If I could climb into a time machine and go back to the past, I would travel to the year 2001. The year that I got married. I would re-live the preparations for our wedding. The center pieces on the tables would be a bright display of purple, white and yellow cabbages all bundled together in a circular nest surrounded by various brightly colored vegetables huddled around and fully garnished with edible flowers.
My bridesmaids, groomsmen and honorable mentions would all be wearing elegant yet flavorful corsages and boutonnieres made out of flowered lavender, mixed with thyme, basil, rosemary and mountain top dandelions.
Then lastly, my favorite part, I would walk down the aisle with an arm full of vibrant rainbow chard and kale. I would also want to add flowering herbs such as chives, lavender, bee balm, and meadowsweet. Lovely lambs ear and dead-nettle mixed into the bunch as well. Maybe some mountain top dandelions for my bouquet, not to mention a few dangling cherry tomatoes and the vine of sugar snap peas poking out around the lower edges; hanging delicately like little bells. To finish it up I would want the vine of grapes used to wrap it all together, it would be a vine that still had the very start of tiny un-ripe miniature grape bundles hanging from the strands. OH yes wouldn’t that all be amazing…
This idea sparked after I gathered a heaping amount of kale and swiss chard into a lovely bundle from my garden. I held it all in my hand and mindlessly began arranging them, so that the yellows and reds of the chard would shine through. I admired the beauty and I began to daydream about how amazing an edible wedding would be! I think I will save this idea for a 25th wedding anniversary or something of that nature!
In reality I would never go back and change one thing about my youthful punk rock wedding. We are different people now, my husband and I, and each decade we change. Our outward forms of expression are symbolic for both who we are and who we were.
Oh for memories sake let me tell you a little about it: When I got married I was only 19 going on 20. We were young wild things, My hair was tinted with tips of firetruck red and my husband’s mohawk matched in color. My lip was pierced with a silver lip ring embellished with a red gemstone in the middle to match our fiery hair. Our wedding party wore black high-top converse shoes and our wedding colors were red, white and black. We danced to a song by Danzig called “Sistinas”. Our youthful spirits filled the dance floor with a ruckus of movement as we rollicked the night away with beat driving 1980’s music saluting the open space of the room.
Now, here I am 12 years later with two kids and my 3rd dog-child Moonshine a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, still married to the man of my dreams who is now a hard working responsible foreman, who frequents the barber shop to keep his hair precisely trimmed. I of course wish he would let it go wild, at least, just a little bit. No more days of barbarian mohawks and metal lip rings for us…
No, I garden and take pictures of kale and chard and imagine a wedding with a different kind of ambiance. I have definitely changed.
I love leafy greens in the garden, with most of them you can continue to snip away at their stalks and they will continue to give you a harvest for months.
I am harvesting rainbow chard and kale with my dinners weekly. I like to understand what my food does for my body when I eat it. When I first started to get interested in the topic of health food and traditional culinary practices I purchased the book “Nourishing Traditions”. This book is stock full of little excerpts on each page that tell you so much history and fact-full information about what you are eating. So whenever I made a meal from the book I would sit down at our table and read to my little family about what their food was going to contribute to their bodies. It is captivating to me to understand the science behind my food.
Kale, is this robust strong mighty leaf that can often brave the changes in weather and be harvested up until early winter, depending on the circumstances. Web Md calls it the “queen of greens”. It’s health benefits trump the best of them and it’s flavor is rich to the taste buds.
KALE’S LIFE-GIVING FACTS:
– Did you know that Kale has more iron than beef! Hard to believe! It is being dubbed, “The New Beef”. Due to it’s high iron content it promotes healthy hemoglobin and enzyme growth, it aids in bringing valued oxygen to vital parts of cell growth, and it also contributes to proper liver growth.
– High in Vitamin K! Vit. K is a great carcinogen fighter for your body! It also supports bone growth and the prevention of blood clotting.
– Kale has omega 3’s which are essential for fighting inflammation. It is important to eat anti-inflammatory foods in order to create a healthy alkalinity in our bodies.
– High in vitamin A which equals good vision and great skin.
– High in vitamin C, that means immune boosting time when you shovel down some of those greens!
– High in calcium: Bone loss prevention!
– Kale can be used to promote detox with it’s high fiber and sulfur content which promotes a healthy liver.
Swiss chard is not as hearty as kale, it’s leaf shines with color as the veins tend to be the shade of the stem and the leaf almost looks waxy because of it’s lush luminous green hues. To be honest, I never really ate chard before I planted it in my garden. I am sure it was in mixed packages of salad greens, but I never intentionally purchased a bundle of chard from the store. After growing it, it is definitely a leafy green that I am learning to cook with and I thoroughly enjoy!
Rainbow chard is as vibrant in appearance as it is in it’s flavor. It can be harvested typically between June and up to November. Both the leaves and stalks are edible. Rainbow chard can be cooked pretty much anyway that you want: boiled, braised, steamed or saute’ed (this goes the same for kale).
SWISS CHARD’S LIFE-GIVING FACTS:
– Full of vitamins K, A, and C!
– It is packed with potassium, magnesium, iron and fiber.
– It is considered a super food as it is high in antioxidants. Immune boosting super powers!
– Rich in B-complex vitamins.
– Chard is a member of the beet family, but the roots are not edible.
WARNING: Something to think about… Do you know about oxalic acids?
Most of us are hopefully aware that rhubarb leaves are poisonous. It is important to only eat the stalk of rhubarb and to discard the leaves. Why? Because the leaves are so high in oxalic acids that they are detrimental for human consumption.
What is oxalic acid? A quick description is that it is a chemical found in many plants. The acid binds with calcium which creates calcium oxalate, which is an insoluble salt. Too much oxalic acid can be dangerous.
It is so trendy right now to consume kale, spinach and chard in smoothies…juice them, smoothie them up or throw them in your salads. I hear this advice all of the time, but what a lot of people don’t know is that too much raw oxalic acid from certain greens is counterproductive. All of these leafy greens are considered super-foods. We want them, they are really good for us, but eating too much of it raw is not the best plan, why? because lightly cooking these greens frees up the oxalic acid count. Most studies say that Kale is not high enough on the oxalic count to worry about. However, chard and spinach are both very high in acids.
Kale has a much lower amount of oxalic acid compared to chard. Many greens have a level of oxalic acid thus if you veto out kale you would have to veto out a large number or greens, and these are edible plants, gifts to the human body meant to be eaten. Most sources say that eating kale raw is fine but I would simply recommend eating it raw in moderation. I personally prefer to steam or lightly saute’ them because I don’t want to worry about levels of oxalic acid and of course the famous kale chips are a perfect way to intake these nutritious greens. WHFoods offers information on kale and I take their advice on the healthiest way to eat kale is to steam it. They also have a very informative section on the oxalic acid in kale.
Swiss chard actually has a very high content of oxalic acids and WHFoods states, “Swiss chard is only one of three vegetables we recommend boiling to free up [oxalic] acids and allowing them to leach into the boiling water; this brings out a sweeter taste from the chard. Discard the boiling water after cooking; do not drink it or use it for stock because of its acid content.”
Most people are not aware of oxalic acid, and an over consumption of oxalic acid is said to promote kidney stones. Studies show that if you have any type of existing or untreated kidney issues or gallbladder problems that you might want to avoid the high oxalic vegetables all together.
One thing that is important to understand is that food is truly thy medicine. Their is a science to every plantae that you eat and knowing your food means understanding what it can do for you and whether your body should be eating it. Just like not all prescriptions are for all people, not all food is for all people. We need to educate ourselves about our own bodies and about the right food for our bodies.
I personally enjoy the super food that swiss chard and kale are but I take heed to the recommended wisdom that it is not a leafy green to consume raw, or at least done in moderation.
Or…you could always grow them in order to make elaborate wedding bouquets for an edible wedding?!?!… 😉
More info on Oxalic Acid:
It is important to take into consideration that I am not a nutritionist. I am someone that is deeply interested in food science but I do not have a degree. It is imporant for you to talk with your personal naturopath, integrative doctor or nutritionist and/or do more research for yourself.
Thanks for reading,
– Jenny Rose