Welcome the harvest season and this writer’s favorite time to entertain loved ones and friends. Indeed the season is bursting at the seams with a veritable smorgasbord of delightful garden delicacies available for everyone to enjoy. The chance is at hand to create meals for others with a loving heart, and there’s not a moment to lose.
Many of our favorite memories include thoughts of grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles preparing fantastic feasts for traditional meals, along with the special laughter, joy, and kinship felt on those days. Our ancestors left a great legacy in cultivating and cooking great food. Keeping our family traditions alive today by creating new memories is perhaps the most important thing we can do to better our world for future generations. Bring on the feasts!
While traditional dishes mingle with more modern recipes on holiday tables, there is typically one dish that brings it all together – in my house, it’s the greens. Collards, mustards, turnips, and dandelions have all made it to the best table settings, with collards usually winning and mustards coming in a close second.
Collards and mustards are in the same family of plants that include cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnip, and several thousand more plants with edible leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers. They grow wild in the Americas, are found in gardens worldwide, and are still some of the healthiest choices for the harvest table.
Typically simmered in water or broth with onions, peppers, garlic, and spices, the juices and leaves contain vitamins and minerals that may not be present in other foods. Vitamin K is one such vitamin linked to improved cognitive, bone, and heart health. Eating these vegetables can neutralize the body’s cell-damaging free radicals, thereby aiding in the fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
These are tasty, delicate leaves that, when digested, allow for the absorption of cholesterol before it enters your bloodstream, lowering cholesterol levels. They are a great source of fiber. They feed the good bacteria in your gut to maintain digestive health while decreasing your risk of osteoporosis by absorbing calcium and strengthening the bone structure. Greens are also a great anti-inflammatory, containing natural antibiotics, and, bonus, they are simply delicious!
As always, ask your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with your own health regime, but know that people have been cultivating and eating greens for their excellent taste and better health benefits for more than 5000 years. I’m working towards a legacy that will include my family having greens on the table for at least as many more. I hope you will be able to enjoy some too this harvest season.
Have a great November!
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