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How to prepare and cook nutrient-packed fresh greens.

Greens Cooking GuideDark leafy greens, such as kale, collards and chard, are nutrient powerhouses—rich in vitamins A, C and K. Look for greens in bunches in the produce section near lettuce; beets are sometimes sold with the greens still attached, but you can often find the greens sold separately as well. One pound of greens cooks down to about 1 cup, so plan accordingly.

Here are a few quick and easy greens-cooking suggestions to get you started:

Blanch greens and sauté with a little garlic and olive oil.
Add a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice to balance greens’ bitter flavor.
Top greens with chopped toasted nuts or stir in dried fruit.
Cook extra greens and store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days—you can reheat them later in the week for pasta dishes or toss them into a batch of soup.

Start with 1 pound of greens. Here are some of our favorites:

Beet Greens

Prep: Cut stems 1 inch above beet crown. Trim long stems from large leaves; discard blemished leaves. Wash in several changes of water; drain. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

Cooking: Very tender leaves can be cooked like spinach. Cook larger mature leaves, covered, in a wide pot of 2 cups lightly salted boiling water just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain and press out moisture. Be aware that beet greens, like beets, will bleed and discolor accompanying foods.

Yield: 2 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Nutrition per serving: 48 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 5 g fiber; 426 mg sodium. Nutrition Bonus: 270% Daily Value vitamin A, 80% DV potassium, 70% DV vitamin C.

Collards

Prep: Pull the leaf from the tough ribs and stems; discard stems. Wash in several changes of water; drain. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces.

Cooking: Cook, covered, in 2 cups lightly salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and press out moisture.

Yield: 4 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Nutrition per serving: 34 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 21 mg sodium. Nutrition bonus: 210% Daily Value vitamin A, 40% DV vitamin C.

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