Healthy and tasty through the winter

Londen, 18.1.2021, by Ido Golan

These herbs are the superfoods for the cold season

In the cold and grey of winter, our plates should be brimming with colour for the sake of our health. And whilst it’s a season where many different foods land on the table that offer vitamins, minerals and trace elements to help, there is one group of ingredients that is often overlooked - herbs and leafy vegetables. They give meals that little bit extra, and can intensify, balance or completely change the taste of a dish. But above all, these small green plants are true superfoods when it comes to nutrients!

The great news is that sustainable, locally grown and fresh varieties of herbs and leafy greens are now available in our supermarkets all year round – made possible by innovative vertical farms operated by Infarm. These farms allow plants to be grown and harvested on site in the supermarket in planting cabinets under optimal conditions.

One person who is particularly well versed in herbs and leafy vegetables is Ido Golan, Infarm’s expert in plant diversity and cultivation. He knows which nutrient boosters in herbs and leafy vegetables we can use this winter for the benefit of our health, as well as those which can provide colour and variety to the dishes we serve.

Here are Ido's top five herbs and leafy vegetables to try this winter:

Thyme

  • This is what the expert says: Thyme is super healthy because it is rich in iron, calcium, vitamin C and magnesium. It also has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. By the way: Since Infarm thyme is harvested young, the entire plant can be used – there are no woody stems here.
  • Did you know? Thyme can be bundled together with flat parsley and bay leaves to form a classic "bouquet garni", i.e. a bouquet of herbs that can be added to any soup, broth or casserole. This gives the dish additional depth of taste! And if you sprinkle some fresh thyme on baked camembert, you can conjure up a delicious starter with an extra tasty herb element in no time at all.

Sage

  • This is what the expert says: Sage is a herb that offers a lot, especially in the winter months. It’s rich in vitamin K, vitamin B6, which is important for many metabolic processes, and magnesium. It is also antimicrobial.
  • Did you know? Sage has been known as an essential medicinal herb for generations. Colds can be relieved by gargling fresh sage tea. A calming sage tea also helps with digestive problems. The warm and musky taste of sage is revealed by its flowery scent. Once familiar, this intense aroma is easily recognised in dishes. For a great Italian pasta, simply sauté a pinch of fresh sage with virgin olive oil and garlic.

Scarlet Kale

  • This is what the expert says: While many have already discovered green kale for themselves, red kale is still somewhat of an insider secret. It is in no way inferior to its green brother in terms of valuable nutrients. It contains plenty of vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A and also the trace element manganese.
  • Did you know? The striking purple striped leaves of scarlet kale taste similar to umami, paired with a hint of nuts and peppery mustard. Scarlet kale can also be used very flexibly, whether as an extra raw addition in a mixed green salad or quickly fried as a delicious crispy kale chip.

Bordeaux Basil

  • This is what the expert says: Those who already love Italian basil should definitely try the red Bordeaux basil. Not only because of its peppery-minty taste, but also because of its nutritional contents: it contains a lot of iron, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium.
  • Did you know? Bordeaux basil can be used to make an excellent – and eye-catching – tea: its reddish leaves give the water a blue hue. Experienced bartenders also like to use Bordeaux basil for its blue extract too, which they use for their cocktail creations. In salads or Italian dishes, it mixes well with other types of basil, such as lemon basil. It also pairs wonderfully with mint.

Microgreens – young vegetable or herb greens, also considered baby plants

  • The expert says: Microgreens – for example, red radish or green peas – are very popular because of their high nutrient content. They are like “nutritional bombs” as they are very young and contain all the good nutrition of the fully grown plant in a more condensed package. No wonder the purple radish, for example, is so rich in vitamins E, A, C, B6 and K. It contains antioxidants, fibre, zinc and magnesium. Green peas are rich in iron, fibre, calcium and vitamin A.
  • Did you know? Microgreens can be added to many dishes as toppings, both steamed or cooked, as well as raw. They also look great in salads or on a sandwich.

Infarm herb expert Ido Golan's favourite recipe: "For a quickly prepared spicy dip or spread, simply shred mountain coriander, some parsley, chili, and garlic, then add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I always spontaneously add another fresh herb that is currently in my kitchen too. This gives the sauce a fresh kick every time.”

How to keep herbs fresh for a long time at home
The advantage of Infarm herbs is that the plants end up in the shopping basket as fresh as possible and bursting with flavour. This is because, unlike conventionally grown herbs, they are still alive with their roots intact when purchased.

To keep the freshness of the herbs at home, customers should simply remove the packaging after purchase and place the plants with their roots in a glass filled with water to a height of approx. 2 cm.

An overview of all of Infarm’s produce can be found here and ideas for seasonal recipes here.

Ido Golan, Infarm’s expert in plant diversity and cultivation
Microgreens – young vegetable or herb greens, also considered baby plants