Collard greens are a traditionally Southern side dish, but these versatile cooking greens are in season and delicious no matter the cuisine. A member of the Brassica family, closely related to kale and mustard greens, collard greens hit peak season January through April. Collards are characterized by smooth, broad, dark green leaves, and a slightly bitter, mellow, smoky flavor.
When selecting collard greens, avoid yellow, torn, and pitted leaves and opt for crisp, plump, deep green bunches. Due to a high water content, collards shrink down when cooked, so plan on two large bunches to serve four people. Don't be shy with your collard greens intake—they're super low in calories and packed with vitamins A and C, as well as zinc.
Collard greens recipes, tips, and ideas after the jump.
Collards have a tendency to be sandy, so make sure that you wash them thoroughly. The most effective method is to trim the root ends from the stems and clean the leaves in a bowl of water. Hand-wash each leaf and allow the dirt to settle in the bottom of the bowl. Remove the leaves and rinse with clean water, replace the water in the bowl, and repeat this process two or three times or until no dirt is visible at the bottom of the bowl.
Traditionally in the south, collards are simmered slowly in water with thick ham hock or salt pork until very tender; they are often finished with spicy vinegar. We've compiled some of our favorite collard green recipes below to help you take advantage of one of our favorite greens.
- Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo
- Black-Eyed Peas and Greens
- Sneaky Collards
- Southern Comfort Soup
- Polenta Triangles Stuffed With Spicy Greens and Cheese
- Collard Greens
What's your favorite way to use collard greens?