- Thoroughly wash the collard greens with very slightly soapy water, and rinse clean with plain water. Rinse at least twice to ensure removal of all grit and soap.
- Leaves may be stripped from stems or left on if preferred. If left on, cut stems in small length (under 1 inch / 2.5 cm) for ease.
- Chop leaves into bite-sized pieces. They may be folded lengthwise or widthwise to facilitate this.
- Place chopped leaves into pot of boiling water—use just enough water to keep the greens off of the bottom of the pot; or else your greens will be watery and will have no flavor. Leaves will reduce in size while cooking, though not significantly. Depending on the size of the pot in which they're cooked, it may be necessary to cook some, then add more leaves after a brief time.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Boil for approximately 20 minutes or until they reach desired tenderness. If overcooked, their taste will not be affected, but they'll be mushy.
Notes, tips, and variations
- Hot pepper sauce may be added as desired.
- Sausage or smoked turkey legs or wings can be substituted for the pork, though it's not necessary to use any meat at all.
- Additional spices and herbs may be added while cooking, including red hot peppers, fresh yellow wax peppers (diced), basil, thyme, or turmeric. Brown sugar may be added while cooking, and vinegar may be omitted, reduced or increased (again, depending on taste).
- Collards may also be wilted in a skillet, par-boiled (boiled once, then re-boiled in fresh water), or even eaten raw.
- Collards are frequently enjoyed with cornbread. The "pot likker" (water in which the collards are cooked) may be poured over the cornbread for additional flavor.