At $2.98 a bunch, they were a tad more expensive than other greens, but as they say, “you gotta spend money to make money.”
Although it’s not recommended to eat collards raw, due to their strong flavour and bitter aftertaste, I admit I enjoyed a crunchy nibble here and there. Simmering for about an hour will take the bite out of the bitterness. While Southerners boil their collards with ham hocks, I decided to forgo the ham for onions and a pinch of salt.
My husband complained about the smell of cooking collards, but I found they were not nearly as pungent as broccoli or cabbage, which makes everything, including the kitchen, stink.
Once they were done, I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This can be presented as a side dish to accompany a hot meal or chilled and served as a salad. Either warm or cold, this combination is delicious. Milder than cabbage or kale, collards can also be added to soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Not only are they rich in flavour, collards are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, containing vitamins A, C, and E, iron, ascorbic acid, calcium, fibre, and beta-carotene.
They keep for about a week in the refrigerator. Or you can blanche them and freeze for several months. The greens are reportedly easy to grow, and are most widely cultivated in California, the southern U.S., and this coming summer, my garden. I’ve already adjusted my plot diagram to accommodate a whole row.
Collard greens in the garden could well be the next best thing to having a money tree in the backyard. And to finally find them feels like winning the lottery.