Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Know Your Greens

Renee Schettler, Washington Post


There are two basic categories of dark leafy greens: quick-cooking and slow-cooking. Several different greens fall into each category and can be used interchangeably in recipes, although the flavors can be vastly different.

Choose greens that look fresh, not wilted, and vibrantly colored, not yellowed. Store unwashed greens in the refrigerator for up to five days loosely wrapped in paper towels, then placed in an open plastic bag.

QUICK-COOKING GREENS can be wilted, whole or chopped, over high heat in a matter of minutes. They also can be thinly sliced and added to soups or, in some instances, served raw as a peppery counterpoint to milder salad greens.

Beet greens: Mild and similar to chard in flavor but with a tougher texture.

Chicory: Includes Belgian endive, curly endive, escarole, frisee and radicchio. Slightly bitter and often peppery; often served raw.

Chard: Commonly called Swiss chard. Red-stemmed varieties tend to have an earthy flavor; white-stemmed varieties are milder and faintly sweet.

SLOW-COOKING GREENS tend to have sturdy and often tough leaves and pungent flavors, both of which are tempered when slowly simmered in a bit of water or stock.

Collard: Very mild-flavored member of the cabbage family.

Kale: Slightly pungent; remove and discard stems from leaves before cooking.

Mustard greens: Very peppery, as the name implies.

Turnip greens: Pungent and strong; older leaves are particularly bitter.

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