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Our guide to fall fruits and vegetables is the source for what's in season now.

Season's Pick


Southerners have been enjoying greens for years. The rest of us are just catching on to the great tastes and textures and the nutritional benefits. Summer is the season for greens — mustard greens, arugula, mache and others join old stand-bys like lettuce in the market.

What to Look For

Pick greens that have a rich color and a bouncy look. Yellowing, limpness, and spotting are signs the greens are old and may taste sour when cooked.

Washing and Storing

It's important to wash greens carefully since dirt often gets between the leaves. Trim the stems, rinse the leaves, then plunge them into a large bowl or sink filled with water. Let them soak for a few minutes while the dirt settles to the bottom. Repeat as necessary. To store, refrigerate greens in plastic bags.

Cooking Greens

Size is the secret to cooking greens. Young, small greens are great raw in a salad or a sandwich. Medium-sized greens should be cooked lightly, like wilting or stir-frying. Fully mature greens should be roasted or stewed to mellow them.

"When kale is tiny, you just barely need to wilt it. And when it's older and bigger, you change your methods. It goes into the soup. Maybe it gets pureed. It needs to cook longer, " explains Alice Waters. "But that happens with all fruits and vegetables. They have a time when they're young and sweet and then they get a little older, so you cook them in different ways — raw in July and very cooked by Christmas." (To read more from Alice Waters see Chefs@Home)

Weather matters too. A cold snap brings out the flavor. Ask at the farmers' market or check with the grocer to find out where your greens are grown.

Non-Dairy Wonders

Other vegetables are green with envy. Collard greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and turnip greens have the rare distinction of being calcium-rich. Greens are also a great source of vitamin C, iron and folate.

It's Easy Being Green

Some flavors that partner well with greens are vinegar, garlic, nutmeg and shallots. Young kale and spinach demand a sharp vinaigrette but a tender Boston or Bibb lettuce would be overwhelmed. Pair them with a milder dressing using orange juice instead of vinegar.

Meet The Greens

Collard Greens
Mustard Greens
Swiss Chard

Try these delicious recipes for greens:

Arugula Mushroom Salad
Vegetarian White Beans with Garlic and Arugula
Magical Greens
Bitter Greens
Avocado, Kumquat and Grapefruit Salad with Bibb Lettuce and Watercress
Belgian Endive, Mache, Beets and Apple with Walnuts and Sherry Vinaigrette
Herbed Lemony Swiss Chard
Grilled Salad with Lemon

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