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Selecting Collards

Selecting the best bunch of collard greens from your home garden or the market is easy once you know what to look for and what to avoid.

Choose greens that have smooth, green, firm leaves. Small, young leaves are likely to be the least bitter and most tender. At market, be sure the produce department kept the greens well-chilled or they'll be bitter. Wilting is a sign of bitter-tasting greens.

One pound of raw leaves yields about a half cup of cooked greens.
Photo by Ned Raggett
One pound of raw leaves yields about a half cup of cooked greens.

Tips for Preparing and Serving Collards
Be sure to wash greens well and remove the tough stems; cook only the leaves. Cook greens in a small amount of water, or steam them, to preserve their vitamin C content. Cook with the lid off to prevent the greens from turning a drab, olive color.

When you can, strain the nutritious cooking liquid and use it as a base for soups or stews. Greens will overpower a salad. To eat them as a side dish, simmer in seasoned water or broth until wilted (collards may need to cook longer). Or you can combine collard greens with other vegetables and a whole grain for a healthful stir-fry dish. Finally, add them to soups and stews, where their strong flavor is an advantage.

In the next section, we'll teach you about the health benefits of collards.

Want more information about collards? Try:
  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature collard greens.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.