Prompted by a new Vitamix purchase, green smoothies (mixing raw greens and fruit in a high speed blender with water) have become a huge part of my food fascination. When you dive into the world of farmer’s markets, health foodies and gardening as I have, a world of things you’ve never seen before springs to life! Along with the vast array of greens you might have never tried comes a whole world of both flavor and nutrition. Yes…its time to take a little adventure in the world of wild & unusual greens.
1. LAMBSQUARTERS. After reading the nutitional content of lambsquarters, I was moved to find myself some! We think of them commonly as weeds that spring up everywhere, yet they are loaded with vitamins A & C as well as calcium and much more. While you can find often them roadside or sprouting in random places, I suggest you grow a patch of your own! HERE you can learn to do that in pots on a patio.
2. PURSLANE. Also commonly thought of as a weed, purslane is filled with omega-3’s and Vitamin C and has the savory quality of an herb. Learn to grow some HERE and know that they can take over your yard pretty fast!
3.CHICORY. Chicory is related to the sunflower, and it has great benefitial nutrition it its leaves for your eyes (the caretenoids zeaxanthin and lutein along with vitamin A in abundance!). Chicory leaves are thought to be cleansing to the liver.
4. MUSTARD GREENS. These guys are filled with phytonutrients called glucosinolates that are thought to prevent cancer. Like many greens on my listtle list of 7, these guys are teeming with vitamins A, C & K as well as calcium. Cooked mustard greens are used as a dietary adjustment to lower cholesterol. Raw, these are big fare for green smoothies once you are used to drinking raw greens in this way. They are spicy!
5. SORREL. Also considered a weed in some places (what’s this all about?!), sorrel is an almost tart, savory green that can be cooked or raw, common in soups and salads to add an unusual lemony twist. This green is an ancient source of vitamin C. It can be used to regulate digestion & elimination. You need to use sorrel right after you pick it, so its best when fresh! HERE’s how to grow some.
6. DANDELION GREENS. How did so many superfoods become looked upon as weeds, while we grow nutritionally bereft “iceberg lettuce” over hundreds of acres. These mega-powered “wild” greens are rich in calcium, vitamin A, B vitamins, and potassium amonst other things. These greens are used as a diuretic, liver tonic, treatment for high cholesterol and as an anti-inflammatory. There are substantial other “medicinal” applications for dandelion. Growing dandelion is super simple– HERE are easy directions– and you can even eat the yellow flowers!
7. BEET GREENS. Yep, I used to cut the “green tops” off of beets and toss them too… until I realised that this is the best part! Packed with protien, vitamins A, C, K (a big one!) and E, these greens have a full spectrum of amino acids. Plus: they taste GREAT (sorta spinachy if put in a green smoothie).
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