The Urban Gardener: Greens, glorious greens

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    Enjoy greens from the garden all year long.

    I read recently that if one wants to eat out of their garden through all four seasons, then they better learn to love eating greens. This is true if you enjoy farmers’ markets as well. Tomatoes and green beans are only available locally for a few months of the year, but greens will keep your belly full year-round.

    Maybe you are fortunate enough to already love greens. Maybe you already appreciate their crisp freshness and nutritional benefits. Or maybe you have bad memories of overcooked soggy greens that keep you from jumping on the kale bandwagon. If so, let me dispel any mistaken notions you have about the need to cook your greens to death. A minute in a pan of hot oil, minced garlic and a dash of salt and chili flakes is all they need.

    In fact, why cook them at all? To enjoy raw kale, beet greens or chard, stack the clean leaves on a cutting board, roll them up like a cigar, and then slice thinly from one end of the “cigar” to the other.

    Cut-up greens make a wonderful salad.

    Toss your green confetti shreds with a pasta salad to add texture, freshness and great taste. Or, mix the shredded greens with a cooked grain and toss together with a vinaigrette for a hearty salad that will hold up wonderfully for a picnic on a hot day. Grain salads deserve an article of their own, but to get you started, try cooking bulgur or wild rice for your next salad.

    If you don’t already enjoy your daily greens, then next time you are at the grocery store, take a step beyond parsley and try something new. Maybe a colorful rainbow chard? If you have garden space at home, I hope you’ll grow a few greens for your fall and winter dinners. I have a seed giveaway on my blog, to get you started!
    — By Lara Alexander, My Edmonds News gardening columnist. For more gardening tips and recipes, visit her foodandsoil blog.

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