Last updated: July 12. 2014 1:58PM - 180 Views
Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N. Penn State Cooperative Extension, Luzerne County

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The farmers market is back! Pittston’s market on Main Street started this past week. Buying fresh produce at the market is a great way to introduce new veggies to your family. Seeing them all just freshly picked and being able to ask questions and visit with the person who grew them is awesome.

We have seen from research that vegetables may prevent cancer and promote a healthy weight. If that’s not enough good news for our bodies, the list can continue with high in fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. However, for some folks, this documented research still isn’t enough to motivate preparing and tasting the unfamiliar vegetables once again. In fact, we know that Americans are not eating enough vegetables.

How many vegetable are enough? USDA has set the goal for adults to eat between 2 ½ and 3 cups a day. It’s recommended that children ages 4 to 8 years old eat one and one-half cups every day.

Going a bit further, over a one-week period of time we should be eating a variety of vegetables including: dark green, orange and red, dried beans and peas, limiting starchy (corn, French fries and potatoes), and other vegetables that don’t fit in the categories like green beans and iceberg lettuce. Vegetables are grouped together according to the nutrients that they contain. It’s best to limit the amount of calories added to vegetables like those from salad dressing and margarine or butter. Use sparingly.

Going to the farmers market is a great first step to learn about vegetables. Take your child or grandchild to the farmers market. Let them pick out a vegetable. They can also help prepare it. At age 4, children can slice cucumbers and mushrooms with a plastic knife. The Pittston market is held at 10 a.m. every Tuesday July through November. It is located on South Main Street in the Pittston Tomatoes Festival lot.

Here is a recipe that uses a leafy green which fits into the dark green category. One cup of kale contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C, K and B, and the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and manganese.

Kale is also a very good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin C. One serving of kale provides more than three quarters of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin C. Like other water soluble vitamins, Vitamin C can leach out into the water, hence is lost. Use just a small amount of liquid when cooking.

Here is a great recipe to get you started. Some folks just like to rinse and chop kale and add to salads and at the end of a vegetable soup.

This recipe uses garlic scapes. They are top part of the garlic plant that is curly and must be removed for the clove to form.

Sautéed Kale with Garlic Scapes

1 and ½ pounds of young kale, rinsed with stems and leaves coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 to 10 garlic scapes or 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

½ cup water

1 chicken bouillon, crushed

1 tsp. powdered ginger

Heat olive oil in a cast iron or a large saucepan. Add garlic scapes, rinsed and cut just 3-4 inches above the small bulb. Sauté 3- 5 minutes. Add the water, chopped kale, ginger and crushed chicken bouillon. Cover and cook until wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

This can be served over cooked penne pasta or as a side dish by itself.

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