Collard Greens

Posted on 2024-06-17

Ordinary Wisdom

[Mick] Collard greens are very easy to cook. You cut the leaves, stems and all, into pieces that will be bite-sized once they cook down (and they cook way, way down). Put them in a pot and then just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered. Cook them for 45 minutes or so (they may take a bit longer if the leaves are huge and are the older ones on the plant). Drain off all the cooking water; then add your fat of choice (lard, coconut oil, olive oil) and some salt. This is the simplest way to cook them. If you want, you could add some fresh garlic and diced onions to the cooking pot. My husband cooks them with chopped leftover ham or leftover cooked bacon. The way my grandfather (the one who had the soul-food restaurant, not the farmer) cooked them was thusly: He put them in the crock pot with a bit of water and either a pig tail or a hambone or a piece of fatback. He sometimes cooked just collards, but he usually mixed them with the wild black mustard greens that grew along the edge of the Vermillion River near his house. He’d also throw in some diced onions. Then he’d slow cook them for hours and hours. He served them with the “pot liquor” (the liquid down in the crock pot), which was usually sopped up with the bread served with the meal. Ah, that was some good eating.
Collard greens are also very easy to grow in most parts of the country. They are both heat tolerant and cold tolerant, and the right varieties are resistant both to cabbage worms and loopers and to temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Green Glaze collards and McCormack’s Green Glaze collards both fall into the bug- and cold-resistant categories. Both varieties are carried by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.


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