Cookbook:Collard Greens

Collard Greens
CategoryLeafy greens

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Equipment | Techniques | Cookbook Disambiguation Pages | Ingredients

Collard greens, or just collards, are a leafy green vegetable closely related to others in the cabbage family.[1]



The collard plant is large and loose-leafed, with bright green coloration.[2] The leaves are wide and smooth, with prominent veins and thick stems.[3][4] The texture is tougher and more fibrous than other leafy greens, with the stems especially so.[5][6] They are bitter when raw and typically require cooking to mellow out.[4] Nutritionally, collards are an excellent source of calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A & C.[2]



The vegetable is unique because it flourishes in cool weather,[3] often tolerating temperatures as low as 5°F (-10°C) if it is gradually acclimated, though a sudden cool snap will kill it. Collards are available year-round, but the best-growing and traditional, seasons are autumn or winter. Many people prefer their taste after the first frost, and believe them richer and more nutritious.[1][2] Collards do become sweeter after the first frost, when photosynthesis is slowed.

Selection and storage


When buying collards, make sure to choose crisp, dark green leaves with no wilting, yellowness, or sliminess.[5][6] They can ideally be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp but not soggy towel, for about a week.[4][5] Do not wash them until immediately before use.[6] Once they are blanched or otherwise cooked, they can be frozen indefinitely or added to other dishes as desired.[6]



Before cooking collards, the first step is to remove the tough central stem and any very tough radial veins.[4][6] This is best done with a sharp knife but can also be done by simply tearing them off with your hands. You'll also want to wash them well by plunging them in fresh water, as this helps to remove any dirt or grit caught in the leaves.[6]

Stewed collard greens

Collards comprise several traditional "soul food" dishes of the southern US, where they are often cooked using low, moist heat to soften their fibrous texture.[2][4][6] Traditional Southern recipes for collards often include some type of pork—such as a portion of the neck bone—or cured meat as a flavoring agent boiled along with the greens.[1][2][4] Acidic ingredients like vinegar, tomatoes, and apples may also be included.[4]



Several other leafy greens can be used as a substitute for collard greens. Kale is usually the best and most available option in regions where collards are sold.[1] Chard, bok choy, or yu choy leaves are also potential options.




  1. a b c d "What Are Collard Greens and How Do You Cook Them?". Allrecipes. Retrieved 2024-04-15.
  2. a b c d e Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  3. a b Collins, Food Source Information Colorado State University Fort. "Collard Greens". Food Source Information. Retrieved 2024-04-15.
  4. a b c d e f g "What Are Collard Greens?". Food Network. Retrieved 2024-04-15.
  5. a b c Thaler, Maximus; Safferstein, Dayna (2014-09). A Curious Harvest: The Practical Art of Cooking Everything. Quarry Books. ISBN 978-1-59253-928-4. {{cite book}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. a b c d e f g "What Are Collard Greens?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-04-15.