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Old 12-23-2007, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
887 posts, read 2,799,144 times
Reputation: 435
Default The difference between "greens."

After reading the "Cooking Dry Beans" thread, I got to thinking about my traditional New Year's dish of cornbread, black eye peas (for luck), and greens (for money) when I remembered my dilemma with greens.

I can't remember which ones I prefer. I have to watch my cholesterol, so I don't cook greens very often because I use the "smoked, fatty" meats for seasoning. Can someone explain the difference between the different greens: collard, mustard, kale, turnip? One of them (from what I can remember) seems to have a lot of stems, and I think one of them has a bit of a bitter taste. I don't mind some stems (roughage), but I want to make sure I get the kind that has a lot of leaves.

Thanks to all who respond!
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Maine
5,644 posts, read 7,457,462 times
Reputation: 4603
You're in luck. All of these greens are leafy. I'll take a shot at this.

collard: It's a little bitter. Eat the light green leaves for best flavor.

mustard: Usually peppery. Without thinking I reached down, picked a leaf from a variety I'd never grown before, and ate it. ACK! hot hot hot. Next time I sample a new green I'll take a small bite. I add a few leaves to a salad mix. The flavor is best when the plants are grown in cool weather. Look for smaller, newer leaves.

kale: One of my favorite greens. I grow Red Russian for salad, stir fry and soup. This is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Kale has a much milder flavor than collards, mustard and turnip. Kale's probably the green with more stems that you're thinking of. Each leaf does have a longer, narrower stem than the rest of these greens. If the leaves are picked when young and tender the stems shouldn't be tough.

turnip: Best after hit by frost. The cold effects the carbohydrates in the cells and makes them a bit sweeter. Ok before frost but not as tasty. Turnip is nutrient dense though no as much so as kale. If the stem is tough in the center of the leaf you can cut it out easily by folding the leaf in half and slicing.

I hope that helps.

A note about nutrient density - food grown on today's commodity farms are note as nutritious as 25 years ago. The soil has been drained by years of use and the addition of petroleum based fertilizers. If you can buy locally you have a better chance at improving nutritional quality for a couple of reasons. Nutrition declines from the moment a plant food is harvested. It continues to decline until its eaten. Small farmers are learning about remineralizing their fields along with adding typical amendments. Food should to do more than fill our stomachs and satisfy our taste buds - it should be giving us the nutrition we need to stay healthy.
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
887 posts, read 2,799,144 times
Reputation: 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
You're in luck. All of these greens are leafy. I'll take a shot at this.

collard: It's a little bitter. Eat the light green leaves for best flavor.

mustard: Usually peppery. Without thinking I reached down, picked a leaf from a variety I'd never grown before, and ate it. ACK! hot hot hot. Next time I sample a new green I'll take a small bite. I add a few leaves to a salad mix. The flavor is best when the plants are grown in cool weather. Look for smaller, newer leaves.

kale: One of my favorite greens. I grow Red Russian for salad, stir fry and soup. This is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Kale has a much milder flavor than collards, mustard and turnip. Kale's probably the green with more stems that you're thinking of. Each leaf does have a longer, narrower stem than the rest of these greens. If the leaves are picked when young and tender the stems shouldn't be tough.

turnip: Best after hit by frost. The cold effects the carbohydrates in the cells and makes them a bit sweeter. Ok before frost but not as tasty. Turnip is nutrient dense though no as much so as kale. If the stem is tough in the center of the leaf you can cut it out easily by folding the leaf in half and slicing.

I hope that helps.

A note about nutrient density - food grown on today's commodity farms are note as nutritious as 25 years ago. The soil has been drained by years of use and the addition of petroleum based fertilizers. If you can buy locally you have a better chance at improving nutritional quality for a couple of reasons. Nutrition declines from the moment a plant food is harvested. It continues to decline until its eaten. Small farmers are learning about remineralizing their fields along with adding typical amendments. Food should to do more than fill our stomachs and satisfy our taste buds - it should be giving us the nutrition we need to stay healthy.
Thanks ever so much! I will cut & paste and print this info out for future reference and so I can take it with me to the store when I go. Again, many thanks!
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:02 AM
 
Location: In the woods next to the ocean
3,951 posts, read 8,245,017 times
Reputation: 5861
Be sure to add Bok Choy to your list of greens.
It has a good flavor with big wide stems that are tender and mild tasting.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Maine
5,644 posts, read 7,457,462 times
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It's excellent in soups and stir fry.
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Old 12-24-2007, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Southwest Florida
68 posts, read 171,106 times
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Swiss Chard and also beet greens are another large leafy green . Both are somewhat mild . Spinach works in a pinch , when needed . Takes a lot because they cook way down . We do prefer mustard greens though .
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:18 PM
 
Location: North Adams, MA
746 posts, read 2,218,284 times
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I think I have fallen in love. Maine Writer thank you for pointing out how even our beloved greens have taken a hit from commodity farming and supermarket distribution methods. I have noticed how much better my kale, swiss chard and mustard greens taste from the farmers market. I even parboil them when they are in season, and freeze them for winter use.

Virgo, here's a recipe I use with mustard greens, though it can be used with great success with turnip and collard greens as well.

Greens in a pot liquor

Handful of greens - about a pound
Fistful of lean finely chopped meat or salt port
Very small onion or large shallot, chopped finely or minced
Teaspoon sugar
Tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a pot except the greens. Bring to a boil, stir, and gently simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly concentrated.

If making from fresh greens, wash and drain, shaking off excess water, then chop greens into bite sized pieces, and add to pot with liquor, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until it reaches your preferred tenderness. If you are using parboiled or canned greens, just add to the pot likker and heat through, then serve.

Tip: when parboiling, I add the stems first, letting them cook a bit longer than the leaves.

Delicious.
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Old 12-27-2007, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Maine
5,644 posts, read 7,457,462 times
Reputation: 4603
Quote:
Originally Posted by litlux View Post
I think I have fallen in love. Maine Writer thank you for pointing out how even our beloved greens have taken a hit from commodity farming and supermarket distribution methods. I have noticed how much better my kale, swiss chard and mustard greens taste from the farmers market. I even parboil them when they are in season, and freeze them for winter use.
You're welcome. Growing food is what I do for a living so it's something I'm intimately familiar with.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
887 posts, read 2,799,144 times
Reputation: 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by litlux View Post
I think I have fallen in love. Maine Writer thank you for pointing out how even our beloved greens have taken a hit from commodity farming and supermarket distribution methods. I have noticed how much better my kale, swiss chard and mustard greens taste from the farmers market. I even parboil them when they are in season, and freeze them for winter use.

Virgo, here's a recipe I use with mustard greens, though it can be used with great success with turnip and collard greens as well.

Greens in a pot liquor

Handful of greens - about a pound
Fistful of lean finely chopped meat or salt port
Very small onion or large shallot, chopped finely or minced
Teaspoon sugar
Tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a pot except the greens. Bring to a boil, stir, and gently simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly concentrated.

If making from fresh greens, wash and drain, shaking off excess water, then chop greens into bite sized pieces, and add to pot with liquor, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until it reaches your preferred tenderness. If you are using parboiled or canned greens, just add to the pot likker and heat through, then serve.

Tip: when parboiling, I add the stems first, letting them cook a bit longer than the leaves.

Delicious.
Thanks for the tip! I'm going to print this out for future reference.
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:23 AM
 
Location: In a house
19,022 posts, read 13,431,797 times
Reputation: 13662
Speaking of greens, I have a question. Here in NC we are seeing some gardens with large leafy greens growing and I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be as we have had many nights here with freezing temperatures. I always thought any greens would freeze because of the high water content. Anyone know what these large leafy greens could be?? They seem to love the cold weather.
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