How to get more out of your greens

Updated: Mar 25

It'll be good for you.

You’d think one leafy green might be the same as the next, or at least similar in taste and texture – and it doesn’t matter what you choose. After all, they’re all basically good for us, right?

Well, uhm, not exactly. (By the way, am I the only one who thinks like that?) 😬 “Our mustard greens taste like wasabi. Our Just Ice Plant is grown in Himalayan pink salt, which gives it a nice, succulent, unique, salty flavour. Our Sorrel has a great lemon-y flavour,” points out Amy Kong, the senior business development executive of Just Produce.

Amy Kong
Amy and her edible forest

Just Produce is an online shop in Singapore that specialises in premium pre-mixed produce that’s non-GMO and free from pesticides and preservatives. All of their produce is grown locally and harvested daily, which helps to maintain their freshness, natural flavours and quality (and us being able to reduce our food miles and enjoy their longer shelf life).

The products Amy just mentioned are all part of their range. Under Just Mesclun, there’s Crunchy Classics (lettuce, kale and chard), Zesty Mustard, Peppery Mizuna, Just Sorrel and Zesty Sorrel. And then there’s Just Ice Plant and Just Mustard too.

“Just Produce is Singapore’s highest yielding indoor farm,” says Amy proudly. “It has contributed significantly in accelerating local production, with its current capacity to produce 100 tonnes of produce per year – which is close to one per cent of leafy vegetables grown locally.”

Which means you have more chances to get to know the local produce and taste the difference. “When people think of greens, they usually think it's boring and tasteless,” she observes.

“Our products are carefully curated, so you’ll find out how different each one actually is in terms of texture, appearance, and especially flavour.”

Just Produce
This is just a sample

Take your pick

Just Produce’s selection of pre-mixed greens does make things easier and more convenient, but it shouldn’t stop us from experimenting, or doing some mixing and matching of our own.

That is, after we familiarise ourselves with each leafy green (we do need more produce in our meals and kitchen), reach our own conclusions, and decide on our preferences. 🥗

So when we’re faced with an array of greens that’s neatly divided at the market, we know what to do. Well, kind of.

Amy is here to help. 😊

#1 Make sure to have the flavours you like

“Everyone has different tastes. Maybe you like to always have an extra kick in your salad? Then include (mustard greens like in) Just Mustard. Or if you just want to keep it ultra-simple, then go for something like Crunchy Classics, which includes green and red crunchy lettuces, kale and chard,” she suggests.

#2 Always have a crunchy green in your salad

“… such as a green or red crunchy lettuce for that crisp and next-level texture. That's why our Mesclun mixes always include one of those two.”

#3 The greens should be as dry as possible, no matter what kind of greens you use

“Greens that aren't dry can be a little slimy when the dressing is added.”

#4 Don't be afraid to mix some fruits together with the greens

“They go very well together and it's super refreshing, like in this recipe.”

There’s more:

#1 Only buy what you need

And buy local. “Right now, 90 per cent of Singapore’s food supply is imported,” Amy relates. The labour involved, the fuel, the food prices, our carbon footprint… it’s worth a think.

#2 Do not under- or over-dress your salad

Apply the dressing in small amounts till you get it just right.

#3 Store greens separately from certain fruits

According to Just Produce, ethylene gas emissions from fruits like apples and pears may cause your produce to rot faster.

#4 Put some greens in your sandwich

Grab the opportunity to have more fresh produce in your dishes.

#5 Prep salads in advance

“So you only have to make them once, and enjoy them for an entire week,” Amy urges. Look at recipes so you can plan ahead, and see which greens you wish to add to which salad. There are no rules – go with what works for you. (I would, and I do.) ⬇

Other alternatives and tips

If you ask Amy, she’ll admit that she’s partial to sorrel, and Just Sorrel. “I personally love it,” she reiterates. “Not only is it beautiful, but I’m obsessed with its great lemon-y flavour. I love the sour flavour.”

What’s more, “Just Mustard goes amazingly well with salmon and beef. Instead of wasabi paste, I tried some mustard greens with salmon sushi. It’s so good and better for you too!”

She continues, “I got this tip from a chef who uses our produce: Instead of lettuce leaf, add mustard leaf on a burger. I tried it at home, and it really gives an extra kick.”

Or if you like to stick to the classics, the Crunchy Classics of assorted lettuce, kale and chard partner well with rojak. Just look at this 20-minute recipe.

Amy’s final words? Don’t be afraid or fooled by the produce’s names and other people’s impressions. Try it first and in different ways, and see. You might be surprised by the results on your dining table, and the amazing variety. 😊

For more on Just Produce, go to their shop, Facebook and Instagram (where they have lots more recipes). Also catch them at the Virtual SG Farmers’ Market on 30 January and 06 February 2021, which will be livestreamed on Facebook here.

Just Produce Just Ice Plant
Here's an ice plant to wake you up