Collard Greens

From University of Illinois Extension:

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Collards are fibrous, tough, mild-flavored greens that require long cooking. Hiding under the green chlorophyll pigment is an excellent source of beta carotene and some vitamin C and calcium. The darker the leaf the more beta carotene provided. Like broccoli and cabbage, the antioxidants and phytochemicals in collards may help to reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease. Collards contain very small amounts of fat and sodium.

Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked collard greens)

Calories 56
Protein 1 gram
Dietary fiber 2.9 grams
Carbohydrates 2.5 mg
Dietary fiber 0.4 mg
Calcium 74 mg
Vitamin A 2,109 IU
Vitamin C 9 mg

Selection & Storage

Collards, also known as collard greens, are a member of the cabbage family. Collard greens have always enjoyed grand popularity in the southern states and lately its popularity has grown throughout the nation.

Collards store better than most greens. Wrap unwashed leaves in moist paper towels and place in sealed plastic bag. They will stay fresh for 4-5 days in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. When ready to use wash thoroughly. Greens tend to have dirt and grit clinging to the leaves. Swish through several changes of cold water.

Preparation & Serving

Wash collard greens in several changes of cool water to remove all dirt and grit. Remove the tough stems and central vein as well. Collard greens are tough and depending on the maturity of the leaves, may require 20 minutes to one hour of cooking time. The green leaves turn dark green during this long cooking process, and the cooking water will be greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, nutrients are leached out into the cooking liquid that many people pour down the drain. This cooking liquid or “pot likker,” as it is called in Southern states, is full on valuable nutrients. Save it to add to soups or soak it up with a piece of hot cornbread.

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