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6 Best Vegetables You’re Not Eating
April 18, 2014
|J.R. and I hope you're well and adding natures super foods to your family's diet!
It's when information meets inspiration that a newsletter can help you lead a healthy and active life.
Knowledge is important when you have what it takes to become a healthier you!
Today we'd like to share with you 6 of the best vegetables you’re probably not eating.
Get out of your spring vegetable slump with these unusual, nutrient-packed veggies.
Getting into a veggie rut?
It’s easy this time of year, when the pickings for local food are still pretty slim.
Asparagus and spinach are tasty, but they can get old after a few weeks.
Try some fiddleheads instead!
Or swap out your standard spinach for a New Zealand variety.
We dug up 6 of the most unusual, and healthiest, vegetables of which you may have never heard!
If you love weird-looking vegetables, you’ll love fiddleheads, the tender young coiled forms of fern fronds that unfurl as a fern matures.
Similar to asparagus in taste, the curlicued greens have a nutty, slightly bitter flavor and can be used just as you would asparagus or asparagus tips.
Most fiddlehead aficionados recommend eating them the day you buy them, as their flavor diminishes quickly.
Their short, fleeting season lasts for just a few weeks in early May, so grab them while you can! (Note: Buy your fiddleheads from a reputable market grower. If you plan to harvest your own, do some research first, as some fiddleheads may be toxic and improper harvesting may kill the plant.)
New Zealand Spinach
Spinach is one of the best, healthiest crops to peek above ground in spring.
Unfortunately, its love for cold nights and mild days means it doesn’t grow past May.
That’s when you should start looking for New Zealand spinach.
A warm-weather cousin of the regular stuff, New Zealand, or ‘Maori’, spinach will start appearing in stores and farmers’ markets just when local spinach disappears.
And it grows all summer, so you can get all the iron, calcium, and vitamin-K of regular spinach when that crop is out of season.
People who love garlic will love garlic scapes, the long green tendrils that shoot out of garlic plants around mid-June.
With a milder flavor than pure garlic, scapes have been described by some foodies as a garlic lover’s nirvana.
Because their flavor is so mild, you can use them in everything from scrambled eggs to pesto without drowning your food in a pungent, garlicky aroma.
You can even eat them whole as you would green beans.
Belonging to the garlic family, they also provide all the same benefits as those aromatic cloves: helping to prevent heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and even warding off infections.
Salty with a slightly briny aftertaste, sea-beans taste like what they sound like.
They belong to the Salicornia family of plants that grow wild along salt marshes and seashores, although a number of farmers are starting to cultivate them.
Eat them raw to enjoy their salty flavor, or blanch them and treat them just as you would green beans.
Keep an eye out for them at farmers’ markets or at gourmet grocers, but keep in mind they’ll cost you a pretty penny.
Even though they were referred to as “poor man’s asparagus” in the past, we've seen them priced as high as $14.99 per pound.
Can’t find any oysters at the seafood counter?
Grab some scorzonera instead.
Originally from the Mediterranean, this root vegetable has a distinctive oysterlike flavor that diminishes quickly once it’s harvested.
So keep an eye out for it at farmers’ markets and eat it the day you buy it.
The roots are great sources of calcium and iron and can even be tossed into a mock oyster stew.
But the best way to eat it is either roasted or sautéed in a little butter.
Boiling the roots first, makes it easier to remove the skin; then drizzle them with olive oil and roast them or sauté them in butter.
A lot of European chefs recommend serving scorzonera with some sour cream on the side.
Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies needs to stock up on stinging nettle while it’s in season, which is now.
Iron-rich and loaded with vitamin-C, the leaves also contain histamine, the chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction.
So eating it helps you build up your body’s immunity.
But more than just a medicinal aid, stinging nettle will add a peppery zip to any dish with greens.
Use it as you might use spinach, but always blanch the leaves first to get rid of the chemicals in the plant that cause it to sting you (by the same token, always handle raw leaves with gloves on).
Try them in this;
Wild Greens Risotto
This dish was designed with nettles, but it also works well with any wild green such as dandelions.
Blanched, nettles and dandelions will keep their emerald loveliness even after a good 15 minutes of cooking, which makes this risotto visually stunning.
If you have leftovers, you can add the risotto to a beaten egg, form into patties or balls, roll in breadcrumbs, and fry in olive oil.
1 c. cooked, drained nettles or other wild greens (see note)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. carnaroli, Arborio, or vialone nano risotto rice
2 to 4 c. beef stock,* divided
2 to 3 Tbs. grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of salt.
2. Grab the nettles with tongs and put them into the boiling water.
Stir the greens and let boil for about 1 to 2 minutes for dwarf nettles, 4 to 5 minutes for regular nettles. (Dandelion or chicory greens need about 3 to 5 minutes to get tender yet still bright green. Amaranth, orach, and lamb’s-quarter can handle a full 5 minutes.)
3. Remove the greens with a skimmer or tongs and immediately dump them into a big bowl of ice water.
Once the greens are cool, drain them in a colander.
4. Roll up the greens in a cloth or tea towel.
Twist one end of the cloth one way, then the other end of the cloth the other (like a candy wrapper) and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
5. Chop the greens finely (don’t use a food processor, or you will get mush).
The finer you chop, the smoother your risotto will be.
Remove any stray stems.
6. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucier or heavy pot over medium-high heat.
Wait until the butter stops frothing and add the shallot.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.
7. Add the garlic and the rice and stir to combine.
Stirring constantly, cook everything for a minute or so or until all the rice is well coated with butter.
8. Stir 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of the beef stock into the rice and increase heat to high.
When the rice starts boiling strongly, turn down the heat to medium and stir often, at least every minute or so, until the rice absorbs the stock.
Repeat with a second cup of stock.
9. When the second cup is absorbed, add the greens and the third cup of stock.
If using store-bought broth, switch to water for this third cup, otherwise your risotto could become too salty.
Stir well to combine.
Keep stirring constantly to develop the creaminess in the risotto and to distribute the greens evenly.
Let the stock absorb well.
10. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.
The risotto may need another full cup of stock or water, as you want the dish to be loose, not firm (and you will need at least a little more stock to loosen the risotto for the cheese).
11. Add the final tablespoon of butter as well as the cheese.
Stir everything well and let the butter and cheese melt in the risotto for about 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings as a main course or 4 as an appetizer
Note: Depending on the variety of greens, you will need four or five big tongfuls to get your cup of cooked greens.
Tip: Regular nettles (Urtica dioica) are more substantial than their daintier cousins, the dwarf nettle (U. urens) and retain more of their volume when cooked.
Also, I say tongfuls because you do not want to pick up fresh nettles, as they will sting you.
Thus the name.
If you are using other wild greens, you can just pick them up by hand.
Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today.
We wish you and your family the very best in health and happiness!
We truly hope this information helps and you found some value in this edition!
Until next time, we want you to,
live longer, live younger!
You can do it with
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