Everything You Need to Know about Collard Greens . . .
. . . could, for most people, be put in the thimble you used last week for your knowledge on Chard. But read on! Because what you didn’t know about Collard Greens could save your life!
Collard Greens are a large leafy green that can be used in a number of dishes and is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It grows as a large, dark colored, edible leaf in a variety of areas. While they can be grown year round, Collard Greens enjoy a warmer environment – interesting enough, however, a touch of frost can seal their flavor.
2. Gobs of Nutrients
Collard Greens provide an enormous amount of nutrition – and possess little to no calories! With a huge source of soluble fiber and Vitamin C, and multiple nutrients with anticancer properties, one serving of Collard Greens contains more than your daily allotment of Vitamin K and A, and is a great source of folate, manganese, calcium and tryptophan (all you Seinfeld fans can get out the classic toys!). A single serving has a mere 46 calories.
Interestingly enough, the cholesterol-lowering ability of collard greens may be the greatest of all commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Here comes some science! In a recent study, steamed collard greens beat out steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in terms of its ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. When this bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It is also worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw collards.
4. Cooking Collard Greens
There are about 1,000 recipes for cooking Collard Greens. You can steam, boil, braise and sauté Collard Greens. They are considered a traditional side dish in the southern parts of the United States, and are even included as part of a New Year’s celebration meal in that area. One of the best features of Collard Greens is that you can cook them up ahead of time, toss them in the freezer, and pull them out at a later date for quick reheating. Makes for a fast, easy and nutritious side dish. If you are new to Collard Greens, I have included an easy and delicious recipe below.
Collard Greens are native to the Mediterranean region and Asian Minor. Around about 400 B.C. they were brought over to the Britain and France regions. They were first documented in the Americas in the 1600’s, although it’s entirely possible that they existed before European settlers arrived.
Bet you didn’t know: Collard Greens are part of the cabbage family.
- 1 pound raw collards
- ¼ pound lean ham (or smoked turkey), diced
- 3 cups hot water or chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- Brown the ham in a tiny bit of oil in a large pot.
- Remove the cooked ham from the pot and set it aside.
- Add hot water or broth, greens, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, salt and pepper to the pot.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle sugar over greens and return ham to pot.
- Cover and cook together 15 more minutes.
What dishes do you love to make with collard greens? Please share them in the comments below.