Until two years ago, collard greens were not something I had ever eaten let alone prepared. As I started my healing journey and knew that I had to eat a huge variety of vegetables, much more so than I had ever in my life, I knew that I needed to branch out and start trying new things. My choices came from what was available in the organic section at my local grocery store and my local farmers market and collard greens happened to be one of the choices. They looked interesting and I had always heard they were one of the comfort foods of the south. I figured I would give them a try.
Since trying them the first time they have become one of my favorite veggie side dishes. Find my recipe for Down Home Collard Greens here. Before that, I thought it was important to tell you why you should make collard greens part of your diet and teach you how to prep them.
Why should you eat collard greens?
- These crucifers are a vitamin and mineral powerhouse.
- They have higher amounts of fat soluble vitamins A, K, and E along with smaller amounts of B vitamins – folate among them.
- These greens also have higher amounts of water soluble vitamin c which is an expert antioxidant helping with a myriad of functions including detoxifying our body.
- They are rich in choline (a partner to the b vitamins which helps with methylation).
- Omega 3’s and 6’s, calcium, manganese (helps with preventing osteoporosis & strengthening bones, anemia and PMS Symptoms) are also part of this leafy plant’s makeup.
- Just one cup of these greens have 7 grams of fiber.
- Iron is also a mineral found in collards but being that it is a plant based iron (non-heme) is is not as readily absorbed as animal based sources of iron (heme) are. While you will absorb some iron from these greens it wont be as significant as from an animal source. That holds true for almost all vitamins and minerals that are found in plants verses animals. However, this does not mean just eat animals and leave out plants. Vegetable are a vital part of our diet and need to be eaten in higher proportions than meats and eating them with meat helps with vitamin absorption. It’s a great cycle.
- They have been found to help prevent cancer and reduce inflammation along with aiding our bodies in the detox functions they must perform hourly in order for us to thrive.
Buy these organic!
You’ll want to be sure that you purchase these in the organic section as they have been found to have high pesticide residue on them in the non-organic section. EWG has put them on their Dirty Dozen Plus list. Anything on EWG’s dirty dozen list (or dirty dozen plus list) should always be purchased organic. If we are eating these healthy foods, why ruin it by ingesting a bunch of pesticides with them causing our poor liver to detox harder?
How to prep collard greens
These plants have gigantic leaves and every time I purchase them I am amazed that one single leaf on a stalk can grow as big as it does. We like to pretend they are fans when we are in a silly mood!
Usually I purchase at least three bunches of these babies due to the fact that when you cook greens they drastically reduce in portion. Three bunches provides a side dish for about 4 -6 people.
Preparing collard greens is really quit simple! You can see the step by step pictures below.
Of course, you need to wash the leafy stalks front and back. Then, tear the leaves off of the stalk so basically the leaves are in tact but just missing the stalk in the center. Pile about 3-4 leaves on top of each other and throw the stalks away.
Next, roll the stack of 3-4 leaves up all together then make slices into the leaves from tip to tip.
After making the tip to tip slices I like to turn the knife in the other direction and cut the leaves so they end up in 1″ or smaller squares.
Repeat this process from step one until you have cut all your leaves. Place them directly in your stock pot for cooking. If you do not plan on cooking them that day you can store them for 1-2 days in your fridge in a container. When you do plan on cooking them, they will take 45-60 minutes to cook.
I hope you will pick up some bunches of these next time you visit your grocery store or farmers market.
Cheers to your health!