Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Part 1: Lettuce and Alliums

Part 1: Lettuce and Alliums

Based on the book "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson

We can purchase fresh fruits and veggies 12 months of the year. When they are out of season in one region, they are shipped from another or imported. This supply makes it easy for us to eat the produce we want whenever we want. Seasonally, however, is where these same fruits and veggies pack a more nutritional and cheaper punch. Today we will discuss Lettuce and Alliums, their recommended varieties from the grocery store and tips on the produce. 

Starting with Lettuce the recommended varieties are:

  • Arugula….high in lutein and overall antioxidant level

  • Mixed Greens

  • Curly Endive

  • Loose Leaf lettuce..go for red and dark green

  • Rosso di chioggia…magenta and white like a cabbage high in antioxidants 

  • Rosso di treviso….the loose version of above


  1. Choose red, red brown, purple, or dark green loose leaf varieties, these are the most nutritious, pale and tight head are the least, whole heads are fresher than bagged

  2. Spend 10 minutes prepping your lettuce to preserve its flavor and nutrients…separate a head of lettuce into its individual leaves or open a bag of loose greens and soak them in very cold water for 10 minutes. Dry them to remove excess moisture…place them in a resealable bag pricked with holes, squeeze out the air, and seal..store in the crisper drawer

  3. Enrich your salads with extra nutritious non lettuce varieties like arugula, radicchio, endive, and spinach 

  4. Choose bags of mixed greens with the most colorful freshest leaves….anything that has yellow, brown, or withered leaves don’t buy. Check the use by date as well.

  5. EVOO is one of the best oils to use in a salad dressing, there are fat soluble vitamins that need this fat for prime absorption in your body making them more bioavailable to you

  6. Tame the bold flavors of bitter greens, if you cannot handle bitter greens make sure to mix them in with less bitter lettuce and add avocados or fruit to help mask the bitterness (the more bitter the better for you actually)

Alliums include garlic, onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and leeks with the following recommended varieties:

  • all types of garlic

  • red and pungent onions

  • yellow and pungent onions

  • western yellow onion

  • empire sweet onion

  • new york bold onion

  • scallions


  1. Garlic is rich in nutrients and has a number of promising health benefits; look for garlic w/plump firm cloves enclosed in a tight intact wrapper. To get maximum amounts of allicin..slice, mince, or press the garlic and then let it rest for 10 minutes before exposing it to heat

  2. Strongly flavored onions are best for your health; cooking tames their strength, brings out the sweetness and increases their nutritional content. If you boil onions make sure you are using the liquid where all the water soluble nutrients go

  3. Shallots are mild but nutritionally potent; put them in everything

  4. When cooking with leeks, use both the bulbs and the greens, make sure to use and eat them within a few days

  5. Eat plenty of onion and garlic chives

  6. Scallions (green onions) are more nutritious than most other alliums