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Let's Eat: Know the facts about leafy greens

There are so many choices at your local Ingles Market when it comes to enjoying a salad or eating leafy green. Most of us grew up having our parents buy a pale head of iceberg lettuce for a rather bland dinner salad. Or maybe you had canned or frozen spinach as your vegetable. 

Now there are more options and you can buy many salad greens individually, in bags or in clear plastic containers. There are also a variety of different tastes, textures and crunchiness – from the buttery softness of the aptly named Butter Leaf to a curly crisp bite of escarole or the peppery quality of arugula. We’ve also come a long way from frozen spinach and can make a massaged kale salad or enjoy adding fresh, chopped green or red cabbage to our stir fry or salads.

Did you know that 70 percent of the leafy greens consumed in the U.S are grown in California? Let’s take a look at some of these leafy greens.

Per 1 cup raw portion: 

·      Which has the highest calcium? Arugula (32 mg) and Spinach (30 mg)

·      Which has the most fiber? Savoy cabbage (2.2 gm) and green cabbage (1.8 gm)

·      Which has the most potassium? Red cabbage (170 mg) and Spinach (167 mg) 

·      Which has the most vitamin A? Romaine (4094 IU) and spinach (2814 IU)

·      Which has the most vitamin K? Swiss chard (299 micrograms) and spinach (145 micrograms)

Do you need to wash leafy greens? If your leafy greens are loose (not pre-packaged or not packaged in a plastic container), you should wash your greens – but never use detergent or bleach. Rinse under cool water. If your greens are pre-packaged and marked as “triple washed,” “washed” or “ready to eat,” it is not necessary to wash them again. 

You can spice up your dinner table with this simple salad recipe. Toss a bag of pre-washed arugula salad with a dressing made from 1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 T. olive oil, ½ T. red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Optional additions: halved cherry/grape tomatoes, avocado slices and slices of English cucumber.

Source: Leafy Green Marketing Association,