Celebrate the season with the abundance of greens that appear in vegetable stalls everywhere.

Spring is the time for celebrating all things green, and appreciating the wonderful effects of a rainy winter on the land. The valleys and fields are blooming, carpeted with vibrant greens and brightly coloured patchwork of flowers. The increasingly warmer weather brings a variety of life to the farmers’ fields and vegetable trucks, now bursting with delicious seasonal produce of all kinds. Among them those famously nutritious leafy greens; kale, spinach, chard, rocket and lettuce which provide a huge source of various vitamins and minerals but most importantly, chlorophyll and fibre.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that is instrumental in photosynthesis. Consider it‘the blood of plants’, having a structure identical to that of hemoglobin, but made up of magnesium as opposed to iron. Magnesium is the key as to why chlorophyll, and by default, leafy greens, are so beneficial to us. It directly affects and
calms the nervous system, lowering stress levels in our bodies. So if you really need that break, go for a salad over a kit-kat! When it comes to these greens, the darker the better, for this implies a more concentrated source of chlorophyll.

Fibre explains the advantage of consuming green vegetable over fruits, since we tend to consume greens in their entirety.. Fruits are often peeled, removing most of the fibre, and with a much higher sugar content. Fibre, a carbohydrate, is digested into a sugar as well, however, being a long-chain sugar molecule, the process is much slower, giving our bodies time to deal with the sugar intake without causing a spike in our insulin levels. Most importantly, fibre makes up the bulk we needed to push waste out of our systems.

At this time of year it’s hard to resist filling up our plates with stuffed artichoke and kusksu, topping everything with broad beans and peas. Not only are these greens nutritious but also super tasty and provide a fantastic canvas to work with as a cook. With good quality, seasonal and fresh ingredients, any dish is sure to be a hit.This spring I’ve been addicted to the mighty artichoke, to the extent that I’m now preserving them for when they’re no longer growing! My favourite way to enjoy them is simply to sauté the hearts, dressed with some good olive oil, parsley and garlic. They’re great on their own, or added to pasta sauce. (Could mention something here about the dish shown in picture – my Pasta Primavera)

Julia Ripard

Julia Ripard

Homecook, writer and good-food enthusiast. Julia also co-hosts the bimonthly wine club Table Talks at Philippe Martinet Fine Wines.

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