A weekend drive from our home in Su-um-tuh, South Care-oh-laaa-nuh to Chah-ul-stun, South Care-oh-laaa-nuh would take us by fields and fields of collard greens. A wrinkled nose? Ah, you must be a Northerner. Collard greens certainly wouldn’t round out our Holiday dinners. Sniff. However, every Holiday dinner we ever attended at our Southern friends’ homes had greens. Even the fancy, schmancy, overpriced steakhouse on King Street in Chah-ul-stun served me humble collard greens.
“We the people [of this household]…to insure domestic tranquility…[and to] promote the general welfare…do ordain and establish“…that we are working on eating more yummy collard greens. Key word being, “yummy.” Something that cooks that long ought to taste good. And preferably not be too soggy. Or too salty.
1-2-3 Collard Greens
One bunch of collard greens (4 cups fresh and trimmed or about 6 ounces soaking wet and trimmed)
1 tablespoonful of honey
2 tablespoonsful of oil (I’ve used olive oil and bacon drippings)
3 tablespoonsful of vinegar (I’ve used balsamic and apple cider vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoonful of each)
1. Trim up the collard greens. Cut out the thick stem in the center.
Stack each leaf-half on top of each other. Cut across leaves to make strips about eighth of an inch wide.
Place in colander and rinse well. Don’t worry about drying well. Just shake off excess water.
2. Mix honey (1 T), oil (2 T), and vinegar (3 T) in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until just sizzling and continue cooking for about two minutes.
3. Add collard greens. Stir to coat greens.
4. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 30-45 minutes with a lid on, but propped so steam can escape. Stir occasionally. Watch closely to make sure pan doesn’t boil dry, but the goal here is to cook the greens and yet get rid of all the extra liquid. Add a bit more water or vinegar as needed, but remember the goal (cooked, dry greens). I’ve never needed to add any extra liquid, but if your stove cooks them hotter than mine, you may.
5. When the liquid is all cooked out, you may stop here and eat them. But I like to turn the heat up to the high end of medium-high and finish off the greens for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and watch closely. Here the goal is to get them even drier and maybe even crisp them up a little.
6. Remove from heat and serve. Today I inadvertently left some in the pan after cooking (the burner was off). Wow! The extra time just sitting in the hot pan (while I ate my first batch) really crisped up the greens. Next time maybe I’ll just turn off the stove, finish up some other kitchen tasks, and then serve them!
1. I have tried olive oil and bacon grease. Both worked well.
2. If you use bacon grease, toss in some of the crispy bacon when serving.
3. I used apple cider vinegar but I know balsamic would be great.
4. Chop up some onion really fine and add them to the liquid mixture and saute them just before adding the greens.
5. Stop after step 3, when they’ve just been steamed a little bit. Unfortunately, some collard greens are tough and strong-tasting, and I don’t like them lightly cooked. But the smaller, younger, more tender leaves taste fine to me with just a steam.
The nutritional density of collards rocks. Sadly, they shrink. Oh, do they shrink. I try to get my calcium from greens like kale, broccoli, and now that I can cook them so I like them, collards. The recipe above has about 25% of my recommended daily allowance of calcium. However, if I share this recipe as written with all five of my family, well, you can do division. So either quadruple the recipe, or don’t share. Four cups of fresh collards wilt down to 1 cup of cooked. I guess that’s why it’s normally a “side” dish and they cook it up in huge batches.
- Calcium 27% of RDA (recommended daily allowance)
- Vitamin A 308% of RDA
- Vitamin C 58% of RDA
- Iron 12% of RDA
A person can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time (no matter where it comes from–from milk, vitamins, kale, or collards). So your RDA of calcium needs divided up throughout the day.
A cup of milk has about 300 mg of calcium, and a cup of cooked collards has about 300-400 mg, depending on your reading source. My recipe makes one cup of cooked collards.
The people in my household range from 4-40 years of age. Each of us need about 1000 mg of calcium a day, plus or minus a little. I love these collard greens. If I eat them twice a day, I’d be about at my goal. Add in a few almonds or broccoli somewhere and I’m good to go.
Do you need the RDA of calcium? Don’t know yet. Got to read more, but my husband is a traditionally trained “bone doctor”, and so he glares at me if he thinks we’re not getting enough calcium. We were trained that strong bones need the RDA of calcium.
Collards apparently can have quite a bit of pesticide residue. I believe that. Have you EVER SEEN THE BUGS IN THE SOUTH!!!???? So I guess it’s best to buy organic on this one.
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