Collards are the oldest known greens in the cabbage family, dating back to ancient times. Collard greens grow quickest in warm weather, though they can withstand the cold temperatures of late autumn and mild winters. In fact, the flavor of collard greens is enhanced and sweetened by a light frost.
Best Storage Practices:
Store dry collards in the vegetable crisper (32°-36°) in a bag. Best if used within 1-2 weeks. Prior to washing, any wilted or yellow leaves should be removed. Next, dunk greens into a bowl of tepid water a few times to clean. Drain, then use!
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:
Seek out tender, younger leaves for raw use in salads and added to dishes. Mature collard greens are tougher, and are traditionally simmered very slowly with a piece of ham hock for an extended period of time. This softens the texture and decreases some of the bitter flavor. Greens can also be steamed, added to soups, salads, stews, and other dishes.
Selecting Collard Greens
Select collards with dark green color and no sign of bruising, wilting, or discoloration.
Why it’s Good to Eat
- Good source of vitamin A
- Good source of vitamin C
- High in fiber
When it’s in Season:
Collards are grown in the fall and spring. Their peak production tends to be from January through April.
How it’s Harvested:
Younger, tender collards are harvested by cutting the whole rosette off at soil level. As the vegetable matures, individual leaves are picked as needed. Once the frost has fallen and the collards have reached their sweet peak, cut off the entire plant and get it inside for eating or preservation.
Seared Collard Greens - Wash, dry, and remove stems from the collards. Cut into ribbons about the width of your little finger. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke. Quickly throw in the greens, add salt and pepper, and stir madly for 30 seconds, turning the greens over and over until they have all wilted slightly and turned a rich, bright green. Remove from heat, add lime juice, Tabasco, and additional salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.