Monday, November 7, 2011

Farmer's Market - Part VIII

 As you know by now I love my green vegetables, and after my last few trips to the farmers market my love has only grown stronger . Once or twice a week, I head over to Lani’s Farm stand at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.

I always find myself drawn to Lani’s because they have vegetables cooking as you are shopping. They usually have somewhere between 2 and 6 vegetables going at once and they prepare them perfectly. Each vegetable is cooked EXACTLY the same way, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, a little Jalapeño and THAT IS IT, does it get any easier? *note: some greens are blanched in water for a minute prior to sautéing*

After trying what they have cooked I usually choose 3 vegetables to base my dishes around for the week. Below are my most recent additions to my life, and you should consider adding them to yours.  Try these vegetables prepared both as mentioned above and raw.

Bok Choy - Also known as Chinese white cabbage, this vegetable is a great addition to your diet and can be found year round in farmer’s markets and supermarkets anywhere. The healthiest member of the cabbage family is full of Vitamin C, Calcium, Dietary Fiber and Potassium. Enjoy this vegetable prepared many ways, sauté, braise or add to a soup. Mildly flavored with a tender sweetness this vegetable is a welcome accompaniment to many meals without overpowering.

Italian Dandelion - This edible green has been used as medicine. Dandelions are very nutritious having more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables. The leaves are eaten in a salad or boiled in water to make tea, which is known to strengthen and purify the blood. To learn more about this top ranking green check out this article Health Benefits of Dandelions .

Mustard Greens - Mustard greens are low in calories and contain a large amount of antioxidants. They provide an excellent source of vitamins B6, C, and E, folic acid, calcium, carotenes, manganese, copper, and fiber.  They also offer a good source of phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B2, magnesium, protein, potassium, and iron. Studies have shown that mustard greens have anticancer effects and assist in supporting bone health. Mustard greens are also beneficial especially for women who are going through menopause.  They have the ability to protect against breast cancer and heart disease. 

 Mizuna - One of the mildest mustard greens, mizuna, which is often found in mesclun mixes is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, folate, and iron. It also contains powerful glucosinolates antioxidants linked to decreased cancer risk. One of the most famous and unique Japanese greens, they are mildly peppery in flavor. Usually eaten raw in salads, they are also good when lightly cooked. 
Swiss Chard - With white being the mildest flavor of all different color chards, this vegetable is good even in soups, or replace spinach in any dish for a meatier texture.  Like spinach, it is the store house of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties. Rich in Vitamin K, also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin-A and flavonoids anti-oxidants like ß carotene, α-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin this vegetable will surely enhance your diet. 

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