This may be one of the lamest posts I’ve ever done because we have a Grow Bed in our Greenhouse right now that is full of this lovely green vegetable, which is really delicious, works great in a stir fry and is also quite good steamed. Raw, the stocks taste like mild celery. The leaves have a slight tartness to them. They don’t have smooth edges but are notched. Here’s what’s lame. We don’t know what the name of this plant is.
Here’s what happened to create this embarrassing scenario. I, Grace, was out of town for an extended period of time and my partner, Oliver, was busy designing our next Food Forever™ Growing System and creating the manual for the last one, so our helper, Fred, planted seeds into this Grow Bed in the Greenhouse. He just placed the seeds into the bed without sprouting them first; and that was about seven weeks ago.
Now we have this beautiful and tasty plant that’s really great because you can eat the whole thing from top to bottom, and it grew like a weed in this Grow Bed. I’d really like to plant more of this plant; but Fred can’t remember what he planted and said he thinks it is some kind of cabbage.
With that in mind, I googled “cabbage” and found that there are cabbages that are more leafy than head like. It’s common knowledge that both Oliver and I are beginner gardeners and have only been gardening as long as we’ve been running our aquaponics systems, so we’re still amazed to discover all the veggies that are out there waiting to be cultivated. If only we knew the name of this one.
I googled “Bok Choy” and announced to everyone that it is Bok Choy; but when I looked at photos of Bok Choy closer today, I realized it’s too leafy and does not have enough stock to qualify as Bok Choy. Bok Choy is in the cabbage family and is a staple in Chinese cooking. It also works well in stir fries; and is becoming more popular in the West. I plan to plant some this spring as I’m sure it will grow well in one of our Food Forever™ Growing Systems. However, once I knew I wasn’t growing Bok Choy yet, I continued to search and came up with what I think this plant might be–“Turnip Greens”.
I also found a great website called “the world’s healthiest foods”, which is absolutely full of information about the best nutritional foods; and I discovered that Turnip Greens are part of the family of vegetables called “cruciferous vegetables”; and they are, just like Fred said, also part of the cabbage family.
They are considered supper foods because they are full of vitamins, fiber and disease fighting phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may have biological significance but are not established as essential nutrients. Scientists estimate that there may be as many as 10,000 different phytochemicals having the potential to affect diseases such as cancer and strokes. Although certain phytochemicals are available as dietary supplements, some scientists believe that the health benefits of phytochemicals are greatly enhanced by eating whole foods.
Lends a lot of credence to the phrase “eat your vegetables”. What’s more, I discovered that Turnip Greens have four times the calcium as regular cabbage; and they outscore cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli in glucosinolate content which means they have a natural ability to mitigate cancer. What’s not to like about this rather obscure veggie? It has a reputation for being bitter; and those cancer mitigating properties may be what’s attributing to the more bitter taste.
But here’s the thing. If this mystery plant is Turnip Greens, we’ve got a best seller because they aren’t bitter. They are tart but not bitter. So now you have the whole story and then some. If anyone out there recognizes this plant as Turnip Greens or WHATEVER, please let us know so we can sow more of this delicious, nutritious, cruciferous vegetable.
Even if it turns out I’m not growing them, I’ve certainly gained an appreciation for Turnip Greens today. Thanks for going on this journey with me.
Now, Let’s GET GROWING! (and hopefully, we’ll know what it is)