Posted by: nuwanbmv | June 12, 2009

Leafy Vegetables

Amaranth

Sometimes called Chinese spinach, this green is a colorful addition to the garden, ranging from a light yellow green to a dark green and red color. Delicious lightly stir-fried or steamed, Amaranth leaves and stems are extremely nutritious delivering protein, iron and calcium, as well as vitamins A and C. Chinese cuisine typically prefers the red-leaf varieties and includes them in soups, sometimes serving the cooked leaves separately. In India, Taiwan and Japan, the lighter varieties are more popular. In Western cuisine, Amaranth can be substituted in any recipe for spinach. Young leaves are tasty and beautiful in salads.204whiteAll Red Leaf

This variety of edible amaranth, also known as Chinese spinach, has tender, broadly dented leaves. The rich purple-red color is present very early, in the first 2-3 weeks of growth. Perfect for micro greens and adds a spark to salads and as garnish. Amaranth will tolerate hot, dry and moist conditions and does not like cold temperatures. In Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, this vegetable is used in stir-fry and soups, while traditional Greek cooking calls for it in place of spinach. Hopi Indians used this plant as an early food dye. Once the plants have gone to seed, the seeds may be ground for high-protein flour.248amaranth_red_leaves

Red Leaf

This variety of edible amaranth has tender, variegated red and green leaves and stems. A distinctly flavored green, Red Leaf will tolerate hot, dry and moist areas. Pick leaves young and use them in a salad or stir-fry, or put them alongside a dish as a handsome garnish.

  • Maturity: Approx. 50 days221redle
  • Planting season: Late spring to early summer

White Leaf

This variety of edible amaranth is grown for its distinct bittersweet flavor. Its large, tender, light green leaves and stems contain more iron and calcium than Western spinach. Unlike most salad greens, this amaranth will tolerate hot, dry and moist areas. The leaves are best when harvested young. While mild enough to eat in a salad, this green is delicious lightly stir-fried or added to soup. Don’t be afraid to include the stems.

  • Maturity: Approx. 50 days
  • Planting season: Late spring to early summer204white

Arugula

An increasingly popular green in the West, arugula’s peppery flavor adds zest and tang to everything from pizza to sandwiches to, most frequently, salads with mache, green- or red-leaf lettuces and other baby greens. A favorite lunch is a spinach wrap packed with arugula and other garden tidbits, with sesame dressing drizzled over them. In Asian cuisine, arugula often provides a bed for chicken, pork or fish, or it can be creamed and made into a delicious side dish. Arugula loves cool weather, growing sweeter and becoming slower to bolt. It does want some attention, though; regular cutting will keep it producing through the season.

Known as Rocket or Roquette, Arugula’s dark green salad leaves add a delicious peppery flavor to salads. The leaves are tastiest harvested as baby greens when they are 2″ to 6″ long. Left in the garden to mature the full361arugula 40 days, the plants can become 24″ to 36″ high, but the flavor grows increasingly bitter. Arugula prefers cool temperatures of spring and fall, and thrives in moist but well drained soils. Mediterranean in origin, this spicy green is excellent raw in sandwiches, as well as cooked on pizzas and in stir-fries, particularly with garlic.

  • Maturity: Approx. 40 days
  • Planting season: Spring and fall
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