5 Leafy Greens You’ve Probably Never Eaten (But Should!)

November 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Posted in vegetables | Leave a comment
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Read this article yesterday on line at the Huffington Podt web site. Real good informative article along with some recipes. I left the link at the bottom of the post.

 
November 18, 2013
HuffPost

5 Leafy Greens You’ve Probably Never Eaten (But Should!)

Modern cooks are rediscovering the wide world of leafy greens. But how do you buy, store and prepare these nutritious, delicious superfoods? Covering everything from spinach to bok choy to nettles, The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook will help you embrace the unfamiliar as well as offering a fresh outlook on old favorites.
Carrot Tops

Carrot greens are bitter, herbaceous and astringent, with a hint of sweetness in the finish. They are coarse and grainy when raw. The stems taste like celery but are too stringy to use…

 

Chickweed

The raw leaves are soft and delicate. They taste herbaceous, slightly spinachy and astringent. The flowers and stems are nutty, with a slightly bitter finish. When cooked, chickweed leaves are milder and taste faintly like spinach, with a nutty finish and hints of tea…..

 

Houttuynia

Houttuynia is an acquired taste, with common reactions ranging from dislike to disgust.

The leaves are tender and demure, but don’t be fooled — the flavor and aroma give taste buds a one-two punch. This green lives up to the name “fishwort.” It has a raw fish flavor, more than hints of briny sea, and is extremely metallic. The Chinese/Vietnamese variety is differentiated by its citrus accents, while the Japanese variety has cilantro accents….

 

Jute Leaf

Fresh leaves are described as bitter. Thawed frozen jute tastes spinachy and grassy but mild. It is mucilaginous (similar to Malabar spinach) and has an extremely slippery texture. It is disparaged as “slimy” by those who don’t like it…..

 

Komatsuna

Komatsuna has a mild but distinct mustard flavor. It is slightly sharp, slightly sour, yet slightly sweet. The stems are succulent….

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/17/leafy-greens-cookbook-recipes_n_4283567.html?utm_hp_ref=food&ir=Food

Fall Harvest: Cabbage

September 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Posted in vegetables | 1 Comment
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Cabbage and its cross section

Cabbage is bright and crisp when raw and mellows and sweetens the longer it’s cooked. The cooler the weather when it’s harvested, the sweeter it tends to taste (this effect is called “frost kissed”).

 

 
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea or variants) is a leafy green biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. Closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, it descends from B. oleracea var. oleracea, a wild field cabbage. Cabbage heads generally range from 1 to 8 pounds (0.5 to 4 kg), and can be green, purple and white. Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen more rarely.
It is difficult to trace the exact history of cabbage, but it was most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC. By the Middle Ages, it was a prominent part of European cuisine, although savoys were not developed until the 16th century. Cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plants’ life cycles, but those intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year, and must be kept separated from other cole crops to prevent cross pollination. Cabbage is prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as multiple pests, bacteria and fungal diseases.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that world production of cabbage and other brassicas for calendar year 2011 was almost 69 million metric tons (68 million long tons; 75 million short tons). Almost half of these crops were grown in China, although Chinese cabbage is the most popular form of the vegetable in that country. Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating, although pickling, in dishes such as sauerkraut, is the most popular. Cabbage is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber. Contaminated cabbage has been linked to cases of food-borne illness in humans.

 

 

Cabbage seedlings have a thin taproot and cordate (heart-shaped) cotyledons. The first leaves produced are ovate (egg-shaped) with a lobed petiole. Plants are 40–60 cm (16–24 in) tall in their first year at the mature vegetative stage, and 1.5–2.0 m (4.9–6.6 ft) tall when flowering in the second year. Heads average between 1 and 8 pounds (0.5 and 4 kg), with earlier varieties producing smaller heads. Most cabbages have thick, alternating leaves, with margins that range from wavy or lobed to highly dissected; some varieties have a waxy bloom on the leaves. Plants have root systems that are fibrous and shallow. About 90 percent of the root mass is in the upper 20–30 cm (8–12 in) of soil, although some lateral roots can penetrate up to 2 m (6.6 ft) deep.
The inflorescence is an unbranched and indeterminate terminal raceme measuring 50–100 cm (20–40 in) tall, with flowers that are yellow or white. Each flower has four petals set in a perpendicular pattern, as well as four sepals, six stamens, and a superior ovary that is two-celled and contains a single stigma and style. Two of the six stamens have shorter filaments. The fruit is a silique that opens at maturity through dehiscence to reveal brown or black seeds that are small and round in shape. Self-pollination is impossible, and plants are cross-pollinated by insects. The initial leaves form a rosette shape comprising 7 to 15 leaves, each measuring 25–35 cm (10–14 in) by 20–30 cm (8–12 in); after this, leaves with shorter petioles develop and heads form through the leaves cupping inward.
Many shapes, colors and leaf textures are found in various cabbage varieties. Leaf types are generally divided between crinkled-leaf, loose-head savoys and smooth-leaf firm-head cabbages, while the color spectrum includes white and a range of greens and purples. Oblate, round and pointed shapes are found.
Cabbage has been selectively bred for head weight and morphological characteristics, frost hardiness, fast growth and storage ability. The appearance of the cabbage head has been given importance in selective breeding, with varieties being chosen for shape, color, firmness and other physical characteristics. Breeding objectives are now focused on increasing resistance to various insects and diseases and improving the nutritional content of cabbage. Scientific research into the genetic modification of B. oleracea crops, including cabbage, has included European Union and United States explorations of greater insect and herbicide resistance. However, genetically modified B. oleracea crops are not currently used in commercial agriculture.

 

 

Green and purple cabbages

Green and purple cabbages

There are several cultivars of cabbage, each including many varieties:
* Savoy – Characterized by crimped or curly leaves, mild flavor and tender texture
* Spring Greens – Loose-headed, commonly sliced and steamed
* Green – Light to dark green, slightly pointed heads. This is the most commonly grown cultivar.
* Red – Smooth red leaves, often used for pickling or stewing
* White (also called Dutch) – Smooth, pale green leaves
Some sources only delineate three cultivars: savoy, red and white, with spring greens and green cabbage being subsumed into the latter.

 

 

Cabbage is used in many ways, ranging from eating raw and simple steaming to pickling, stewing, sauteing or braising. Pickling is one of the most popular ways of preserving cabbage, creating dishes such as sauerkraut and kimchee, although kimchee is more often made from Chinese cabbage (B. rapa). Savoy cabbages are usually used in salads, while smooth-leaf types are utilized for both fresh market sales and processing. Bean curd and cabbage is a staple of Chinese cooking, while the British dish bubble and squeak is made primarily with salt beef and boiled cabbage. Cabbage is used extensively in Polish cuisine. It is one of the main food crops, and sauerkraut is a frequent dish, as well as being used to stuff other dishes such as golabki (stuffed cabbage) and pierogi (filled pasta). Other eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Romania, also have traditional dishes that feature cabbage as a main ingredient. In India and Ethiopia, cabbage is often used in spicy salads and braises. In the United States, cabbage is used primarily for the production of coleslaw, followed by fresh market use and sauerkraut production. Cabbage consumption varies widely around the world, with the Russians eating the largest amount in Europe, at 20 kilograms (44 lb) per capita, while Belgians consume 4.7 kilograms (10 lb), the Dutch 4.0 kilograms (8.8 lb), Americans 3.9 kilograms (8.6 lb) and the Spaniards 1.9 kilograms (4.2 lb).
The characteristic flavor of cabbage is caused by glucosinolates, a class of sulfur-containing glucosides. Although found throughout the plant, these compounds are concentrated in the highest quantities in the seeds; lesser quantities are found in young vegetative tissue, and they decrease as the tissue ages. Cooked cabbage is often criticized for its pungent, unpleasant odor and taste. These develop when cabbage is overcooked and a hydrogen sulfide gas is produced.

 

 

White cabbage

White cabbage

Cabbage is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. It is a cruciferous vegetable, and has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers, especially those in the colorectal group. This is possibly due to the glucosinolates found in cole crops, which serve as metabolic detoxicants, or due to the sulphoraphane content, also responsible for metabolic anti-carcinogenic activities. Purple cabbage also contains anthocyanins, which in other vegetables have been proven to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Along with other cole crops, cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Research suggests that boiling these vegetables reduces their anti-carcinogenic properties.

 

 

 

Kimchi – Korea

July 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Posted in Food, vegetables | 1 Comment
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Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings. Kimchi may also refer to unfermented vegetable dishes. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, green onions or cucumber. It is the most common banchan, or side dish, in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is also a main ingredient for many popular Korean dishes such as kimchi stew, kimchi soup, and kimchi fried rice.

Ingredients

1 fresh Chinese cabbage, dark green outer leaves removed
1 1/2 cup cooking salt
1L water
1 heaped tbsp glutinous rice starch (sticky rice powder, not regular rice powder)
1 cup Korean chilli powder – aka gochugaru (not flakes, look for it at your local Korean grocery store)
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
6 spring onions, washed and sliced on an angle into slices about 1-2″ long
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 knob of ginger, grated
1/4 nashi pear, cored and peeled
1/4 brown onion, peeled
200g white/chinese radish (long and white as opposed to small, round and pink-tinged)

1. Cut the cabbage in halves or quarters, and cut into the stem to remove most of it.

2. Combine 1L water with 1/2 cup of cooking salt into a large bowl, then plunge one half or quarter of cabbage into the water at a time. Carefully seperate the leaves layer by layer and make sure that you get the salted water right to the base of the leaves.

3. Drain water from the cabbage segments, then sprinkle a light layer of cooking salt over each layer of leaves, making sure to get more towards the thick, white base of the leaf rather than the thinner, green end. This is usually done by coating the lower half of your fingers in salt and using a flicking motion. Don’t feel that you have to use the ENTIRE 1 cup of salt here – just as much as is needed to give the leaves a light sprinkling – its hard to judge how much salt you will need/use as it depends on how big and how ‘ripe’ your cabbage is.

4. Place the cabbage segments into a bowl and leave covered for 5-6 hours, or till cabbage is floppy enough so that the leaves can be bent over, but still make a crisp ‘snapping’ noise when snapped.

5. After leaving for 5-6 hours, rinse the lettuce twice in clean water, then squeeze as much water out of the lettuce as humanly possible (yes, squishing the cabbage is perfectly alright), and leave on a strainer for another 15-30 mins to drain the last of the water out.

6. The ‘sauce’ can be made whilst you’re waiting for the cabbage to wilt (in step 4). Combine 1 heaped tbsp of glutinous rice powder with 1/2 cup water in a pot, stir vigorously over a low heat till the mixture has turned white, has a very thick consistancy and bubbles whilst being stirred.

7. Let the rice powder glue cool down, and while it’s cooling, blend together the garlic, ginger, nashi pear, onion and Chinese radish into a pulpy liquid. Once the rice powder glue is completely cool, stir in the chilli powder, sugar and fish sauce, then pear mix and spring onion and combine well.

8. Lay out the cabbage and coat the front and back of every leaf with this rice chilli paste, making sure that they’re well coated and you haven’t missed any bits.

9. Once all the cabbage has been coated, press down into an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for 3 days to aid the fermentation process. Taste it after 3 days, and if the lettuce tastes slightly tangy, soft but with some crunch and spicy, then place in your fridge. This can be stored in your fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long!)

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