Kitchen Tips

Five of the best: Winter greens

Sauté, stir-fry, sweat, steam or salad? Greens are versatile and go well with virtually any flavour profile, whether spicy, citrusy, smoky, or creamy, and lend themselves to most cooking techniques too.

Winter greens
Add them to soups, layer into gratins, stir into sauces, and squeeze them in wherever you can for a mid-winter nutrient boost. Packed with nutrients, including vitamins C, K and E, B6, and provitamin A, leafy winter greens also contain important minerals such as iron and folate, and high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Somewhat milder in flavour than its cousin chard/silverbeet, spinach, and in particular baby spinach, is an excellent salad green when lettuce is in short supply. Its mild flavour makes it easy to include in soups, stir fries and gratins.
Beet greens
Contain more nutrients than the beetroots themselves. Blanch the greens for a minute or two in boiling water then plunge into iced water to stop them losing their colour. Then slice, and sauté in olive oil with a little garlic, a pinch of chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Also known as silverbeet, chard is a ‘cut and come again’ vegetable – so it’s ideal for gardeners. Varieties include red, yellow or white stalks so it’s pretty to look at and to cook.
With its peppery flavour, it is perhaps the most under-appreciated of the superfoods. It has been identified as one of the ‘powerhouse fruit and vegetables’ in a 2014 US study, and is associated with reducing the risk of developing chronic disease.
Kale is closely related to broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Kale is hailed as a superfood for its abundant nutritional benefits and is at its sweetest and most tender during winter. Traditionally, it has been used in pastas, soups and salads, but is now a staple smoothie ingredient.
Random fact: Beetroot was taken as an aphrodisiac during Roman times. Those Romans may have been onto something, as beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones, and the nitric oxide in beetroot increases blood flow to the extremities.