Greens (includes collards, beet greens, chard, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens) are very rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, iron, and potassium. If prepared without adding fat or salt, they are also low in calories, fat, and sodium.
Planting and Harvesting Greens
The ideal time to plant greens for Central Texas is January to February and September to November. Harvesting would then take place approximately two months after those planting times during March to May and November to January for full-grown greens.
|Plant Greens||Harvest Greens|
|January to February||March to May|
|September to November||November to January|
Greens should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and are best if used within 3 days.
Choosing Greens for Freezing
Look for leaves that are fresh, young, tender, free from defects, and healthy green in color. Avoid leaves that appear course, fibrous, yellow-green in color, soft (which indicates presence of bacteria), or wilted. In addition, avoid greens with evidence of insect damage, especially aphids which are hard to see and equally hard to wash away. Be sure to wash the leaves very carefully to remove the grit and sand which may be found underneath the leaves and near the stems. Blanching times are specific for different types of greens, with higher blanching times for the tougher leaves (collard greens) to the lowest blanching times for the most tender leaves (spinach). Blanching is done by boiling the prepared vegetable for a specified amount of time and afterwards putting it in ice cold water before placing in an appropriate package for freezing leaving 1-inch headspace. The specified balancing times for specific greens are listed in the following table.
|All other greens:||2 minutes|
|Spinach:||1 1/2 minutes|
The following recipe can be used with any greens.
- 6 tbsp. margarine, divided
- 1 1/2 cups lowfat milk (2%)
- 4 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked, chopped, drained spinach (or any other leafy greens)
- 3 eggs, beaten slightly
- Make a white sauce with 4 tablespoons of margarine, milk, flour, salt, and pepper.
- Add spinach and eggs to white sauce. Grease a loaf pan with 2 tablespoons of margarine. Place greased mold in a pan of hot water.
- Bake until a knife comes out clean, about 1 hour at 350°F.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:213; Protein:8.5 gm; Carbohydrates:13 gm; Total Fat:15 gm; Cholesterol:98 mg; Fiber:2.56 g; Vitamin A:957 RE; Iron:2.1 mg; Sodium:363 mg; Calcium:229 mg;
Diabetic Exchanges: 1/4 Bread, 1/2 Lean Meat, 1 Vegetable, 1/4 Milk, 1/2 Fat
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is implied.
Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
Publication Revised January 2009