Winter Greens

by Carrie Fehr

IMG_0878Love is Green:  From the wildly diverse Brassica clan, to the vast palette of mustards, cabbages, and leafy greens, our harvest yield this month is overflowing with a cornucopia of Winter Greens that is so compelling, it draws students into cooking class like a magnet.  Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, it is an auspicious time to share our feelings of love and how it relates to our nature’s bounty.  Our opening question begins with, “What color is love?”  “Red, purple, pink, even black,” are a few of the excited responses from students, and quickly we learn that love can have different meanings.  It should come as no surprise to anyone, that I am, in fact, deeply enamored with Winter Greens, and so quite predictably, the color of love to me, means green, which is a natural and perfect springboard into our lesson— Love is Greens.

Greens get its due. Highlights to our lesson lead off with the waxy broad leaf Collard Green, once considered a poor man’s food, have tufted rosettes of leaves supported by a sturdy upright stem which can grow up to 4 feet, is in sharp contrast to the colorful stems of the gorgeous Rainbow Chard that make it remarkable and as true to its namesake, and undeniably rules as the beauty queen of greens!  Dinosaur Kale with its deeply ridged green leaves is a jewel of nutrition that is unusually rich in nutrients and regarded as a super food.  And not to be outdone, Broccoli Rabe with its feathery leaves, clustered flower buds, and nutty-bitter nuances, pairs nicely as a counterbalance of flavor in a mixed bunch of greens — is arguably the best topping on pizza, ever.  Students enjoy preparing the featured Collard Greens, Rainbow Chard, Dinosaur Kale, and Broccoli Rabe in this Mac N’ Greens recipe.