These rich, hardy cousins of kale become melt-in-your mouth creamy delicious when cooked down, are incredibly nutrient-dense, and the large round leaves are perfect for stuffing and making wraps.
Flavor profile: Like many hardy greens in the Brassica family, collards have a rich, nutty, broccoli-like flavor that gets sweeter and sweeter during the cold winter months.
Uses: Collards can be simply sautéed with a little oil/butter and garlic and are absolutely delicious as is. Chop them into a breakfast sauté, a quick frittata, or serve alongside pasta/rice and a protein for a satisfying meal. The large round leaves also make collards perfect for making wraps, just remove the stems, blanch the leaves, and they become pliable.
Pairs with: savory dishes, garlic, oil, butter, pasta, cheese, rice, meat, fish, mushrooms, root vegetables, soups, etc.
Storage: Hardy greens can store for over a week in your fridge. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag to retain moisture and keep from wilting.
Other names: The word “collard” was derived from the word, “colewort,” roughly meaning “wild cabbage.”
Nutrients: Collards might be the most nutrient-dense green of them all! Just 100 grams of the leaves contains over twice your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin-K, almost twice your RDA of vitamin-A, and over half your RDA of vitamin-C. They’re high in dietary fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants that have been linked to having anti-cancer properties, as well as significant amounts of many minerals including iron and calcium.
History: Although many of us know of a variety of different kales, there are just as many unique varieties of collard greens if not more! From tree collards to curly collards to purple collards and more, head to The Heirloom Collard Project to learn all about the history of collard greens and the growers working around the world to keep these incredibly important varieties and beloved cooking techniques alive.
Why it's a great crop: Collard greens are unique in being well-adapted to both high heat and freezing temperatures. The plants are strong and tend to do well no matter what, getting sweeter in the winter months and staying tender in the heat. Beyond their adaptability in the field, while kales have only become popular in the past couple decades, collard greens have long been one of the most culturally-significant greens in the United States with a rich history of culinary celebration. Find more stories and recipes from The Heirloom Collard Project here.