Chef Heather Lawrence presents the Grow Alabama menu box for the week of March 25, 2012.  Collard Greens season is wrapping up; so, blanch what you have and freeze those greens if you want to save them for a special meal down the road.

This week Grow Alabama has a special root vegetable pack.

Parsnips-One parsnip has 10% (plus) of the recommended daily intake for thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Thiamin, or vitamin B1, and pantothenic acid help cells convert nutrients into energy. Phosphorus also helps cells produce energy and and is a major component of bones, teeth, DNA and RNA. Copper is a component of hemoglobin and many enzymes, and is also involved in energy production.

Carrots-Two carrots contain 122% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A, 15% for vitamin K and 12% for vitamin B6. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and maintains the health of all your body’s cells and tissues. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting. Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of proteins and body cells, as well as niacin, serotonin, insulin, hemoglobin and infection-fighting antibodies.

Chipolini Onions contain calcium, Vitamin C and fiber and are only 35 calories each.

Chioggia and Beets-Two beets contain 20% of the USDA recommended daily intake for folate and 18% of the manganese needed daily for an adult woman. Folate is essential to DNA, RNA and hemoglobin formation.

And FYI, a single Potato with skin has 10% or the daily nutritional requirements of vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and is involved in the formation of red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissues and bone. It also helps heal cuts and bruises and supports the immune system. Niacin helps the body process sugars and fatty acids and has been shown to increase HDL, or “good” blood cholesterol. Potassium regulates fluid and electrolytes in and out of the body’s cells, maintains blood pressure, transmits nerve signals and delivers electrical charges that enable muscle function