During the closures and stay-at-home orders brought on by COVID-19, many people took to not only making homemade recipes but also planting their own gardens so that they could harvest their own fresh vegetables without even leaving the driveway. Some people just planted the most well-known veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. But there are some vegetables that are just as useful but not as popular to grow on your own.
Remember a few years ago when it seemed like everyone was obsessed with kale? Well, they had a good reason! Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich foods in the world. It contains essential vitamins and powerful antioxidants, along with cancer-fighting substances such as sulforaphane.
Did we mention that its flavors are enhanced by the frost? Seriously. That makes it a perfect crop for NEPA. While it’s commonly used in salads nowadays, it’s been used to make “chips” in the past. Following this recipe from the Food Network, all you need is a head of kale, some olive oil, and sea salt! Just chop the kale into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt, and bake!
Not really something you can eat on its own, garlic is one of the best herbs that you can add to a dish. Whether it be homemade bread, a pasta dish, or soup, the addition of garlic may make your taste buds dance. A lesser-known fact is that garlic is actually a relative of the onion. Crazy, right? Along with seasoning food, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and can even help fight the common cold. For tastier meals and healthy living, be sure that garlic makes its way into your summer garden.
These little green vegetables may not be big, but they’re packed full of health benefits. Much like kale, they contain various vitamins and antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family and grow well in the cool weather, once again another great vegetable to plant in Northeastern Pennsylvania. There are many ways to prepare Brussel sprouts, whether it be to roast them with bacon or puree them into cream of Brussel sprout soup. The choice is yours!
Lastly, we have spinach. This dark leafy green vegetable is best known as Popeye the Sailor’s power food and it sure is powerful. It improves eye health, decreases the chance of cancer or heart disease, and is high in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. As for how to eat it, there are several options. First up is simply creating a salad with it. Another great way to eat it is to sauté it! However, if you want something a little more challenging, there are several recipes you could make, such as homemade spinach pasta for dinner or a hot spinach artichoke dip for a summer party. Just be sure that your summer garden is full of this superfood.