Full Hand KaleWith the spring weather we’ve had, summer veggies are taking longer and spring greens are stretching their season. I know what to do with lettuce and spinach, but give me kale or swiss chard, and I am lost. So, I went right to the source and toured the Market, asking the farmers and the shoppers how they prepare their fresh greens.

Rodney from Fields Farm Fresh advised braising and showed me what to look for, as well as fixing me up with some lovely Swiss chard and kale to experiment with. John from Seldom Seen Farm likes beet greens and chard raw, but says the more bitter greens are tasty if you balance them with a sweet sauce. He steered me to some lovely Komatsuna, an Asian green that he recommended for stir-fry.

I spoke with some of our Market regulars too. Lynn told me to taste the greens raw, because when you cook them, the flavor will intensify. She also recommends experimenting to see what you like best. She enjoys her greens raw in salads or braised and added to other vegan dishes. She even adds them to her smoothies!

Basic Directions for Preparing Cooked Greens  

Fresh greens should be washed thoroughly by immersing them in water and swishing them around. After a few minutes, any dirt will settle to the bottom. Remove the leaves, drain the sink, refill and repeat the process. Cut off the stalks where they meet the leaf and discard. Then cut the leaves in smaller pieces. Sauté the greens with olive oil and garlic. You can add a little broth or water and bring to a bubble, turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes to allow the leaves to tenderize. Sturdier greens may need longer.

This basic method will give you lovely cooked greens to eat on their own or add to dishes such as pasta, omelette, soup, pizza, etc.  Here is a sampling of recipes for healthful and delicious greens from the Market!

Kale -Wrapped Dates with Almonds

Braised Tuscan Kale with Pancetta &Carmelized Onions

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans & Fresh Tomatoes

Creamy Swiss Chard Pasta

Steamed Asian Greens with Honey-Soy-Sesame Dressing