Each market, we watch (and stand clear of) the market customers on the hunt for the prize of New England winter food: green leaves. Kale, salad greens, spinach, beet greens and chard seem to have a little magic in them this time of year, as we wait for Spring. Our Seacoast farmers grow these greens in hoop houses and greenhouses, extending their season for year-round availability. Salad greens (the tenderest leaves that are eaten raw), and braising greens (generally cooked because they are firmer) are full of vitamins A and C, potassium and iron.
Purchasing: Select crisp, bright and firm leaves.
Storing: Keep greens in the coldest part of refrigerator (use your crisp drawer), loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. They will keep 5 days to a week; they will wilt and become bitter when too old.
Cooking and eating: Kale takes longer than spinach and chard to cook to tenderness. Remove thick, stiff stems from the leaves (and compost your stems!). All greens can be used interchangeably in recipes, but take care not to overcook the more delicate leaves of spinach, beet and turnip greens, and chard. The tenderest salad greens, of course, are meant to be rinsed and then eaten raw.
See you at the market!