens!
Basic sauteed greens
Greens, however many you need to serve at the meal.
Healthy fat. I prefer butter or duck fat for cooking greens.
Spatula or metal spoon
1. Rinse greens. Remove stem and chop leaves into small pieces
2. Heat fat/oil on medium-high heat in pan.
3. When fat is melted, put large portion of greens (as much as will fit without overflowing) into pan.
4. Stir regularly as they cook down. When they reduce in size, add any additional raw greens to pan.
5. Cook down greens, stirring regularly.
6. Either portion on to plates or place in serving dish. Garnish with salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Don’t worry about skimping. Definitely sample before you serve, if you’re not used to preparing them in this way.
7. Serve and Happy Eating!!
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