Every time you chop up a bunch of fresh collard greens you are becoming a part of history. This leafy green plant, part of the cabbage family, and a relative of kale, were grown even by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. So why after all this time are collard greens still so intimidating to eat? The dilemma most likely lies in their inherent bitterness, a factor that can cause people to turn their nose up (and away from) greens like these and similar offenders such as brussels sprouts and cabbage. What accounts for the bitterness is also one of the best health benefits of the plant: Collards are packed with high levels of calcium, almost as much as much as milk. Even better, collard greens are also high in manganese, copper, potassium, and vitamins A and C. So it’s a worthwhile task to master the preparation of this nutrient packed plant. Let us show you how.
Always be Sure to Wash Leaves Well
Big vein-y leaves can sometimes hide bits of dirt and debris. Be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly and pat drive before use. Not ready to use them right out of the bag? Head HERE to get our collard greens storage tips.
De-vein the Leaves (Two Methods)
The key is to separate the leaves from the stem. Note: The stem can be used for cooking, it just requires additional time to soften and may add a bit more bitterness to a dish.
Lay the leaves flat and slice down the stem on each side, separating the one from the other.
Fold the leaves in half, and slice down the curve of the stem, separating the leaves.
An easy way to get those lovely collard green ribbons is to roll the leaves up several at a time and slice down the leaf making fine strips.
Removing the Bitterness
Salt (think broth, meats, and actual salt) and acidity (lemon juice, vinegar, and even lactic acid in cheese/dairy) are the two best ways to tone down the bitterness in collards. So here is our twist on the traditional way to prep collards (see the traditional method for this HERE), which uses salty prosciutto and acidic ricotta cheese to help temper the flavor of the greens. You’re gonna love it!
Collard Greens and Prosciutto Panini
Recipe by AHO Kitchen Team
Check out these two other easy recipes for using your Collards:
Shepherd’s Pie of the South
Recipe by Rachel Oberg for Abundant Harvest Organics
Refrigerator Clean Out Soup!
Recipe by Carol Peterson