By Darren Hong
For centuries, humans have cultivated vegetables for their nutritional value. With high vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it’s clear to see why it has continued in modern diets, especially in vegetarianism and veganism.
Today, we will look at the cream of the crop for winter vegetables, and help you determine the best delicacies for dinner.
For our first vegetable, we have kale. It is a hardy plant, able to withstand winter temperatures as low as -15°C, or 5°F. Composed of 84% water, 9% carbohydrates, and 4% protein, the Brassica oleracea gives a solid amount of nutrients. In addition, it is rich in vitamins A, C, B6, folate, manganese and a good source of vitamin E, iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. While these nutrients seem beneficial, some readers may be concerned about the lack of calories to supplement their diets. Fortunately, kale has a relatively high value, of 49 kilocalories per 100 grams.
Next, we have spinach. Another winter survivor, it can grow in temperatures as low as -9.4°C, or 15°F. Composed of 91% water, 4% carbohydrate, and 3% protein, the Spinacia oleracea lags behind in nutritional value. Similar to kale, spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, K, magnesium, manganese, iron and folate. While many know spinach for it’s high iron content, raw spinach has high levels of oxalates, which actually remove iron from the body. With a measly 23 calories per 100g, spinach is a clear downgrade from kale.
Finally, we have collards. Available year round, this produce is unique in that it is more nutritious during the cold seasons. Composed of 90% water, 6% carbohydrates, and 3% protein, these greens are surprisingly similar in composition to spinach. However, the vitamin content of collards are closer to kale, as the vitamin K value is 388% of the Daily Value. Most importantly, the caloric value of 33 kilocalories.
In terms of pure nutrition, kale was objectively the best. However, when choosing your personal diet, it is important to remember that your subjective taste will help you enjoy your dining experience, which in turn makes you eat more vegetables. Hopefully, this guide has helped you choose you ideal crop companion during dinner. Happy hiking!