Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Greens. We didn't arrive here being big consumers of greens, especially not things that aren't crispy lettuce. Iceberg lettuce - yes. All other lettuces - no. But over time I've developed the habit of adding greens to stir fries, soups, sauces, and smoothies. Ah, sneaky ways to get greens into hubby! 

At first, the greens I turned to were the ones I had been raised with - spinach. Yup, that's it. Not very diversified. Oh yeah, I forgot. Once in awhile in the early springtime Mother would get some fresh picked dandelion for a special salad or watercress for a sandwich addition in place of lettuce. 

Since creating my homestead, I've been experimenting with all sorts of foods new to us. Hubby's not impressed, but he graciously eats small amounts. 

...Lettuces other than iceberg. I can sneak small amounts chopped in with the iceberg. Lettuce leaves in soup are actually good and tasty. 
...Sweet potato greens. The growing tips are tender and tasty. 
...Pipinola. The growing tips make a nice green when cooked with tomatoes and fish sauce. Sshh. Don't tell hubby about the fish sauce. 
...Turnip leaves. Young leaves from plants growing in the semi shade are tender and mild. 
...Radish and daikon leaves. Ditto above. 
...Kale. Ditto. But I find that make grown during the summer months here to be too tough and strongly flavored. 
...Beet leaves and chard. Young, fast growing leaves are best. 
....Chaya. I add a few leaves to whatever I'm cooking. I don't eat this raw. Once cooked and chilled, I use them in place of grape leaves. 
...Chinese bok choy and Chinese cabbages. We've both come to love these, both fresh and cooked. 
...Regular cabbage. Good both fresh and cooked. Love the stuff. 
...Watercress. I only get a chance to forage this occasionally. Hubby won't touch it but I enjoy the slightly bitter greens. 
...Okinawan spinach. I add a few chopped up leaves to fresh salads. They are a bit slimy when cooked so I use them sparingly in soups and stirfries. 
...Amaranth. Good for both fresh salad and as an addition to cooked meals. 
...Onion greens. I'm not fond of them raw, though hubby likes them that way. I use plenty in cooking. 
...Broccoli leaves. The small young leaves go fine in stir fry. I prefer them when they are grown in semi shade with a lot of fertilizer (compost & manure) for fast succulent growth. Older leaves aren't so good. 
...Aztec spinach. The only time I tried this, I found the leaves to be tough and chewy. Next time I will try growing them as I do for broccoli leaves and see if that method improves them. This plant is very easy to grow here.
...New Zealand spinach. Good in stir fry and soups. 
...Malabar spinach. This is slimy when cooked, so I use sparingly and normally only in soups. 
...Herb leaves. I use many different ones in fresh salads, smoothies, teas, and in cooking. Chervil. Celery. Chive. Basil. Dill. Parsley. Rosemary. Mint. Borage. Cilantro. Dandelion. Catnip. Nasturtium. Oregano. Sage. Summer savory. Thyme. Purslane. 
...Tree leaves. These I use for flavoring. Allspice. Clove. Bay. 

The greens that we tried but never developed a liking for is arugula and broccoli raab. 

I still plan to explore many other greens. On the list are:
Lilikoi, cowpea, okra, moringa, winged bean, zuike taro, other taros, tanier spinach, orach, baby bean leaves, baby pea leaves and young tendrils, baby pigeon pea leaves, bottle gourd and pumpkin young tips, young quinoa, stinging nettle. And there are herbs I haven't tried growing yet. 

I've heard that young papaya leaves are edible. Same for some hibiscus. Noni. 

There are plenty of other greens out there. They're just not common to my thinking. But I'm gradually exploring the world of greens. 

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