Greens, cellulose, vitamins, roughage and toxins

User avatar
ChrisGreaves
PlutoniumLounger
Posts: 11305
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 23:23
Location: paused.undefined.exposed

Greens, cellulose, vitamins, roughage and toxins

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Here I am harvesting a skimpy crop of "Asian greens", stalks, leaves, flowers and all, the rain having stopped.
And I ponder the stuff about "leaves".

We humans can eat grass as roughage and bulk, but we can't digest the cellulose.
Ruminants do OK because they have rumen in the cud.

Various leaves/greens are touted as beneficial to us - Spinach has Iron, Brussels sprouts have vitamins, peas are nutritious (but we throw away the pods).
Then there are those who boil their vegetable peelings, stalks, pods etc to make vegetable stock.

But if you use Oleander twigs? leaves? for your barbecue you will poison the kids and end up in a hospital bed for a few days.
And don't get me started on rhubarb stalks versus rhubarb leaves.

OK, I've started so I'll finish:-
We boil and then eat the rhubarb stalks but avoid the leaves like the plague.
We eat the lettuce leaves and declare them a delicacy.
Some of us refuse to eat the broccoli stalks.

What makes lettuce leaves, presumably cellulose, good for us in salads but tree leaves or grass blades not so good?

Just wondering
Chris
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t grow zucchinis

User avatar
HansV
Administrator
Posts: 69049
Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 00:14
Status: Microsoft MVP
Location: Wageningen, The Netherlands

Re: Greens, cellulose, vitamins, roughage and toxins

Post by HansV »

Grass and tree leaves are much higher in cellulose than edible leaves such as lettuce. We can digest cellulose, but not very well, so a high cellulose content makes grass etc. unsuitable for eating.
It also depends on age: we can eat bamboo shoots, but not bamboo stalks...
Regards,
Hans

User avatar
ChrisGreaves
PlutoniumLounger
Posts: 11305
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 23:23
Location: paused.undefined.exposed

Re: Greens, cellulose, vitamins, roughage and toxins

Post by ChrisGreaves »

HansV wrote:
25 Jul 2020, 15:35
It also depends on age: we can eat bamboo shoots, but not bamboo stalks...
At my age I have no plans to eat either! :grin:

Rhubarb: The leaves are toxic but the stalks can be eaten when boiled.
Dandelion: roots for ersatz coffee, leaves and flowers in salads, but who eats the stalks?
Root crops: eat the potato tubers but not the leaves.
The list goes on.
Cheers
Chris
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t grow zucchinis