Great Bunches of Greens!

By Newsletter Editor Jeanne O’Brien Coffey, newsletter@farmdirectcoop.org

After enjoying winter’s stews, soups and hearty dishes, I know my body welcomes spring greens. Chard and kale are fairly common – check out our blog for a whole host of ways to use kale, from smoothies to slow-cooked kale. Also check out the blog for Crispy Kale Chips – a recipe that even a three-year-old will eat.

Less common in the U.S., but with a great nutritional punch and a pleasing underlying bitterness, are dandelion greens. According to the USDA, dandelion greens rank in the top 4 green vegetables for nutritional value – with high levels of Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine and riboflavin, and are surprisingly a good source of protein as well. Some studies have even linked dandelion greens to weight loss – so they might even help you shed that extra winter weight.

Most commonly compared to chicory, dandelion greens can be enjoyed raw in a salad or stir-fried. Europeans, especially Italians, are quite fond of these greens. Lidia Bastianich on Epicurious, recalls foraging for these early spring treats with her grandmother, who only picked leaves from young plants that had not yet produced a bud. Find her recipe for Salad of Dandelion Greens with Almond Vinaigrette and Dried Ricotta on www.epicurious.com. Almond is a classic pairing with these greens – I’ve put another recipe for a dandelion green salad with almonds on our blog.

Look for these tasty nutritional powerhouses at the depot—or around your yard (as long as you haven’t treated it with chemical fertilizer). And email me (newsletter@farmdirectcoop.org) to tell me what you think.