Eat your greens - especially the brassicas!
Despite being some of the most widely consumed plants, most people have no idea what Brassicas are or why they are good for you, so…
Welcome to Brassica 101. Here’s a quick disclosure - we are not doctors or nutritionists or farmers, but we’ve talked to lots of them. :) We are highlighting them this month because they are really really good for you (which is why we use them in our Potato Cauliflower Curry and Soba Noodle meals).
To start: Brassicas are glorious plants of the mustard family, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, and bok choy. These super plants provide all the goodies - fiber and minerals (vitamins like C, A, E, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus) but come with bonus glucosinolates? Glucosinolates is a super chemical that you can’t find in other plants.
A fun fact: chopping or chewing these vegetables makes an enzyme called myrosinase and when combined with glucosinolates they make a great anti-inflammatory. Just a little bit of science behind why we use this powerful veg.
In the past few years, the demand for these healthy, once-ignored vegetables is growing. Interest in kale has blown up. Kale was declared the second-trendiest food by Janet Helm on Nutrition Unplugged and brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower trends are not too far behind.
These goodies are also good to farm because they help the soil; they release biotoxic compounds which work as a natural insecticides for bacteria and pests, and their canola seeds are used in canola oil.
What? You’re not farming kale? Not to worry - we’ve got you covered. Here’s how you can prepare brassica vegetables yourself.
When buying something with florets (that’s the head, or top, or crown of a plant), make sure the florets are tightly compact and closed. And the more vibrant the color, the more flavor. The heavier the plant feels the more juicy and fresh it will be. However, heavy doesn’t always mean biggest.
When cooking brassicas, it’s always a good idea to use some salt. It blocks the bitterness which is commonly found in brassica vegetables. Roasting brassicas caramelizes the natural sugars in the plant and brings out the intense flavors and richness of the vegetable. Or you can simply sauté some of the leafier brassicas.
So eat your brassicas. The best part is, they are tasty, scalably sustainable and accessible for everyone.