Common types of perennial vegetables tend to be among the highest in nutrients, and also number among the vegetables that are easiest to maintain. All of the following perennials should be staples in any home vegetable garden.
Rhubarb is a herbaceous perennial with large leaves and a healthy stem. While the leaves can be toxic, the stems are tart and crisp. Rhubarb is most often used in pies and other sweet dishes, such as in strawberry rhubarb pie, where it provides a mediating contrast to the strawberry’s natural sweetness. Rhubarb is also considered a highly effective laxative, and has been used as such for thousands of years. Asparagus is a second perennial vegetable that works effectively as a laxative. The spring vegetable is high in vitamin B6 and calcium, and is very low in calories and sodium. Asparagus is typically served as a side dish or appetizer, often accompanying meat and seafood.
Kale is a form of cabbage planted in either the purple or green varieties. Unlike most forms of cabbage, kale doesn’t form a head. Kale is very high in antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and calcium. Kale is most often used in salads or is sautéed as a side dish. The artichoke, a perennial thistle, is used primarily for its fleshy edible buds. Typically, artichokes are cleaned so that just the leaves remain, which are then steamed or boiled. Then they can be either eaten on their own with a simple dressing or dipped in a sauce as a snack. Artichokes aid in digestion and improve liver function.
Planting perennial vegetables is one of the best ways for a new gardener to begin honing her craft, and an excellent means of getting maximum health benefits from only a few hours of work in the garden.