View Full Version : Leafy green stalks/ stems
01-12-2010, 12:55 AM
Just wondering how far down on the stem of leafy greens people eat. How much nutritional value is there in the stem do you think? Does it vary for different veggies? Eg Bok Choy has a white stem, whereas choy sum is green all the way down (lighter than the leaf but still green).
01-12-2010, 03:21 AM
I manage to use the Whole thing. If I don't use it in a Salad, I save it for Juicing or Smoothies.
01-12-2010, 06:21 AM
I use the whole thing. If it's to hard to eat as it is (like kale) I save it for my juice.
01-12-2010, 10:14 AM
Good question factoid!
Anyone know about the nutrition of the stem vs leaf?
Any resources to consult on this?
01-12-2010, 11:26 AM
It is silica that gives stems their strength-it is vital to and gives strength to cell walls in general (both plant and animal), but stems are so much stronger than other plant parts because they contain more silica. Here's a couple non food examples I can relate to you:
As one sign that silica is higher in stems, there has been experimentation with supplementation of silica in floraculture, the production of flowers for trade, to allow for stronger and longer lasting stems. This experimentation is done to help develop fertilizers (nutritional supplementation) in order to provide a benefit to the industry/economy of florists. Strengthened cell walls also provides better disease suppression, IIRC.
The coarser, tougher grasses of the south, particularly St. Augustine, have a much higher silica content than their counterparts of the north-kentucky bluegrass, or fescues. This is the reason that mower blades and decks wear at a much higher rate when cutting St, Augustine, as opposed to the wear rate in states where more tender cool season grasses are common. It is also partly due to the sand itself that gets kicked up in some areas where the soils have higher sand content. However sand is silica, and the tougher grasses alone will cause the wear, even if the sand in the soil below is not disturbed. This wear to the metal during the high speed forces of impact as the grass is chopped and moved through and out the decks attests to the stems and blades higher silica content in grasses such as St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, and weed stems like foxtails.
Silica does a body good, but it means sharpening/replacing your blades and decks more often for those in the lawn biz in the south.
A food related example: Next summer poke or scratch a hole in a cucumber's skin while on the vine in your garden. What happens is the wound will secrete and heal over with a clear tough gel. That is the plants defense making the repair. Cuc's are high in silica and this repair looks and feel much like the material you would squeeze out of a silicone caulk tube. (edit: OK, I got off on a little tangent with the cucumbers. It doesn't fit the questions about stems directly, but it does speak to the benefits of the added silica.)
01-12-2010, 04:25 PM
Good info, streetsurfer! Here's another fact that women should pay attention to about silica - it is VERY important in bone formation and strength. Calcium and magnesium will indeed harden bone, but it is stuff like silica that will give said bone STRENGTH(not brittleness), especially important as we age. So, the green smoothie made with a blender that can handle stalks(like the VitaMix or Blend-tec)is THE easiest way to get this in. Since I've had my Blend-tec(bought in the middle of last year)you can be sure that those kale, chard, spinach and parsley stalks are going in with the rest for a natural boost! Silica is also good for the skin and hair as well.
01-12-2010, 06:01 PM
Thanks to streetsurfer and cara4art for all that info!
Great stuff! I do do the parsley and cilantro stems, and chard too - have been taking out the kale ones....putting them back in!
01-12-2010, 08:03 PM
I only cut off the very end of the stems, often to stand the leaves in a bowl of water to refresh. The exception being dino kale. I usually strip the greens off dino stalks. Guess I will have to stop that to get the benefit of more silica.
It makes sense that the agent that gives the plant leaves strength would also give our skeletons strength. :)
I learn somthing new every day here on RFT. Thank you!
01-13-2010, 07:57 PM
Thanks streetsurfer and cara4art! :):) I guess I will be eating the whole lot as I want all that important stuff. Osteoperosis runs in my family too so very important to me.
01-13-2010, 09:45 PM
Your all very welcome. I know some stems aren't very tolerable but I try to include the ones that are. I'm not too fussy about the texture, more so with taste.
I like beet greens with the stem and mizuna is fine. On some kale I've cut it even with the lowest leaf parts. Larger curly kale will most often get stripped; real tough and often has moldy spots in the stem somewhere. I've not tried dino either, but might try a stem of it tomorrow to see what it's like :)/:eek:.
01-13-2010, 10:10 PM
let me test you here on something streetsurfer ;)
- 32" exmark metro with 15 horse kawasaki
- red max 7001 back pack blower
- red max bcz2600 / 25 cc weed whip , loaded with .80 square gator ;)
* what comment comes to mind concerning this group of equipment :cool:
01-13-2010, 11:14 PM
That we're almost twins....that you might do lawns for income, hardly have a breakdown, and you're a smart shopper?
This may be more info than you wanted but it is to show you why I like the stuff, and what maintenance you might expect if they are new to you.
I'd say 15 is more than enough power for a 32". I have the Kawasaki 12.5 on an 01 eXmark metro 36 and it hauls my 140# around on a proslide part of the time just fine. About 300 commercial hrs on the engine with only normal maintenance done to it. Still purrs like a kitten. I run synthetic oil since about 200 hours. I've replaced spindle bearings and the trans tensioner pulley needs replacing about annually. Great brand as far as I'm concerned. This one has served me well. I do need to rebuild or replace the peerless five speed this winter. I made a bad shift coming out of a ditch a couple years back and rebuilt it but didn't change out the main shaft which had small nicks in the keyways. It eats up the shift keys after a season or so. Driver error, not a fault of the equipment. Redmax is great stuff too, IMO. I have mostly redmax units and the 2601 blower is the only one that's ever given me a hiccup. It was set lean and they readjusted the carb. I have to tweak it between summer/fall a little. I think it sounds like a good package if you are considering it. If you already have it, I'd say wise choice. I use a mid size (50cc?) husqvarna backpack, have not tried anything in the 7/8000 range.
01-14-2010, 05:18 AM
uh-oh - they've slipped into "guy talk"!:)
01-14-2010, 10:40 AM
01-14-2010, 10:44 AM
I save all my stems from the leaves --I think they're called petioles actually - and juice them. Just recently, I was so grateful that while making a bunch of kale chips, I juiced the petioles/stems - whatever, and put them into ice cube trays. Lately, I haven't been wanting to go out to the snow covered garden to get the kale, so have been using the frozen kale-juice cubes.
Can't use too many though....not very tasty unless you add a lot of water or other juice.
Ive been adding one to grapefruit juice, along with some frozen lambsquarters leaves for juice in the a.m.
01-21-2010, 07:05 PM
uh-oh - they've slipped into "guy talk"!:)
Guilty as charged, lol!
Good idea juicing and cubing up the stems.
Since this thread was posted, I have been munching my kale stalks while fixing my smoothies rather than composting them. I can't have celery, so it's making a very welcome replacement. The type I have now is Chou Vert Frise', and it is fairly mild as far as the robust brassica taste. I spread one with almond butter the other day, which was really good. Maybe I'll and some ants (currants) to the next one.
01-22-2010, 08:07 AM
I'm not sure about the nutritional content, but I love eating my kale stalks dipped in hummus! I think I would blend them if I had a vita-mix, but alas, I've only got my wee little Hamilton Beach blender that I fear is on the last legs (stand?) of his life.
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