What Are Spring Greens?
Spring greens are the first cabbages of the year, but without the fibrous crunch of regular cabbage. They look more like a lettuce and have fresh, loose heads without the hard heart found in other cabbages. They are silky in texture and taste sweeter and fresher than cabbage, making them perfect for fresh spring recipes! Their peak season begins in April and extends until June. You can use spring greens in recipes calling for cabbage or spinach.
- Like other members of the brassica family, spring greens are incredibly healthful. Brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower for example) contain compounds including sulforaphane and indoles, which have significant protective functions in the body, helping prevent cancer and inflammation.
- Rich in vitamin C, the antioxidant vitamin that will help chase away any lingering winter sniffles, and keeps your skin and tissues strong and healthy. Vitamin C helps boost immunity and protect every cell from free radical damage, warding off aging, illness, and cancer.
- All leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of folate, a B-complex vitamin that is essential for cell multiplication and differentiation. It is of special importance to women of childbearing age, since it protects against birth defects.
- Vitamin K is present in abundance. This vitamin is essential to proper blood function.
Picking and Preparing
To choose the very best spring green cabbages, choose those with fresh, firm leaves and leave any wilted ones.
To prepare, separate the leaves and wash them gently. You may shred the leaves or store them intact in the refrigerator, preferably in the crisper.
There’s no need to chop them; you can just serve them whole. But if you roll up the leaves, shred them finely, then fry them; you get a dead ringer for the crispy seaweed served in Chinese restaurants.
Use spring greens as you would cabbage or spinach – in salads, slaws, or on sandwiches. Spring greens are delicious when added at the end of a stir fry for a little freshness. They also go wonderfully in soups and stews. Try steaming them and serving drizzled with melted butter as a side. Whatever you choose to do with your spring greens, just make sure you don’t overcook – that will make the leaves soggy and may even cause them to develop an undesirable smell.