Think greens for spring produce

Early spring months might be my least favorite time to buy fresh fruit.  Apples are starting to get mushy and tasteless (although they sure know how to keep them looking shiny).  Oranges and grapefruit are at the end of their season; quality is unpredictable and you can’t tell much from the outside.  Peaches, plums and the like are weeks away from being fresh.  Berries look nice, but are imported from somewhere because they take awhile to mature and ripen and they do not grow in cold.  The only thing that’s consistent is bananas, and there are only so many bananas a person can eat.  What to do?

Well, if you want fresh, I recommend greens.  In early spring, you can find fresh — even local — greens, and they pack a nutritional punch.  Plus they’re refreshing, crunchy, low sugar, high fiber, filling, and go well with olive oil.  You can put greens in smoothies, make salad, put them on sandwiches or pizza, add certain of them to soups or casseroles or use them in omelets or wraps.  Another benefit for some people: they’re really easy to grow.  You can grow them in your own backyard vegetable garden, or in planter boxes on a patio or sunny balcony.  Because greens are easy to grow, they’re the focus of indoor-grow facility projects.  In which case you might be dining on greens that were super-local, grown on the restaurant roof or an indoor farm down the street from the grocery store.

Some of my favorite greens include:

  • Spinach: fresh in salads, on pizza, in sandwiches, in smoothies; frozen in casseroles or soups
  • Kale: fresh in salads or smoothies; frozen in casseroles or soups
  • Arugula: fresh in salads or on pizza.  A spicy topping for a sandwich.
  • Chard: sautéed as a side dish, or in soups or casseroles
  • Lettuce: tossed salad, on sandwiches, for lettuce wraps or as the base for a chicken or tuna salad entree.

So if the fruit at your grocery store looks sort of tired, and you want to boost your fresh food intake in spring, think greens.  Eating greens every day in some form is not a bad idea.

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