The mustard greens looked especially fresh and appealing last week. This author tries to buy whatever is grown locally; this time of year that means one of two vendors at the 2nd Street Market, or the local produce at Dorothy Lane Market. Mustard greens are an excellent source of many vitamins including vitamin K, vitamin A (as beta-carotene), and vitamins C and E. They are an excellent source of the minerals copper, manganese and calcium. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B6, protein, vitamin B2, and iron as well as a good source of potassium, vitamin B1, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate. What else could you possibly ask for?
Well, how about this, from The World’s Healthiest Foods website: ‘…based upon several dozen studies involving cruciferous vegetables as a group (and including mustard greens on the list of vegetables studied), cancer prevention appears to be a standout area for mustard greens when summarizing health benefits’. Mustard greens provide nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development and prevention: (1) the body’s detoxification system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these systems can increase cancer risk; imbalances occurring in all three systems simultaneously increase the risk significantly. Mustard green consumption is most closely associated with prevention of bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer’. More detailed information on mustard greens’ cancer prevention/cancer fighting abilities can be found here.
As it turns out, mature mustard greens are pretty spicy when eaten raw. They do, however, make delicious chips! They can be made in the oven, but made in a food dehydrator there is not the risk of burning the chips. This recipe calls for olive oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast (available at Olympia Health Foods) for a cheesy flavor, but you can use whatever spices sound good to you. Lining the racks of your dehydrator with parchment paper is a good idea to prevent the greens from sticking to the racks as they dry.
Mustard green chips in the dehydrator
- 1 bunch of mustard greens, washed and torn into medium to large pieces
- Olive oil
- Unprocessed sea salt
- Nutritional yeast powder
Gently pat the greens dry and then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and nutritional yeast; place on parchment paper-lined dehydrator racks. Dehydrate according to the instructions for your particular dehydrator; the author uses a Ronco Beef Jerky Machine and the chips were done – and delicious – in about 24 hours. Once the chips were done, the overwhelming spiciness of the raw greens had become a zesty flavor which blended well with the seasoning.
Ambrosone CB, Tang L Cruciferous Vegetable Intake and Cancer Prevention: Role of Nutrigenetics Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.