If the idea of eating your greens doesn’t excite you very much this recipe is for you. Greens are none too popular at our house. The men here will gladly eat only a handful of vegetables so I’m generally always working on broadening the range of veggies we eat. I think this recipe really fits the bill.
My Mom didn’t make greens … she didn’t care for them personally and neither did my Dad or sibs. So I’m new to greens. Over the past few years I’ve tried out a few modern recipes where the greens are sauteed in olive oil but found them bitter and hard to digest.
Mrs Dull’s recipe for collard greens is pretty much like her recipe for all greens. You could sum it up as: Boil them for a long time with a little fat for flavor. From a health standpoint this method is now frowned upon as causing vitamin loss. So I thought I’d do a little looking into the traditional reasons for the long cooking time. Basically, it’s to make them easier to digest. Collard greens are part of the brassica family of vegetables and as such they contain some anti-nutrients that block absorption of iodine. Wikipedia states that 30 minutes of boiling will eliminate most of the anti-nutrients. The traditional 2 hours makes them much more digestible for me though, and I’d suspect for most everyone.
Mrs Dull’s recipe is on page 92 of “Southern Cooking”. She suggests eating collards in the winter as they are best when the cold has made them brittle and tender. I’ve modified the recipe here to replace some of the cooking water with broth for even greater nutrient density.
Collard Greens cooked the traditional southern way
- A bunch of collard greens
- 2 cups of broth, roughly
- A few strips of bacon
- A good largish pot
- Remove the stems from each leaf. This is most easily done by holding the stem in one hand then wrap the other hand loosely around the base and pull up. Your hand will slide along the stem removing the greenery. Put the greens in the colander.
- Rinse the greens well and tear them into smallish bits.
- Place in the pot with the broth and bacon. Fill the pot with enough water to just cover the greens.
- Boil for about 2 hours taking care that they are always under water.
Links to articles on collard greens
- New York Times article on Collard Greens – This article is fairly critical of the traditional method of cooking. It suggests that long boiling will result in a loss of vitamins.
- Thomas Cowan of the Weston Price Foundation makes mention in this article on adjusting to traditional foods the wisdom of the traditional cooking time for collard greens. They are more fibrous and a long cooking time makes them easier to digest. The mention is at the bottom in the vegetables section.