The Plants We Eat: Leaves

BY MARY LOU MAYFIELD

Remember when we were reminded to “eat our leafy green vegetables?” Visions of canned spinach or iceberg lettuce salad!  High in fiber and nutrients, fresh greens from our gardens are delicious as well as nutritious!

Leaves are the part of a plant that are the main organs of photosynthesis and transpiration.  They are the factories that convert carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, and sunlight into food for the plant. We think of thin, flattened structures, but leaves can also be cactus pads or the scales of an onion bulb (the base is the stem).

Besides salads, greens can be prepared in many ways. I remember the year when I made Rode Kool (pickled red cabbage) for the Taste of Plum Grove event. It was so delicious, I now make smaller batches for my husband and me.

Rode Kool

https://www.eatgathergo.org/recipe/dutch-red-cabbage-with-apples/

Other members of the cabbage family can be prepared in ways that make them more delicious:

Kale Chips are a delicious snack food! I also crumble them and use them to boost the nutrition of casseroles and soups. I use celery salt for seasoning, and toss it in a plastic bag.  Massaging kale not only distributes the oil and salt, it’s also good for tenderizing kale for salads:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/easy_tasty_kale_chips

Roasted Brussels Sprouts provides a flavor and texture change from boiling them. They can also be glazed with a little balsamic and honey:

https://foodsmartcolorado.colostate.edu/2020/04/14/crispy-brussels-sprouts-with-balsamic-and-honey/

Many herbs are used for their leaves. In addition to adding flavor, some are very nutritious:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/increase_intake_of_fresh_herbs_for_everyday_health

Related Articles