Halal Consumer - Issue 29 - page 5

Are you looking for the next hip and trendy super-
food? Or are you looking for new foods to add
to your health-conscious diet? You’re about to be
introduced to some interesting produce that are not
only cool ways to spice up your dishes, but are also
packed with the vitamins and minerals essential for
healthy living.
You’ve heard of cabbage; you’ve heard of turnips.
How about Kohlrabi? Known as a German cabbage
turnip, kohlrabi is a perennial, cool-season veg-
etable. With its strange purple leaves and bulb-like
appearance, it’s known for its sweet, mild flavor
and crisp and juicy texture. It is the latest popular
superfood and is considered the “new kale.” Full of
vitamin C and potassium, this unique plant comes
in two varieties, white and purple. Kohlrabi is also
rich in dietary fiber with trace amounts of fat and
zero cholesterol. Like cabbage and turnips, kohlrabi
has phytochemicals known to protect against colon
and prostate cancers. Eaten raw or cooked, kohlrabi
is used for salads and soups, and the leaves can be
fried to make delicious fritters.
Mizuna, known as Japanese mustard greens or
California peppergrass, is mildly spicy and often
used for Japanese stir fry dishes. Mizuna has been
cultivated in Japan since ancient times, though its
origins may be based in China. Like most mustard
greens, mizuna is high in vitamins A and C and
folic acid, plus cancer-fighting antioxidants. If you
live in a colder climate, mizuna is an excellent leafy
green to grow at home as it is very cold tolerant.
Not sure what to do with it? YaQutullah Ibraheem
Muhammad, a registered dietician at Veterans
Health Administration, says, “Mizuna is a nice type
of green leaf that can be used as an alternative to
lettuce and spinach in salad.”
Is your green lawn polka-dotted with yellow
weeds? Some would never think of eating them
but those “weeds,” better known as dandelions,
are not only edible, they are delicious! Most com-
monly eaten are the leafy greens of the plant,
which have a hearty taste like chicory or endive,
and are great sautéed, steamed, or eaten raw in
salads. You can also eat the flower, which has a
slight bittersweet taste, as well as the root, which
can be used as a coffee substitute. The benefits of
indulging in this versatile plant? Dandelion greens
are good for digestion and for treating viruses,
gout, eczema, and acne. Include them in your
green smoothies as they are rich in calcium, iron,
protein, and antioxidants.
Bored with broccoli? Craving more than cau-
liflower? Try adding Romanesco to your diet.
Romanesco was first found in Italy and is unique
for its strange appearance. It appeals to mathema-
ticians because of its resemblance to a computer
fractal. Really, Romensco is quite a vegetable to
behold. Think cauliflower, dyed light green, with
spiky flowerets. And the taste? It has a slight nutty
flavor and crunchy texture and is a great substitute
for any cauliflower recipe. Its mild flavor is one
that foodies claim you can enjoy once you get past
its bizarre appearance. Perry VoScott, known as
the Certifiable Foodie, says, “It’s delicious, a cross
between broccoli and cauliflower. It has all the best
of both vegetables, and the texture is like nothing
else you’ve ever consumed.” Romanesco is also rich
in Vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, and carotenoids
— the fat soluble nutrients that give color to our
fruits and vegetables.
Speaking of color…You’ve heard of sweet potatoes
but have you ever seen a purple one? Purple sweet
potatoes are known for their vibrant, bold hue. The
purple sweet potato has only been commercially
available since 2006. At your local farmers’ market
you can ask if they carry purple yams or Hawaiian
sweet potatoes. It has a rich flavor but is known to
be denser and drier than other sweet potatoes. The
purple hue becomes more intense when cooked and,
like their orange relative, they are packed with vita-
mins B6, C, D, iron, and magnesium. Muhammad
raves, “They are awesome and can be used in sev-
eral recipes.” Add some pizzazz to your desserts
by using it to make purple sweet potato ice cream,
donuts, and sesame seed marble cake. Your family
will marvel over the beautiful color, and be equally
impressed by the delicious taste.
This summer, stop by your local farmers’ market and
see what exotic vegetables are available. Introduce
yourself and your family to a unique culinary experi-
ence while supporting local growers and remaining
health conscious. You don’t need to be a chef to add
these unique, nutritious items to your menu.
Kelly Izdihar Crosby
is a writer and multidisci-
plinary artist living in Atlanta, Georgia. You can find out more
about her and her work at
Summer 2014
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