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Vitamin Power from Homegrown Foods

Island Epicure

Homegrown vegetables and fruits yield more nutrients than even the organic vegetables from the grocery store. Each year I promise myself I’ll expand my patio potted vegetable garden, but so far all I’ve been able to grow are the herbs marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint and spearmint, and a lone potato. The pretty little stinkweed plants with their small pink blossoms come up on their own.

They’re decorative, and may or may not have nutritional value, but you sure don’t want to bring them into your house.
We can all give thanks to the VIGA growers and their Saturday market full of freshly harvested power vegetables and just-butchered meats. As soon as I finish writing this and email it off to The Loop, I intend to go there and stock up on kale, spinach, green onions, etc.

Here’s how I cook kale:
     Kale with Garlic
     2 to 3 servings

 2 Tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 bunch kale
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup water

Rinse the kale leaves and pat them dry with a clean dishtowel. With a sharp paring knife, slice along each side of the tough midrib of each leaf. You can slice, blanch and freeze the midribs to add nutrients to a future soup stock.

Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the garlic and stir-fry it just until slightly goldened. Add the kale at once. Stir. Add the water. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Serve with a splash of rice vinegar. All the flavors will come through beautifully. You might reach for the balsamic vinegar, but that seems too strong for this dish.

Kale gives you Vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium and potassium, and is excellent nourishment for your eyes. One cupful yields over 26 mg. of lutein and zeaxanthin,, much more  of these vision protective nutrients than you get from broccoli or spinach. My optometrist advised me to often eat kale and other green leafy vegetables because they help prevent macular degeneration, a condition in which the center of a person’s vision becomes darker and darker and the dark spot bigger and bigger until the victim can’t see at all.

Other power vegetables are collards, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, an outstanding source of Vitamin A. Baby carrots are unusually tender, but they have less flavor, and probably less Vitamin A than the long, slender kind. Cauliflower also yields Vitamin C, 40 mg. per serving, plus folate, potassium, and Vitamin B6, which helps if you have dry, itchy skin, or asthma