December 19, 2012

Veggie Fact of the Day

Curly Mustard Greens, New Veggie #60
Spicy, crunchy Mustard greens are one of the most nutritious leafy foods we can add to our diet. The leaves are loaded with Vitamin A, beta-carotenes, Vitamin K and flavonoid anti-oxidants. 

Mustard belongs to the same family as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Mustard leaves, flowers and seeds play an important part in Indian cuisine. The seeds are used in pickles and curries and the greens themselves are eaten with gusto. The overall flavor of the leaves is more pungent compared to other greens in this family (cabbage, kale & collared), with mature leaves having a hint of bitterness. Often, this dish is made with a mix of greens including dandelions and spinach, all milder leaves and hence efficient at masking the bitterness. The young leaves are eaten as a blended dish and once the plant matures, it is allowed to bloom and the seeds are then harvested for culinary purposes. 

In rural parts of Northern India, fields filled with yellow mustard blooms make the prettiest site. Interestingly, a lot of Bollywood song and dance sequences are filmed around blooming mustard fields ;-)!!! Here's a link to one of the most famous songs filmed in a mustard field .. from the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Fresh mustard greens are dark green broad leaves with either a flat surface, or a curly leaf depending upon the local cultivar. Nutritionally, mustard greens are low in calories and fats, high in fiber and provide the highest amount of Vitamin A, C and K compared to other leafy vegetables (100g leaves contain about 350%, 110% and 500% of the RDA respectively). They are also a great source of folic acid and anti-oxidants flavonoids, indoles, sulforaphane, carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin. Overall, these beautiful greens are loaded with goodies.

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