By Nina Andres, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
What I love about eating with the seasons of the Capay Valley is that by this time of year I have had my share of delicious summer fruits and vegetables and can say “I’ll see you next year” to most of them without too many cravings of corn on the cob, tomato salad, or sliced watermelon. Fall is here and I am ready for greens. Why?
There must be a reason that fall is a time when so many greens and root vegetables are in season. What better way to naturally boost our body’s immune system for the coming cold weather and cold season than to eat the foods that are plentiful, fresh, and packed with what we need to stay healthy? Dark green leafy vegetables are a rich source of fiber, minerals (iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium), vitamins (K, C, E, A, and B vitamins), and protective phytonutrients. Green leafy vegetables include kale, chard, mustard greens, collards, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens and radish greens, spinach, bok choy, napa cabbage, lettuce, and many more. Enjoy them raw, steamed or lightly sautéed for maximum health benefits.
I have been enjoying daily ”green smoothies’ since my family gave me a new blender. For two quarts add 4-5 leaves kale, 1 banana, 1 sliced apple and about 1 quart of water. Blend until smooth. Drink half now and save half in the refrigerator for later. My kids are finally getting used to seeing me sit down to breakfast with a green smoothie while they are enjoying their cereal. I am hooked on them – they give me so much energy!
Some greens, such as beet greens, chard, and spinach have high levels of oxalic acid and it is recommended that they are cooked before consumption.
This is the perfect time to try new greens and find some favorites. To really taste the flavor, nibble on a small piece of the raw leaf or simply steam them until tender, then squeeze lemon or lime juice on top with a little salt. Try eating them every day for one week and see how you feel. We would love to hear from you about it or about ways you like to eat greens!
Arugula: Remove twist tie. Store in a moist towel/cloth bag or a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Enjoy within 2-4 days.
Broccoli: Store in a moist towel/cloth bag or plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Enjoy within 5-7 days.
King Richard Leeks: Remove tie or rubber band, cut off dark green leaves, save light green and white. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator in a moist towel/cloth bag or plastic bag. Use within 7 days.
Meyer Lemons: Store loose on counter away from excessive heat or light. Enjoy within 2-4 days. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Pink Lady Apples: Store loose on counter away from excessive heat or light. Enjoy within 2-4 days. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Raisins: Store in a plastic bag or a tightly sealed glass jar in a cool spot in your kitchen or in your refrigerator.
Red Beets: Remove tie and tops of the beets. Store tops and roots separately in a moist towel/cloth bag/plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Use beet greens within 3-5 days, and beet roots in 7-10 days.
Rosemary: Store in a moist towel/cloth bag or a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Enjoy within 5-7 days. To dry, hang the bundle in a warm, dry area away from direct sunlight-- over a refrigerator works well. Harvest the leaves from the bundle as you need them.
Rutabagas: Store in a moist towel/cloth bag or plastic bag in the crisper drawer of”¨your refrigerator. Can be used as you would potatoes (mashed, roasted, etc.). Best when peeled before using. Enjoy within 5-7 days.
Tokyo Turnips: Remove rubber band and turnip tops. Store both greens and turnip roots in a moist towel/cloth bag or a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The greens can be used in soups, steamed, etc. Enjoy greens within 2-4 days, turnips within 4-6 days.
Washington Navel Oranges: Store on the counter at room temperature for 4-6 days or in the refrigerator for longer.