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Gorgeous Fall Greens

By Allison Burch, September 27, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Allison Burch

I want to talk about fall color. Not the typical autumn hues of fiery red, rich gold and deep umber but one color not normally associated with fall: green. In particular, the green you see in the produce section this time of year.

Many greens — collards, kale, turnip greens and mustard greens — are at their best in the fall and through winter. The flavor of greens can vary widely, from sweet to bitter to earthy, and many are pungent, peppery and sharp. Young leafy greens generally have small, tender leaves and a mild flavor while many mature plants have tougher leaves and stronger flavors.

It’s this wide variety that makes people a bit apprehensive about greens.  Maybe you had a run-in with a bunch of tough kale when you were a kid and have shied away ever since. Or perhaps you’ve heard that collards take forever to cook, so you’ve not even made an attempt.

Well, I say variety is what makes greens so great! Most greens can be used interchangeably in recipes, so experiment! Pick some greens that have a flavor you really like and try them every which way you can. Or you could find a recipe you love and see how it changes when you use different types of greens. One of my all-time favorite recipes is Greens with Carrots, Feta Cheese and Brown Rice and I’ve made it with green kale, black kale, dino (lacinato) kale, mustard greens and even bok choy.

Here are a number of ways to eat your greens:

Creamy Sesame Greens Savory Greens Stir-Fry

Hearty Greens Soup with Bowtie Pasta and Tomatoes Portobellos Stuffed with Greens and Blues

Learn to Cook: Simple Pesto Double Green Smoothie

If you’re a little green to greens, here’s a quick list of some common types, what they taste like and how to cook ‘em. If you have any more questions or need help identifying a type of greens in the store, our produce team members are there to help.

Bok Choy

Characteristics: sweet, mild, stays crisp when cooked

Recommended use: stir-fries, salads or soups

Ale-Braised Baby Bok Choy with English Cheddar Bok Choy with Carrots and Sesame-Orange Dressing

More bok choy recipes.

Collards

Characteristics: mild, sweet, cooks to tender texture

Recommended use: steam, braise or sauté; shrinks less than other greens when cooked

Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Aduki Beans Collard Rolls

More collard recipes.

Escarole

Characteristics: coarse, mildly bitter

Recommended use: eat raw in salads, steam, braise or add to soups

Sauteed Greens with White Beans and Garlic

More escarole recipes.

Kale

Characteristics: mildly peppery, tender

Recommended use: boil, steam or sauté, tough stems and ribs must be removed

Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale

More kale recipes.

Swiss Chard (Red, Green, Rainbow)

Characteristics: tender, sweet, velvety texture

Recommended use: multi-purpose, wilt, sautée, braise, add to soups, casseroles or pasta, red chard may “dye” other foods

Mushroom, Chard and Caramelized Onion Tacos

More Swiss chard recipes.

Now that I’ve gotten you geared up to run off and buy a whole mess of greens, here’s a bit more information that will help you make the most out of them.

Storing

Most greens can be stored in the refrigerator for several days provided they are protected from air flow. Most store best in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Tender, delicate leaves (such as beet greens) wilt very quickly, so use them as soon as possible or purchase them on the day you plan to prepare them.

Using

Greens with similar texture can be used interchangeably in recipes, though they will impart slightly different flavors. One pound of fresh, untrimmed greens will typically serve two to three people. While this may look like a lot when raw, a significant portion of the plant (stems and ribs) will be discarded and most greens shrink considerably when cooked. To prepare greens for washing, cut off the stems and discard any bruised leaves. For greens with tough stems, such as collards, mustard and kale, cut off the stem backbone, which can be quite tough. Chard, bok choy, turnip and beet greens have tender stems that can be eaten along with the leaves. Wash the greens and edible stems in a sink full of water to remove dirt and sand. Bunches of greens that are especially sandy may require several soakings. Drain the greens in a colander and chop or slice them according to recipe directions.

Nutrition Information

Greens provide a wide array of nutrients including fiber, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, folic acid and chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plant cells). Many varieties of leafy greens, especially members of the cruciferous (cabbage) family such as collards, kale and bok choy are also rich sources of vitamin C.

See? Green really is gorgeous and the perfect color to grace your fall plate.

Do you have a favorite green? How do you prepare it? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Category: Food & Recipes, Produce

 

8 Comments

Comments

Rachael says ...
This was very helpful for me because I've been wanting to try many of these greens, but have been intimidated. Thanks for the breakdown! Green is gorgeous.
09/27/2012 8:45:09 AM CDT
Lesley says ...
I would like to know if you at any time sell callaloo. Itsa type of greens. I had it in Jamaica and was trying to find it in the States. Thank you.
10/07/2012 11:46:56 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LESLEY - Our products vary between locations so I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see if it is something they carry. You can find their contact info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
10/10/2012 5:00:42 PM CDT
Manuel says ...
Do you guys carry wheatgrass?
10/28/2012 10:10:29 PM CDT
Megan says ...
@MANUEL - Our selection varies by region, so check with your local store to see if they carry wheatgrass.
10/29/2012 12:04:11 PM CDT
Alice Burkle says ...
I was looking for information on the different kinds of squashes available this time of year, particularly if you have Blue Hokkaido Pumpkin
11/09/2012 9:24:24 AM CST
Dru Gilliam says ...
Love your store and website. When do your weekly produce arrive? I'm looking for some fresh collards. Thanks!
11/20/2012 6:13:50 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DRU - The delivery of our products vary among our regions and store locations. You can check with your local store to see when they receive their Produce deliveries. Find their contact info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
11/23/2012 2:27:31 PM CST