Recently, I got the cookbook Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas from the library. I’ve been on the holds list since this summer, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this excited about a cookbook.
No matter what your dietary preferences, we should all be eating more greens. At the beginning of the book, Atlas lists some of the health benefits of greens. Nutrients found in leafy greens include folic acid, vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber, and a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Greens are also anti-inflammatory, which is great for everyone, but particularly good news for those of us with autoimmune disorders. Of course, different types contain different amounts of key nutrients, so eating a variety of greens is really important.
When you think about the benefits of greens, they’re actually inexpensive, even when organically grown.
They’ve also been some of my most reliable garden growers, which makes them really inexpensive. Many types, including two of my favorites, kale and chard, do well in cold weather. Depending on where you live, you may still be able to plant seeds for them now. Although they’re more expensive, I also buy a few starts, because then I won’t have to wait quite as long to enjoy them.
This fall, I’ve planted swiss chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, and pak choy (an Asian green). Many of them are in containers or raised beds. They have organic fertilizer around them, and occaisionally I sprinkle a product called Sluggo around them; if I don’t do this, they get chewed through.
Last spring, I got an almost endless harvest from my collards and swiss chard, by just cutting the amount of leaves I needed each day . The plants would continuously replenish themselves.
I look forward to reporting back on the greens cookbook, and my own ideas for preparing greens. For now, if you’re living in a place where you still can plant greens, go for it! If nothing else, it’s nice to get the thrill of sprouts, when many of your other plants may be done for the year.