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Some of my dearest food memories are of a big pot of collards simmering on the stove, especially at grandma’s house. The best part was the juice (soupy part). Loved to drink it.
Put collard greens on your menu plans 2-3 times per week, especially in the absence of dairy in the diet.
Besides being so tasty, they’re healthy too.
Food Science: Collard Greens
Believe it or not, collard greens originated in Asia Minor, spread to the Greek and Romans, into some parts of Africa and also into Europe.
One cup of cooked collard greens gives us nearly as much calcium as a cup of milk! Compared to milk, collards have 50% fewer calories and nearly no fat.
Collards are so good for us in so many different ways. We get 21% of our daily fiber from just one cup of cooked greens. And collards also gives our bodies vitamins C, E, K, beta-carotene, and many other nutrients.
The calcium in collards keeps our bones strong and dense, helps reduce PMS symptoms, prevents migraines, lower cholesterol, and protects us from osteoporosis and chemicals that cause cancer.
How to Select and Store
The best collards have firm, unwilted leaves, are a vividly deep green color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Smaller leaves are more tender with a milder flavor.
Collard greens stay fresh for about 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator when stored in a plastic bag, with as much air as possible squeezed from the bag.
How To Clean and Chop
Clean the greens by rinsing them under cold running water. Don’t rinse until you are ready to cook them.
Slice collard leaves evenly into ½-inch slices. And cut the stems into ¼-inch pieces. This way, they cook quickly.
A serving size for an adult is about 1 ½ cups.
Secret Cooking Tips
Cook in (homemade) chicken stock instead of water.
Use liquid smoke in place of fatty, salty pieces of meat.
Some cooks substitute smoked turkey leg for fatty, salty meat.
Search out spice mixtures for greens from African or Kashmiri cookbooks (fun).