To continue from my previous entry, I’d like to highlight and honor the unique qualities of some of my favorite vegetables, along with the preparations that I think accentuate their uniquenesses.

Leafy greens

Watercress is a unique vegetable in macrobiotic practice because leafy greens are considered to be yin vegetables, except for watercress. Watercress is considered yang. It is highly nourishing and refreshing; watercress serves to clear the mind, and acts as a filter for the body, helping to clean and refresh, particularly the upper body. For instance, I have found it to be quite helpful for all face, eye, gum, and chest problems. I like it best either steamed or sautéed.

Round vegetables
Broccoli is a very comforting, refreshing, and satisfying food. When cooked just right, it has a natural sweetness, juiciness and crunchiness. I never tire of eating broccoli.

Iceberg lettuce
Iceberg grows to a head, similar to cabbage. It is my favorite lettuce even though it does not have much nutrition. Iceberg is uniquely satisfying because of its sweet and juicy crunchiness. It is great because it can be eaten completely raw plain, or on sandwiches. In salads, it pairs well with many different types of dressings. Iceberg is also delicious when it is very lightly sautéed.

a bunch of daikon radishes, quite a lot of food, takes up quite a little bit of space in the garden

a bunch of daikon radishes, quite a lot of food, takes up quite a little bit of space in the garden

Root vegetables
Daikon radish
Daikon radish is another vegetable that is unique in its category. Root vegetables are considered yang, yet daikon is yin. It has cleansing, refreshing, and strengthening properties, and is extremely versatile and transforms depending on its preparation. For instance, the benefits of eating daikon raw or grated aids in digestion. It is often used with fatty or protein-rich dishes. Blanching brings out the refreshing properties of daikon. The more well-cooked daikon is, the more deeply nourishing it becomes. Daikon can be pickled lightly, or over a long period of time. When dried, daikon strengthens the bones, ligaments, digestion, and overall immunity. Dried daikon and fresh daikon are very different from each other, whereas dried carrots and fresh carrots share many similarities.

Leafy/round vegetables
Chinese (Napa) cabbage and cabbage
These two vegetables differ slightly in their category and colors and textures, but they both have satisfying, strengthening, nourishing properties. These two are extremely adaptable, like daikon, which makes them unique as well. Both can be eaten raw, lightly pickled or pressed, pickled over long periods, and can be steamed, blanched, sautéed, or stewed. Both can store for a longer period of time than others in their categories. However, to highlight some differences, compare a preparation of a pairing of Chinese cabbage with tofu with that of a pairing of cabbage and seitan. Though both combine well with protein, there is a subtle difference in how they match with proteins and other vegetables.

Each vegetable has a unique personality and character in addition to its taste and nutritional value. Use your taste and imagination to combine, transform, and enhance the uniquenesses of these vegetables.