As you know, Lent began yesterday and, as is customary, many Christian believers usually give up something they like to eat for the entire 40-day period. Whether it's red met, alcohol or caffeine, many people take on a period of self-denial. For the past two years, the The Gleaner's weekly Food section shared seafood recipes with our feature, 'Seafood: 40 ways in 40 days', but this year, we have decided to encourage the healthy habit of colourful eating.
This simply means that we will be featuring vegetables representing all the colours of the rainbow. We challenge you to do the same, and this week, we begin with one of God's favourite colours - green. There ought to be a reason that most of the landscape around us come in all shades of green. And it is, therefore, not surprising that the vegetables referred to as dark, green and leafy are among the most nutritious.
Just imagine vegetables that are dark, green and leafy are a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, as well as foliate iron and calcium.
Dandelion greens: have a bitter, tangy flavour and are rich in vitamin A and calcium. They are best when steamed or eaten raw in salad.
Kale: has a slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavour and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kale is tasty when added to soups, stir-fries, and sauces.
Mustard greens: have a peppery or spicy flavour and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, foliate, and calcium. They are delicious when eaten raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups.
Spinach: has a sweet flavour and is rich in vitamins A and K, foliate, and iron. Spinach tastes great eaten raw in salads or steamed.
We must not forget those that have some white in them but are still very nutritious: pak choi, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, squash and more. Snow peas are great as we must never leave out callaloo!
For those of you who say we do not have some of the above vegetables in Jamaica, this is not so, most of them are at some time or another available at the more upscale supermarkets and since we travel abroad so much, why not check out the unfamiliar ones on your next trip?
Join us as we look at purple, red, orange and yellow vegetables.
Arugula: has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Arugula can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.
Broccoli: has both soft florets and crunchy stalks, and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, foliate, and fibre. Broccoli can be eaten raw or steamed, sautéed or added to a casserole.
Romaine lettuce: is a nutrient rich lettuce that is high is vitamins A, C, and K, and foliate. It is best when eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps.