Cooking Winter Greens

You see winter greens a lot in the vegetable aisle about this time of year, but the idea of cooking greens can be intimidating for some homemakers. They should not be worried. Greens are easy to cook, are packed with calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and a plant version of omega-3 fatty acids. So why the hesitation? Cleaning and cutting greens is a chore, and getting all the dirt and sand out of the leaves can be tough.

But you don’t have to anymore. Green grocers now offer cleaned and cut greens in bags that make a healthy soup or side dish. You can boil greens in salt water for a few minutes, and have a delicious side-dish to any meal, or you can make greens the center of the table. Try this:

  • Boil a chicken breast in 8 cups of water, some salt (not much) and some pepper. Remove the breast and set aside.  
  • Add a bag of pre-washed kale and slow boil for about 20 minutes. If you like a crunchier green, you can boil to taste. There is no limit. In southern kitchens, greens stay on the stove as long as the cook wants.
  • Add more water if necessary, some kidney beans, and cut up the chicken breast.
  • Serve in bowls with lots of juice.

Greens are a versatile offering. You can add anything to them, and they still taste great. But more important, nutritionists are beginning to notice the rich vitamin content, and low fat that greens offer. You don’t have to use traditional cooking methods for greens. Those include ham pieces, or ham hocks, and fatty additions. That way of southern cooking tended to make greens greasy, and while they tasted great, they weren’t very good for you.

Times have changed. Give greens a try.
Photo credit: Evan-Amos / Foter.com / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

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