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rooted delights vegan mac and cheese

This local food beats food allergies 5 ways

No gluten. No tree nuts. No soy. No dairy. No eggs. Pure comfort.

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

Food allergies are on the rise. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. That includes 5.9 million children under the age of 18. That’s 1 in 13 kids, or just about two in every classroom. And 30 percent or so of those kids are allergic to more than one food.

Others don’t suffer from a full blown allergy, but just feel better when they don’t eat gluten, soy, tree nuts, dairy, or eggs. Still, just because you or someone you love can’t eat those things, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a yummy comfort food like macaroni and cheese…

rooted delights vegan cheese

…or even an entire wheel of cheese! Not when Rooted Delights is handcrafting artisanal, plant-based cheese using ingredients you can pronounce.

Rooted Delights is one of the new locally prepared foods we’re welcoming into our home-delivered farmers market this year — part of our goal of making it easy for you to eat the healthiest food available: local food!

rooted delights vegan allergen-free local food

Rooted Delights was co-founded in 2016 in Alexandria, Va., by Janay, a fellow sufferer of food intolerances… until she realized that, lo and behold, she felt so much better when she cut things like gluten, dairy, and soy out of her diet.

We veggie fairies were curious about Janay’s journey from food sufferer to food artisan. We also love, love, love her cheddarliscious vegan cheese and mac and cheese. And so, as usual, we just had to her a bunch of our usual nosy questions.

Veggie Fairy:

For you veganism was the cure, right? How did you discover that?

Janay:

My vegan journey started with meatless Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. During that short period, I noticed amazing changes in weight loss, fewer cravings, improved sleeping habits, and overall more energy. I was convinced that my new diet was a positive lifestyle change that could easily and permanently be done.

Veggie Fairy:

What made you jump from cooking vegan food for yourself to cooking for others?

Janay:

I couldn’t wait to share my experience with others and provide plant-based alternatives to help with transitioning! I was determined to create vegan comfort food for my loved ones to enjoy without compromising its taste. While doing research, I found that a high percentage of people have allergies to soy, gluten, and tree nuts. I knew then that I had to be particular with the foods I decided to use and buy so everyone could enjoy it. My co-founder Alexander and I started out with a vegan food truck/catering venture, and I just fell in love with how our food made others feel — that feel-good feeling we all crave. I quickly realized the need for more plant-based cheese alternatives.

Veggie Fairy:

So you graduated from the food truck to creating artisanal cheese. What was the hardest part of getting the cheese business off the ground?

Janay:

The hardest part was finding a cheese type to start the Rooted Delights product line. At the time, I was making different vegan cheeses at home as a hobby.

rooted delights vegan allergen-free local food

Veggie Fairy:

How did you learn to make vegan allergen-free cheese?

Janay:

Lots of trial and error, haha! It took almost a year to get it right. I tried many different ingredients and quantities. But I kept at it because I believe plant-based foods have the ability to be flavorful and make you feel good. As I experimented with those different vegan cheeses, that’s when the cheddar-style cheese was born! I figured a cheddar-style taste has so much diversity and can be used in so many dishes, which in my opinion, makes it a perfect transitioning cheese.

Veggie Fairy:

What do you love most about making artisanal food?

Janay:

I’m so excited that Rooted Delights can provide delicious meals for all! I love that one by one, we are changing people’s perspective of what plant-based food tastes like.

Veggie Fairy:

What makes Rooted Delights different from other vegan food makers?

Janay:

For me, veganism is a movement based on love and positivity. So Rooted Delights is about more than just food making — we are a feeling! We want to provide our customers with the same great feeling as non-vegan foods, but with a plant-based product. That’s how we give our customers something to enjoy with their nachos, burgers, pastas, and mac and cheese… pretty much all the amazing foods we thought we had to give up!

rooted delights allergen-free mac and cheese

Veggie Fairy:

Well, we’re super excited to welcome you and Alexander and Rooted Delights to our home-delivered farmers market! Is there anything else you want to tell our members about Rooted Delights?

Janay:

Yes, one last thing! Rooted Delights is also part of a group called ‘Less Media More Social”. We visit different cities and we provide four-course vegan cuisines, poetry, and great vibes. We also take away our guests’ phones for a small session of the night. Yes, we take their phones. We do give them back! But in the process, we all educate and learn. We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Seasonal Roots and look forward to sharing more cuisines and cheeses in the near future.

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Learn more about Rooted Delights on their website and on Facebook.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

loaded sweet potatoes

LOADED SWEET POTATOES & CHICKEN EGGPLANT CURRY

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / January 23, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Loaded Sweet Potatoes & Chicken Eggplant Curry

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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Birdies Pimento Cheese healthy eating

Healthy eating starts with local pimento cheese. Seriously!

With pimento cheese, even picky eaters eat their veggies

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

Pimento cheese may have been invented in New York, but it became a southern staple long ago. South of the Mason-Dixon, everybody’s got a favorite — a cherished family recipe, a potluck tradition, a beloved deli.

Now, it’s true that dairy products do provide lots of nutritional value. And pimento cheese is gluten free! But admit it: With all that cheddar and mayo, you eat pimento cheese for the fabulous creamy comfort it provides, not to achieve excrutiatingly correct nutrition.

Which is what makes Virginia-made Birdie’s Pimento Cheese such a great secret weapon for getting picky eaters to eat their veggies. You can transform veggies into pimento cheese delivery vehicles by dipping it up with sticks of raw carrots or celery, wrapping it in collard greens, and adding it to tomato sandwiches. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s addictively delicious, and on a busy day it’s a lot better for you and your family than fast-food take-out.

birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

We’ve got some how-to’s on that at the end of this post. Because figuring out how to eat healthy meals even when you’re pressed for time can be a real challenge.

Bad news about kids’ restaurant meals

It’s especially hard to find convenient kids’ meals that are also healthy. Ninety-seven percent of the children’s restaurant meals studied by the Center for Science in the Public Interest did not meet expert nutrition standards for children’s meals. Even at home, less than one-fourth of family dinners include a full serving of vegetables, according to a recent survey by Birds Eye.

Good news about convenient home-cooked meals

Yes, they CAN be convenient! That’s why we’re including prepared foods like Birdie’s Pimento Cheese alongside the vegetables and fruits in our home-delivered farmers market — to equip you with the tasty tools you need to eat healthy, even when you’re in a hurry or faced with a picky eater.

birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

Birdie’s story

Birdie’s is our fave because it’s locally made, its ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, and we’ve got it in five — count ’em FIVE — fun flavors: Classic, Cream Cheese & Black Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Smoked Gouda with Roasted Red Pepper, and Jalapeno.

Birdie’s is co-owned by Robin and Glenn, affectionately known as Birdie and Bubba. Robin grew up in North Carolina, and there was always some pimento cheese in the fridge. Since it was easier to eat a spoonful of pimento cheese than to make a sandwich, she chose it for her go-to after school snack. She didn’t think much about it, other than sneaking a few bites between playing outside and maybe doing some homework. (Let that be a lesson to all you parents out there — always stash those celery sticks next to the tub of pimento cheese to encourage sneaky kiddos to use veggies instead of spoons!)

birdies pimento cheese picky eaters

So Robin grew up, got married, and she and Glenn ran their own printing business. When Robin’s niece got pregnant, everybody in the family was picking out their grandma name or family nickname.

“I think my niece thought I was going to feel left out and she pondered what to call me,” Robin recalls. “You have to be careful letting others nickname you, you could end up as Fruit Loops. So I jumped in with an offer: With a bird as my first name, I thought how about Birdie!”

After that, Robin was once asked if her pimento cheese recipe was hers or her Aunt Birdie’s. She said, “I’m Aunt Birdie!” It was only in July of 2014, as Robin was about to turn 50, that she saw an opportunity to make and sell her own pimento cheese. “My great niece thinks it’s very fine that she’s the catalyst for the name of our pimento cheese. She’s a super fan!”

It happened like this. A revitalization grant brought a farmers market to the Allen’s home of South Hill, Virginia. Eventually, Glenn caught the market bug and figured he’d try his hand at growing and selling cabbages.

“He planted about 24 cabbages in our little garden,” Robin remembers. “As the cabbages started to grow, like good little cabbages do, our hound dog, Day-z, would nip the tender heads right off. Glenn was beside himself. Every afternoon, there was another dead cabbage in the driveway. I suggested I could make pimento cheese.”

So Robin and Glenn came up with a plan to sell three flavors of pimento cheese at the market — just for one day, just to see what it was like.

birdies pimento cheese farmers market

Turns out, they loved everything about it. The town of South Hill cleared the way for Robin and Glenn to get their pimento cheese inspected and their business established, and after that first day — making new friends over pimento cheese, feeling the thrill of the sale, and selling out all 30 tubs of cheese they had in stock — Robin and Glenn launched the next phase of their lives together. They sold the printing business and started making pimento cheese full-time.

birdies pimento cheese farmers market

Why we love pimento cheese

Robin, a.k.a. Birdie, explains what she loves about it all:
“When I would take my pimento cheese to people’s parties, people would say, ‘Oh, well, I put a little onion in mine,’ and that’s when I realized that people are really doing things with it. That’s why we have five flavors. Familiar and exotic at the same time, we’re wildly curious about this Southern tradition. Store-brand pimento cheese has become blander, a please-all attempt that has just left it flavorless. People will taste ours and then they start talking about their aunt’s recipe or the way their mom would make it. That’s one of the beautiful things we’ve experienced with having this business — we get to share everybody’s memories.”

We veggie fairies love that about it, too… almost as much as we just love eating it. It’s so fresh! You’ll find Birdie’s Pimento Cheese in the market’s Extras section.

birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

How to cook with pimento cheese

Watch Robin demonstrate how to make chicken breasts and collards stuffed with Birdie’s Pimento Cheese. To max out the flavor and nutrients, use the healthiest possible ingredients: local pasture-raised chicken and bacon and local sustainably grown collards. They’re available in our home-delivered farmers market. Serve it up with a salad of veggies and/or fruits and you’ve got a complete meal full of fresh nutrition, especially if you double up on the collards.

Watch Robin demo how to make grilled pimento cheese and tomato sandwiches. Be sure to use fresh local tomatoes and fresh-baked local bread. She’s also got other suggestions like sandwiching the pimento cheese between cucumber slices.

Visit Birdie’s Pimento Cheese on Facebook or on her website.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

pear beet salad

PEAR BEET SALAD & HONEY LIME VINAIGRETTE

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / January 16, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Pear Beet Salad & Honey Vinaigrette

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

newsletter

my empanada busy family meals

Empanadas make busy family meals easy

And eating together is so good for families!

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

All you local food lovers have been telling us that you love local veggies AND locally prepared foods, too — because prepared foods make eating fresh and local so easy. So we’re kicking off 2019 by expanding our home-delivered farmers market with prepared foods from local food artisans like My Empanada in Henrico, Va.

My Empanada busy family meals

It’s easy to build a healthy meal around fresh-made prepared foods. That’s really important because our hurry-scurry schedules are cutting into busy family meal times. Sixty years ago, families spent 90 minutes eating dinner together. Now they give it only 12 minutes! And those precious dozen minutes together are happening less frequently — compared to 20 years ago, families eat together 30% less often.

With our busy lives, it seems like you have to make a conscious decision to carve out time for a meal together. But it’s totally worth the effort. Meal times are often the only time when everyone’s in the same room at the same time doing the same thing. It’s a time for catching each other up on your day and growing closer as a family.

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, kids and teens who share family dinners three or more times per week:
1. Are less likely to be overweight
2. Are more likely to eat healthy food
3. Perform better academically
4. Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)
5. Have better relationships with their parents

Eating together is just as beneficial for couples, too!

My Empanada bake at home

So knowing all that, we veggie fairies have discovered that My Empanadas’ frozen ready-to-bake empanadas are perfect for busy family meals. An empanada is a type of pastry that’s baked or fried in many countries of the Americas and in Spain. The name comes from the Spanish verb meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

My Empanada Juan & Claudia

At My Empanada, Juan and his wife Claudia make the crusts by hand and source the fillings from local farmers when available. Stuffed with beef, chicken, or veggies, empanadas are a painless way to get healthy nutrients into picky eaters.

My Empanada picky eaters

Eat them as a snack on the run…

My Empanada easy snacks

…or make them the centerpiece of a meal. To build an easy home-baked meal around them, apply an egg wash to the frozen empanadas and pop them in the oven for 25 minutes. While they’re baking, toss together a salad or roasted veggies for sides, and viola! You’ve got a delicious, nutritious meal you can gather around to enjoy together, even during a crazy-busy day.

These family meal favorites come from a family business. We talked with Claudia, who trained for two years in the baking program at culinary school in North Carolina. She now owns and runs My Empanada with Juan.

My Empanada Claudia

VEGGIE FAIRY:

So why did you and Juan decide to focus your food artisan skills on empanadas?

CLAUDIA:

My husband Juan and I were born and raised in Colombia, South America, where there are as many empanada vendors as there are burger joints in the United States. Empanadas are a popular comfort food. They’re golden brown, crescent-shaped pastries that come in a wide variety of sweet and savory flavors from all over South America and the Caribbean. So they’re multi-functional — you can eat them as a snack or a meal, and they’re a staple for special events and parties.

My Empanada veggie

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How are your empanadas different from the kind you can get in the frozen section of the big grocery store chains?

CLAUDIA:

We start with traditional recipes passed down from our family. We’re all about going back to the roots of a culture. Not just our Latin culture, but also other cultures, in search of that special ingredient or spice that creates a nostalgic flavor. Then we use the best ingredients to hand-make flaky, mouth-watering crusts, and we fill them with a variety of filling options.

My Empanada local fresh made

CLAUDIA (continued):

They’re baked fresh every day. Our fillings include traditional recipes from several different countries, as well as some modified American flavors that you may find in your grandma’s cookbook. Our goal is to give you a taste of these many cultures, straight from our kitchen to your table.

My Empanada Virginia farmers markets

VEGGIE FAIRY:

In addition to your take-out store in Henrico, you also go to farmers markets. What kind of response do you get there?

CLAUDIA:

So far we have received great feedback from our customers at the farmers markets we serve. We have really enjoyed getting to meet new people and share a taste of our culture with them. There are often people who have never even heard of empanadas. We find it very rewarding when they try our empanadas and come back for more! Thanks to our farmers markets patrons we just moved into a bigger production kitchen. We’re looking forward to introducing more people to the pleasures of enjoying empanadas!

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My Empanada snacks or meals

Now you can see why we jumped at the chance to welcome Claudia and Juan and their irresistable empanadas to our home-delivered farmers market! With a little help from prepared foods like this, busy families can still enjoy mealtimes together. So while you’re shopping this weekend, throw some fresh-made local empanadas in your basket and make plans to sit down and enjoy them next week with the ones you love.

In the meantime, if you’re in Henrico, stop in at My Empanada at 1421 Blue Jay Lane, or visit them on Facebook!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

seasons greetings

Seasons Greetings from Seasonal Roots

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 18,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Seasons greetings from the farm!

2018 has been a great year for local food in Virginia! Thousands of Seasonal Roots members have been eating better and living better while supporting 75 local family farmers and food artisans. Thank you for putting your food dollars to work right here at home and for making our state more sustainable and humane!

You’ve also been voting with your orders, telling us what you like. Apparently you really, really like ...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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Authentic local salsa made in Virginia

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 11,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

What a happy zingy way to eat your veggies!
Authentic local salsa made in Virignia

She was born in Venezuela and named America. Later she married Lionel, who comes from Mexico, and she grew to love the flavors of his rich culture. And now she’s handcrafting authentic local salsas right here in Virginia.

The company is Salsas Don Sebastian, the latest addition to our home-delivered farmers market. America and Lionel’s delicious mix of fresh vegetables are an easy, yummy way to boost your veggie...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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salsas don sebastian local salsas

Authentic local salsa made in Virginia

What a happy zingy way to eat your veggies!

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

She was born in Venezuela. Her parents named her America. Later she married Lionel, who comes from Mexico, and she grew to love the flavors of his rich culture. So, no surprise that she’s now handcrafting authentic local salsas and Latin sauces right here in Virginia, right?

The company is Salsas Don Sebastian, which is named after their son Sebastian.

salsas don sebastian local salsas 1

We veggie fairies were all a-twitter when all those amazing salsas made their debut in our home-delivered farmers market. We weren’t the only ones — our members couldn’t get enough of it. Salsa is a delicious mix of fresh vegetables, and that makes it an easy, yummy way to boost your veggie intake. So we had to get the story on this new local salsa that was lighting up our taste buds.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Did you grow up eating salsas?

AMERICA:

Not like this! I got really into salsas after several trips to Mexico, where I was introduced to a wide range of flavors and colors that I was not used to before. I learned that in Mexico, there is a salsa for everything. Mexicans use it as a complement for every dish. As I started tasting salsas, my tolerance of the spices and heat was low. Now, however, I feel like I can actually taste the flavors of the different peppers that are used in the different salsas.

salsas don sebastian local salsas peppers

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How did you make the leap from making it for your family to making it for everyone?

AMERICA:

I have this vein of being independent and intrepid. I love doing something fun, different, creative. We’d been making the salsa forever, mainly because we couldn’t find any authentic Mexican salsas in the market. None of those products were as fresh and filled with exciting flavors as what we were making at home. So, from out of the blue it occurred to me that we might have something here that other people might enjoy. I talked about it with Lionel, but he had a good corporate job and he said, “I’m not going to leave my job to make salsa.” So I said, “Teach me!” Two years later, I quit my job teaching Spanish throughout the Richmond metro area and the rest is history.

salsas don sebastian local salsa

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Making food like this is a very creative process, right?

AMERICA:

It is! I discovered it was even more creative than I thought. You don’t just throw things in the blender. Making it is a science and an art, finding the balance among all the ingredients. Different salsas use different ingredients, and since I use as many locally grown ingredients as possible, they change with what’s in season. So I started making salsa and giving it away and people said, “I’d buy this in a heartbeat.” I put up a post on our Facebook neighborhood page and said, “Hey guys I’m thinking about selling this at a farmers market, would you try some? I just need feedback.” Lots of people wrote back saying they wanted to try it. I distributed it around and it was amazing — all the feedback was positive.

salsas don sebastian local salsas 3

VEGGIE FAIRY:

What did your taste-testers like best?

AMERICA:

Everyone talked about how fresh it was. What I make is very different from other salsas in the grocery store. Read the ingredients and those industry-made salsas have sugar and preservatives. They’ve been shipped from who knows where and then sit on the shelf for who knows how long. I make salsa today and the next day it’s on your shelf.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

I didn’t realize there was sugar in the big industry-made salsas.

AMERICA:

Mine has no added sugar. There are plenty of natural sugars in fresh vegetables. My salsas are also gluten free. And not to mention delicious! We make every batch from the freshest ingredients available that we can find locally. That’s why our salsas are fresher and tastier — because they’re local.

salsas don sebastian ingredients in bowl cropped

VEGGIE FAIRY:

What do you look for in the produce that goes into what you make?

AMERICA:

I go to different farmers markets and I have made very valuable relationships with the local farmers there. When local produce is in season, I source from my friends who farm sustainably. When my must-have ingredients aren’t in season, then I go to my regional wholesaler. Either way, it has to be fresh and it has to be grown sustainably. That’s good for us and for the environment. And I help make sure nothing goes to waste, because most of my produce doesn’t have to look perfect. I’m cutting it up. It just has to taste perfect.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Yeah, we love ugly food, too! So long as it’s fresh and local, it has more taste and nutrients than the pretty produce in the grocery store.

AMERICA:

Exactly. Like the tomatoes I use don’t need to look perfect and the farmers love me for that. The only exception is cilantro. It has to be beautiful and green and perfect because that pop of color is part of what makes salsa so irresistible. But jalapenos, for example, they just need to be hot!

salsas don sebastian local salsas 2

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How do you, the professional, use salsa?

AMERICA:

On everything! Our red salsa is so versatile that it goes with most meats. You can put it on eggs, or just enjoy it as a dip with fresh chips or tostadas.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

So who does what at Salsas Don Sebastian?

AMERICA:

I wear most of the hats. My sister helps me with prepping all the veggies and making sure that all vegetables are super clean. Lionel helps when he gets in from work and also sells in farmers markets on the weekends. We work from the same recipes that his grandmother used when he was growing up. So every batch we make reminds him of fond memories from his childhood. Flavors and aromas are very connected to memory and we’re handcrafting happy new ones for our customers every day with our salsas.

salsas don sebastian mexican hats

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Start making your own delicious memories with America’s salsas and Latin sauces. You’ll find them in the Seasonal Roots home-delivered farmers market every weekend. In between you can check out all her latest creations on the Salsas Don Sebastian website and on Facebook.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how to cook greens

How to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens!

– Written by Margo L, veggie fairy & neighborhood Market Manager in Yorktown

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

So here’s the inside scoop on the difference between greens and how to make use of them, including how to cook greens.

Beets

Beets are loved or hated. They’re dense and have a strong, earthy flavor. But they’re also full of sugars. Beets can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to be eaten on their own or added to salads. They can even be used as a sweetener when baking certain desserts. Beet greens make an excellent salad green or can be sautéed or steamed.

Bok choy

Bok choy is sweet, crisp, and mild tasting. The stems are juicy and sweet and take a few minutes longer to cook than the mild-tasting greens. It’s delicious in stir fries and soups.

Broccoli

Broccoli crowns can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the stem. Just discard the shard tip, then slice the rest of the stem and steam or roast the slices longer than the crown, which needs only brief cooking. Bake broccoli into casseroles or add to soups and stews.

Cabbage

Cabbage, when overcooked, emits hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg aroma), ammonia, and other foul smells. But cooked with care, it’s delish. Add it to soups or baked dishes, or simmer, sautée, or steam it. Eat it raw in slaws and salads, or use the leaves to wrap up a savory filling. Savoy cabbage, by the way, is the one with extremely crinkled leaves.

Chard

Chard, including lovely rainbow chard, is almost as quick cooking as spinach. You can steam, sautée, or braise it, or add it to soups, stews, and casseroles. The leaf and stem can be prepared together or they may be cooked and served separately.

Collards

Collards are actually a mild tasting variety of kale. Leathery looking but tender after an encounter with heat, they both do well when you slice them into slivers and cook them briefly. They’re commonly cooked with smoked meats, onions, chiles, garlic, and vinegar. But they’re also good with ginger, coconut, and spices like turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Raw kale is good in salads or hide it in a smoothie.

Spinach

Spinach is a delicate veggie and best when lightly cooked, just until it begins to go limp. Its mild flavor absorbs any seasoning and its leaves have a velvety quality. Just wash it well, shake off most of the water, and put it in a hot pan – the moisture clinging to the leaves will be sufficient to wilt it. Spinach can also be eaten raw in a salad or smoothie.

Turnips

Turnips, in this case salad turnips, taste similar to a radish – earthy, crunchy, and peppery. Eat the roots and greens raw in a salad, or slice and sautée them.

So eat your greens, enjoy the flavors, and feel oh so very virtuous!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 4,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

‘Tis the season for greens
A pocket guide to our current crop of nutritious powerhouse greens
by Margo, veggie fairy & neighborhood market manager in the Yorktown area

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

Beets are loved or hated…

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