Collard greens, a favorite vegetable of the South, have never been on my list of favorites. I hated them as a child and would push them aside when served alongside their common Southern counterparts, pinto beans and cornbread. My grandma makes wonderful Southern style collard greens, but it wasn’t until an adult that I grew to love this wonderful vegetable. It’s funny how your palate changes over time. Now I adore them, and grow them in my own garden. I grow an abundance of them with hopes of having enough to freeze for the winter. They are particularly yummy with ham and mashed potatoes in the colder months when you want something hearty and able to “stick to your ribs”.
There are many ways to eat collard greens. Some like to use them as wraps. They can be juiced. They can be cooked with garlic and onions. They can be steamed and served with a yummy vinegarette dressing. They can be cooked in a soup. I prefer my collard greens to be cooked and served along some type of fat. They are more easily digested this way. The nutrients are also absorbed better with some type of fat. I find them more palatable and easier to chew when cooked as opposed to raw. We do still occassionally rotate raw collard greens in our juice that we make a couple of times a week, and we sometimes use younger tender greens in our salads. Other than that, we choose to cook them. We do this because collard greens and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale contain goitrogens than can damage thyroid function when eaten raw. Cooking these foods are said to neutralize the damaging effects of these foods to the thyroid. Really all in all, I have found that balance is key. Raw vegetables are good and cooked vegetables are good. Go easy on the raw, especially if you have poor thyroid function and poor digestion. Now on to the recipe:
Grandma’s Southern collard greens
Large bunch of collard greens
3 pieces of bacon (cut in bite sized pieces)
Water or broth
Salt & Pepper
Wash greens thoroughly and trim off tough stems.
Chop into bite sized pieces.
Put bacon and greens into a stockpot.
Put enough water/broth in the pot to fill about half way up to the top of the greens.
Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Salt liberally. The seasoning is key to a good tasting collard green.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Taste test for additional salt and pepper.
Serve with vinegar or hot sauce for a real Southern treat.
Note: Onions and garlic would also be good in these, but my grandma doesn’t do it like that, so I don’t either. If you were going to use onions and garlic, I would saute the bacon, onions, and garlic lightly first and then proceed with the rest of the recipe as follows.
Other collard green recipes and ideas:
Saute with garlic, onions, and bacon
In a quiche
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