Collard greens are usually cooked along with smoked meats and served as a side dish. They are part of the traditional New Year’s Day meal in the South that includes black-eyed peas and cornbread. The collard greens are said to resemble folding money and consuming them on New Year’s Day is believed to bring financial luck in the year to come.
Many people consume collard greens for their health benefits. They are loaded with Vitamins K, A, and C. They also contain high amounts of beta carotene and manganese. Collard greens are have an anti-inflammatory effect and can help lower cholesterol. They are one of the few vegetables that actually increase their nutritional value when boiled.
Here’s Today’s TRICK:
Washing collards can be tricky because you have to prepare so much to get so little due to the wilting process. Just get a big pot, fill it with water, and put a handful at a time in the water, spin around with your hands, then dip the collards out of the water with your hands and set aside. Change the water often as it gets dirty.
Here’s a TIP:
Remove the stem before cooking by pulling greens away from the top of the stem. Tear into bite sized pieces while removing the stem.
And your RECIPE:
Here is a very simple, introductory recipe for beginning greens eaters–enjoy!
Braised Great Garlicky Greens
- 1 bunch collard greens deribbed, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic pressed or chopped fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- rice wine vinegar optional
- Wash well, derib your collards. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium high heat and sauté the garlic till tender, but don’t let it brown.
- Add the greens and keep stirring till they are nice and bright green. Now add about an inch of water to the bottom of the skillet, cover, and simmer till tender.
- It may take awhile for the collards, and add a little more water if necessary. Stick a fork in to test for tenderness.
- Salt and pepper to taste, then serve with rice wine vinegar on the side (that’s how I love ’em!). Completely delicious and highly nutritious.
As a kid from Kansas, I had only heard about collards – and then I moved to Alabama. The guy at the farmers market there finally convinced me to try them (he sold them pre-washed and chopped!) and so… I fell in LOVE. I sauted them with onion and garlic and some sort of sausage (just enough for a bit of extra flavor), then served with boiled blacked peas (with more onion, garlic and sausage) and cornbread. We put Ume Plum vinegar on top of the greens and beans… yum! Could not for the life of me figure out why everyone in the world was not eating these every day. Even tried to feed them to my other northern friends…. they weren’t as impressed. Then, a month later, I discovered the reason for my new love. It was my first food craving – I was pregnant! My little girl still loves beans but is slowly being convinced on the greens. 🙂 Back in Texas, we still eat them as much as we can, but we’re one of the few. They’re not sold at the farmers markets here (at least, not in our small town) and we haven’t gotten our garden in yet, so we have to make do with grocery store versions of both beans and greens. Hopefully by next fall, we’ll have our own wonderful greens and beans coming out of our own garden! I can’t wait!