Radicchio

 

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Today the final ingredient we find in the Spring Mix bag is Radicchio.

raddicioRadicchio (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 Radicchio (pronounced ra-dee-kyoh) is a leaf chicory sometimes known as Italian chicory and is a perennial. It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted.

radicchioIts wine-red succulent, bitter flavored leaves holds several unique compounds like lactucopicrin (intybin), zeaxanthin, vitamin K and several other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The bitter principle in the radicchio is lactucopicrin, has been found to be a potent anti-malarial agent and has sedative and analgesic (painkiller) effect.

The leaves are an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein. 100 g leaves provide 8832 µg of these pigments. It contains some essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) and thiamin (Vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential as the body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrates metabolism.

Fresh radicchio is one of the excellent sources of vitamin K. 100 g provides about 255.2 µg or 212% of daily-recommended values. Vitamin K has potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Further, adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has an established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

It is also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Carbohydrates 4.48 g 3.5%
Protein 1.43 g 3%
Total Fat 0.25 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g 2%

Trader Joe’s has a lettuce package that has lots of radicchio. Slightly bitter but mixes well with other greens.

 

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Frisee

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Today we talk or should I say write about Frisée.

friseeFrisée (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 Curly endive, or frisée (var crispum) is narrow, green, and has curly outer leaves. It is sometimes called chicory in the United States. It is generally more bitter than the other endives and is used sparingly in the bag. It is extremely popular in France, and truly one of the most elegant of the salad vegetables.

It is a very low calorie leafy vegetable. 100 g fresh leaves provide just 17 calories; however, it contributes about 8% of daily-required intake (DRI) of fiber.

It is enriched with good amount Vitamin A and ß-carotene. Both compounds have antioxidant frisee1properties. Carotenes convert to Vitamin A in the body. Furthermore, Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. In addition, it is also essential vitamin for good eye-sight. Consumption of natural vegetables/greens rich in Vitamin A helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Further, it contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) and thiamin (Vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Carbohydrates 3.35 g 2.5%
Protein 1.25 g 2%
Total Fat 0.20 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.10 g 8%

You will find this green in the Spring Mix bag, but not in abundance. It’s cute looking and you can find a few salad recipes in a search but probably not a green you would eat as a whole salad.

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Arugula

 

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So today we look at another green in the Spring Mix bag. Arugula is its name, Oh arugula is its name.

arugalaArugula (Fresh Express Spring Mix)

 

 

Eruca sativa, is an edible annual plant. Arugula is an aromatic salad green. It is also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, and is popular in Italian cuisine.

Serving size ½ Cup Calories 2.5 0%; Carbohydrate 1.3; Fat 0.6; Protein 0.6

Vitamin A 237 IU 5%; Lutein+Zeaxanthin 355 mcg; Vitamin C 1.5 mg 2%; Vitamin K 10.9 mcg 14%

arugula-largerIn 2006, arugula became a symbol for the entire foodie movement with the publication of David Kamp’s book, “The United States of Arugula: How we became a gourmet nation.” In his book, Kamp explores how we evolved to a society where balsamic vinegar, pasta, free-range chicken, extra virgin olive oil and of course, arugula, have become mainstream terms. (Continue reading on Examiner.com Arugula is a nutrition rock star – Philadelphia Nutrition | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/nutrition-in-philadelphia/arugula-is-a-nutrition-rock-star#ixzz1U4C18hp1)

It is more expensive and as the article points out that Barack Obama bewailed the price of arugula. It doesn’t have the nutrient density that spinach has except for calcium and for me not the same mild flavor. But it is a possible choice and it is in the Spring Mix bag.

 

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Spinach

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spinachToday it’s about spinach. I love cooked spinach. I like a little vinegar on it. Butter would be nice also. I went through a diet phase where we ate a lot of spinach. I think my teeth were beginning to turn green we ate so much. Since I found my iron was a little high, I discontinued eating so much spinach. The older spinach has tougher stems which I would just as soon see cut off. But that adds a lot of work to preparing a salad. I also like them wilted. There are a lot of recipes that contain spinach. I have had spinach in Quiche and frittatas, soups, dips and other Italian-style dishes just to name a few. It’s readily available in most grocery stores in bags or bunches. Baby spinach is even more tender.

 

baby spinachBaby spinach (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 

Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especiallyspinach-bunch when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. They resemble opiates which affect the brain in various ways.

Wonderful green leafy vegetable spinach is often recognized as one of the functional food for its nutritional, antioxidants and anti-cancer constituents. Its tender, crispy, dark green leaves are favorite ingredients of chefs all around the world.

1 cup serving Calories 6.9 0%; Carbohydrate 3.8; Fat 1.0; Protein 2.1

Vitamin A 2813 IU 56%; Beta Carotene 1688 mcg; Lutein+Zeaxanthin 3659 mcg; Vitamin C 8.4 mg 14%; Vitamin E 0.6 mg 3%; Vitamin K 145 mcg 181%; Folate 58.2 mcg 15%

Spinach is a versatile green for cooking and salads. You can find lots of recipes that use spinach. Start trying some. I plan to check them out.

 

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Tatsoi

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On with the lettuce show while we pry open the Spring Mix bag. I checked at Walmart and their spring mix contained the same ingredients. They also had a herb mix which added some herbs to the spring mix. Herbs like dill and cilantro. May have to try that out.

 Tatsoi (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 

TatsoiCabbageTatsoi (Brassica narinosa or Brassica rapa var. rosularis), also called spinach mustard, spoon mustard, or rosette bok choy, is an Asian variety of Brassica rapa grown for greens.

I’ve seen several spellings of this lettuce also. One sounded more Asian – Tat-Soi – even tatsoy.

1 cup serving Calories 13; Total Fat .3g;  Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%;  Protein 1.1 g 2%

Vitamin A (as beta-carotene) 40%
Vitamin C 9%
Vitamin E 4%
Folate 28%
Iron 7%
Calcium 10%
Magnesium 5%
Zinc 1.5%

Tatsoi has tender, sweet tasting stalks and leaves that are commonly used in Tatsoihigh-quality dishes, stir-fry, and in salad mixes. You probably won’t find it except for Spring Mix bags. It is gaining popularity in America. You can eat it cooked or raw.

 
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Mizuna

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Lets open up our bag of Spring Mix once again. I did talk about Mizuna a little earlier but I’ll repeat and add some extra notes to this green.

mizunaMizuna (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 

Mizuna is a Japanese lettuce variety. It kind of reminds me of dandelion leaves. Somebodymizuna01 described the taste of mizuna as a piquant, mild peppery flavor…slightly spicy, but less so than arugula. That of course is a sales pitch. No one knows what that means. Speak English. Is it mild or bitter? Does it taste like lettuce or a weed? Piquant means having a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavor. All these different tastes mingle together and make a nice salad. They are probably saying it’s a little bitter. But another seed place calls it mildly flavored leaves.

Mizuna (Japanese: 水菜 ‘water greens’), also called Xiu Cai, Kyona, Japanese Mustard, Potherb Mustard, Japanese Greens, California Peppergrass, Spider Mustard, etc., is a Japanese name used primarily for cultivated varieties of Brassica rapa nipposinica but also for Brassica juncea var. japonica. Don’t you just love those sentences found in Wikipedia? Who can understand them?

Mizuna is generally mixed with other lettuces to enhance the appearance, flavor, and nutritional value of salad.

Serving Size 1.0 cup raw  Calories 15;  Sodium 15 mg 1%;  Total Carbohydrates 3.0g 1%;  Dietary Fiber 2.0g 8%;  Sugars 1.0g;
Protein 2.0g

Vitamin A 120%;  Vitamin C 70%;  Calcium 6%;  Iron 4%

Good points

  • Very high in calcium
  • Very high in dietary fiber
  • Very high in iron
  • Very high in manganese
  • Very high in magnesium
  • High in niacin
  • Very high in potassium
  • Very high in riboflavin
  • High in thiamine
  • Very high in vitamin A
  • Very high in vitamin B6
  • Very high in vitamin C
  • Very high in vitamin E

Mustard MizunaYou won’t find this in regular grocery stores except in the Spring Mix bags. I haven’t seen it at Farmer Markets like Whole Foods either. Some seed companies call it Japanese Mizuna Mustard Green Seeds. They really don’t look like our domestic mustard greens.

 

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Greens – Swiss Chard

Swiss chard

So I’ve completed the study of the lettuces found in the Spring Mix bags and now I look at Greens. There are 6 types of lettuce but greens are in many categories. The greens in this Spring Mix bag only make up a few of those available.

Swiss chard Red Swiss chard (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 

green swisschardGreen Swiss chard (Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

 

Green swiss chardToday we look at red and green Swiss chard. Chard (Beta cicla), also known by the common names Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights (due to the bright and vivid spring colors when they are cooked or provided as a medley of vegetables), seakale beet, and mangold, is a leafy vegetable, and is one of the cultivated descendants of the sea beet.

Swiss chard is bitter and the red stems are tough. Growers put Baby chard in the spring mix because it is tenderer and less bitter. Swiss chard is normally cooked to remove the bitterness and to reduce some of the oxalic acid. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating Swiss chard.

Calories 6.8; Carbohydrate 4.7; Fat 0.6; Protein 1.6

Vitamin A 2202 IU 44%; Vitamin C 10.8 mg 18%;  Vitamin K 299 mcg 374%; Folate 5.0 mcg 1%

red swiss chardWhile I was in a Whole Foods market I saw they has Swiss Chard in their ready-to-eat area. I asked for a taste. So they gave me a little paper cup to spoon out a little. This batch of cooked swiss chard also had a pretty spicy content. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was edible. It tasted a little like spinach. Maybe a little more bitter. Not my favorite. I still can’t convince Charlene to try it, even though she had to eat it as a child.

 

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Butterhead Lettuce

 

butterhead-lettuce 700x400So what’s for lunch today? It’s butter lettuce. Actually it’s not on my lunch menu for today. There’s some in the Spring Mix bag. You can also buy it in your grocery stores both fresh heads and some you can find in bags.

greenbutterSalnovaBaby green butter lettuce (Fresh Express Spring Mix)

 

 

redbutersalanovaRed butter lettuce (Fresh Express Spring Mix)

 

Butterhead lettuce is one of the six categories of lettuce. Butterhead (L. sativa var. capitata) forms loose heads. Its leaves have a buttery texture. Popular varieties include Boston, Bibb, Buttercrunch, and Tom Thumb.

Butterhead LettuceHere’s what http://greenliving4u.blogspot.com/2010/
08/organic-butterhead-lettuce.html
has to say about this lettuce. Butterhead lettuce is much richer in iron than head lettuce. It contains significantly lower amounts of vitamins A and C than green Romaine lettuce. The darker green outside leaves contain a much higher proportion of the valuable food elements than the light-colored inner leaves. Butterhead lettuce is very gas-forming, and really only offers bulk to the intestinal tract. It has an alkaline ash, however, and is not stimulating. Also, it is excellent for those who would like to lose weight.

Overall not too complimentary. Both Boston and Bibb lettuces are butter heads which are known for their buttery texture and sweet flavor.

Butter leaf lettuce’s origin: Mediterranean basin in its original form. There are countless varieties that have been developed in the United States. The benchmark, Compositae family was developed by John Bibb in Kentucky in the 1850’s.

Calories 7.2; Carbohydrate 4.3; Fat 1.0; Protein 1.8

Vitamin A 1822 IU 36%; Beta Carotene 1093 mcg; Lutein+Zeaxanthin 673 mcg; Vitamin K56.3 mcg 70%; Folate 40.

We used to get Bibb quite often but now it is getting expensive. We will have to try it again to compare its taste to other types of lettuce.

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Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

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Okay, where are we with our lettuce study? We opened a bag of Spring Mix and peered in. We are down to Red and Green Leaf Lettuce.

babyGreenLeafBaby green leaf lettuce (Fresh Express Spring Mix)

babyRedLeafRed leaf lettuce (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

Leaf lettuce, the most widely adapted type, produces crisp leaves loosely arranged on the stalk. Nearly every garden has at least a short row of leaf lettuce, making it the most widely planted salad vegetable.

green leaf lettuceA leafy salad green that grows from a stalk and spreads out to form a loose leafed bunch of greens with a decorative frilled green edging. The greens provide a crispy textured mellow tasting addition to a salad or sandwich and are often used as a decorative complement to an arranged tray of vegetables, meats or fruits. It is also available in a Red Leaf variety of lettuce.

Calories 5.4 (22.6 kJ) 0%; Carbohydrate 3.8; Fat 0.5; Protein 1.2

Vitamin A 2665 IU 53%; Beta Carotene 1599 mcg; Lutein+Zeaxanthin 623 mcg; Vitamin C 6.5 mg 11%; Vitamin K62.5 mcg 78%; Folate 13.7mcg

greenleaflettuceAs an explanation, the vitamin shows the amount and the percentage of daily requirements it provides. For example, 1 Cup of shredded green leaf lettuce provides 2665 IU’s which amounts to 53% of your minimum daily requirement of vitamin A. A salad of two or three cups would easily provide the daily minimum requirement.

 

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Lollo Rossa Lettuce

 

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So what lettuce are we looking at today from the Spring Mix bag?

lollarosaLollo Rossa (Fresh Express Spring Mix, Trader Joe’s Spring Mix)

I’ve see this lettuce spelled a number of different ways—Lolla Rossa, Lollo Rosso, and Lollo Rossa with Lollo Rossa the seeming winner, except Wikipedia says Lollo Rosso. I Looked up Lollo Rossa in a seed catalog and found several varieties like Antago, Dark Red, Natividad, and Soltero.

lolla rossaLollo Rossa  is a red loose leaf type of lettuce. Lollo Rosso forms a distinct compact rosette of blood violet fan-shaped leaves with a non-hearting pale green base. The leaves have a crisp, semi-succulent, hardy texture and ruffled tips. Lollo Rosso’s flavor is bold, slightly bitter and nutty.

1 Cup shredded red leaf has: Calories 4.5 0%; Carbohydrate 2.4; Fat 0.6; Protein 1.5

Vitamin A 2098 IU 42%; Beta Carotene 1258 mcg; Lutein+Zeaxanthin483 mcg; Vitamin C 1.0 mg 2%; Vitamin K 39.3 mcg 4 9%

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is best known for its role in helping blood clot (coagulate). You need Vitamin K for proper use of calcium in bones.

I have not seen Lollo Rosso in the stores by itself. I suspect it isn’t widely grown individually but packaged in specialty bags like Spring Mix.

 

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