Collard Greens: Not Just for New Year’s Day
Growing up in North Carolina I ate collard greens on occasion, but always on New Year’s Day. Greens are said to bring money and black-eyed peas are said to bring luck, so we always had both for our dinner. I did not like collard greens for many years because I had them served to me in the traditional southern way which is boiled to death with ham or fatback. They were too slimy and greasy for my taste. Then as I studied nutrition and health, I learned about the many benefits of greens, including collards, and I decided to add them to our meals on a regular basis.
Conventionally grown greens are often high in pesticides and are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen-Plus list, so it is important to buy organic whenever possible. Thecollard greens now available from our local farmer’s market are extremely fresh and tasty. I made the recipe below recently.
Collard greens have a lot of nutrients per calorie and are rated highly in the book The World’s Healthiest Foods. This book rates collards as even more healthy than the current nutritional star Kale. They were native to the Mediterranean area and eaten by ancient Greeks and Romans as well as US Southerners. They are an excellent source of multiple nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, B2, B6, folate and the minerals manganese, potassium and calcium. They are also a great source of fiber in the diet.
Collard greens are part of the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, turnip and mustard greens among others. All of these vegetables contain sulfur compounds which are excellent for liver detoxification as well as cancer prevention.
So go ahead and cook like this real southern gal! Have some collard greens next week. Check out my recipes page for more healthy recipes.
Southern Collard Greens
1 bunch organic collard greens, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ diced onion
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup beef, chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
½ cup water
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (optional)
Cut off and discard the tough stems from the greens. Cut across the leaves into 2-inch ribbons.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the black pepper and collard greens. Stir every few minutes until the greens have wilted down. Add the stock, water, salt and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and add the vinegar and cook for 5-10 minutes more on medium high heat to reduce the liquid.
Serve the greens with hot pepper sauce on the side.
Recipe adapted from Guy Fieri.