The edible greens that we might be throwing away

I thrive on vegetables – I love absolutely all of them – raw or cooked. There is no day that I would not eat at least 7-10 different kinds of vegetables. Everything that is seasonal and available in the area I live in – or where I travel. My fridge is always packed with the entire rainbow spectrum of beautifully colored veggies. At the same time, I’ve mastered the art of not wasting a thing that I could use. Sometimes, when I shop at the farmers’ market, I give priority to a veggies that can be used in their entirety to those that would require some clean up. Since I live in an apartment, composting is not a convenient option. And I am very conscious about green living and producing as little waste as possible. An added bonus – this really saves money – even though in a small scale.

So here are my Top ‘Do not throw away’ parts of vegetables and fruits

1. Beet greens – absolutely favorite. Both the stalks and the leaves are edible. If you like beets – you have a bonus – now making two meals out of a bunch. If you don’t care for beets, you would be amazed at how tasteful the greens are. Their taste is milder than kale but stronger than lettuce. I usually sauté them with little oil, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic. The stems need a little longer cooking so I would put them first and add the leafs at the end – just to wilt them.

What are the amazing benefits of the beet greens? Only one cup of beet greens would deliver your body the percentage daily need as follows: 770% of the daily need of vitamin K; 60% of Vitamin A, 48% of Vitamin C; 32% of Vitamin B2; 17% of Vitamin E. It is a great source of copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron and, of course, fiber.
Don’t ever throw away this God given food.

2. Radishes greens – they feel spiky. And you’d think they are bitter because the radishes are. But they have a very mild flavor and taste a lot like lettuce. Radish leaves are easily hidden in just about any green smoothie recipe. Another way of using – toss them together with other vegetables and into the juicer. They will fill your cup with amazing benefits.

Radishes are super rich in calcium with 200mg (20% RDA) of calcium in just a 3 ounce, 44 calorie serving. You’ll also get 2 grams of protein, no fat and 13% of your RDA of iron as well as vitamins A (280% RDA) and C (173% RDA). All greens are naturally a rich source of vitamin K and magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals.

3. Celery leaves:
Most commonly people use the celery stems and the roots. But leaves are not to be neglected. You can use celery leaves exactly same way as you’d use parsley and cilantro. They are very complementary to cabbage salad for instance. A serving of those green-yellowish beauties (3.5 oz) will contribute to your daily needs of fiber (3.9 g), calcium (25%), Vitamin E (18%), iodine (7%)

4. Broccoli stalks – they are juicy and full of fiber. Here are some tips for using them. If I decide to use them raw – I either juice them or grate thick to put them in stir fries or spiral them as vegetable pasta. Also they would be an excellent addition to coleslaw or even to be used instead of the cabbage. Before using them – cut out the tough outside “skin” of the stem. Behind it lays a white-greenish stem, which you eat. Also you could add them to vegetable soups or even make broccoli chips.

Broccoli stems are just as healthy and vitamin-packed as the more visually appealing broccoli florets. One cup of broccoli stems (or florets) will satisfy your daily need of vitamin K and C, it’s packed with chromium, folate and fiber, rich in Vitamin A, B2, B6, E, phosphorus and manganese. Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system.

5. Parsley, dill and cilantro stems:
When I buy a bunch of parsley, dill or cilantro I separate the leaves, wash, dry and chop them. Then place them into a zip-lock bag and put into the freezer. This way there will always be fresh herbs in the house to cook with. But what to do with the flavorful stems – well – put them the next morning through your juicer and add delicious flavor and myriad of phytonutrients to your freshly squeezed juice. Also the small, tender stems can be chopped up right along with the leaves. Treat them like bay leaves, and let them add flavor to soups and stews, or add them to the cooking water when you boil potatoes.


6. Pineapple core: when you cut a pineapple – do you toss the hard core? Don’t! In fact, the healthiest part of a pineapple is its core which is loaded with bromelain – the precious enzyme that digests proteins. It’s also rich in vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and copper. So – save the core and pass it through the juicer next time you make yourself a juice. You will delight with all the pineapple benefits and improve the taste of your healthful drink.

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