By Suzanne Watson, Bexar County Master Gardener
We all know that eating more vegetables is a major part of a healthy diet, but eating the recommended 5-8 servings per day can be difficult!
By taking advantage of the many cruciferous vegetables that are in season in our gardens, and going to farmer’s markets and grocery stores, we can more easily reach this goal.
Cruciferous vegetables are of the family of Brassicaceae. They are sometimes referred to as Cruciferae, a Latin word which means “cross bearing.” Indeed, the shape of their flowers and four petals often resemble a cross.
Cruciferous vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse: they contain folate, Vitamins C, E, and K, multiple nutrients, phytochemicals and large amounts of soluble fiber.
Here’s one of my favorite techniques for taking advantage of these power plants:
1) Harvest or purchase broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choy and/or other greens along with a couple of carrots to sweeten up the flavor.
2) Rinse and slice up everything including all the leaves and stems and place them in a big pot with water about halfway up.
3) Boil gently about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4) Let the mixture cool a little and then add everything, including the water, into a blender and mix thoroughly.
You can then use the resulting mixture over the next three or four days. You can also freeze them into ice cubes for a convenient ready-to-use vegetable mixture.
One recipe that I like says to add 5 or 6 of the cubes to a blender, together with blueberries and a few of your other favorite fruits.
Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a scoop of protein powder, and chia seeds, along with coconut or almond milk.
Mix up the entire contents and start your day with at least half your recommended serving of fruits and vegetables and super foods!
All photos by author