All of our vegetables picked fresh throughout the week are unprocessed, raw, and living whole plants. If you have ever been here to Dare 2 Dream Farms, you have probably seen the rows and sections of different crops growing.
When the plants are cleaned up and shining with life, they are still full of energy from the sun and dirt that supplies a plant with life force. You can see the difference when you watch spinach wilt down in a steam bath or when cooking a squash and watching the colors fade to a neutral, soft, edible medium.
When plants are still in their raw form, they are full of plant enzymes that were used to grow the food and maintain the structure of each leaf and plant cell. Plants plucked from the ground that contain water soluble nutrients, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B, are better left uncooked.
What happens to water when heat is applied? It steams, evaporates, and eventually disappears. This is similarly what happens to plants that contain a lot of water. In their water molecules are many nutrients living and flowing through the plant. Once it’s picked from the ground, the plant is no longer connected to the source of water, but they are still circulating life within each leaf.
Some plant nutrients are only able to be absorbed by human anatomy when a plant is cooked. Squash, for instance, is a excellent, nutrient rich plant, that takes a long time to grow and gathers up a lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals during the time it takes to mature. Chickens can eat squash and pumpkins raw, but we would have a difficult time chewing through a squash, and it may taste pretty bitter!
Fat soluble compounds, like Vitamins A, D, E and K are better off cooked or boiled, to allow for us to get the most out of them. Carrots, Zucchini, and Broccoli or Romanesco are all better off steamed before consumption.
Leafy greens such as Chard, are hardy and difficult to enjoy sometimes when eaten raw. A vegetables like this contains a good amount of vitamin A, making it a great vegetable to steam up or add to a quiche. It is also a decent source of vitamin C, so great to enjoy raw in a salad as well.
When is comes to watery greens, such as lettuce, celery, and cucumbers, it is best to eat them in their raw state. Some say that eating these and other vegetables raw and fresh from the ground actually allows you to get much more energy from them. That energy being from the sun and ground that is still circulating through the plant.
For those hardy squash, beans, and root vegetables, you can try to eat them raw, but it may just end up in a challenge for your teeth and stomach.
Written by: Kelsie Crane