Growing, Preparing and Storing Your Leafy Greens

By Dr. Mercola

Beet, mustard and dandelion greens. Boston, bibb and butter lettuce. Romaine, collards, Swiss chard, arugula – you get the idea. The plethora of leafy vegetables available at virtually every grocery store and farmers market is enough to make your thumbs turn green.

Maybe you’ve tried a variety and stock your crisper drawer with leafy greens on a regular basis. Others, however, are at a loss. It only takes a few adventurous gambles that end up as wilted garbage fodder to make a chef vow to stick to tried-and-true varieties.

But if you know how to make these nutritious and delicious greens a part of your daily meal plan without losing them to the quirks of your refrigerator, you may want to try something new. Further, did you know you can ferment your own leafy greens to make them even more nutritious and keep them for months at a time right on your counter?

Taking a look at one of the first steps toward incorporating more greens into your life – the garden – you’ll find leafy greens to be one of the easiest veggies to grow. Lettuce comes in numerous varieties, including red and green leaf, buttercrunch and butterhead, iceberg, Romaine and mesclun, the so-called “fancy” lettuce.

What these all bring to your table is a lovely combination of frilly and flat, crispy and buttery and an array of hues from red to green. They’re high in fiber, which helps food move more smoothly through your colon. Vegetarian Nutrition says they’re:

“Rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene … Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes.”1

Growing Leafy Greens: Soil

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