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How to cook collards

Collards in GardenThis year, I decided to grow collards instead of kale in my garden. Although collards are tougher and you can’t make chips out of them, I like to rotate my food to prevent allergies. Also, I’ve grown kale for several years in a row, and although I planted it in different spots, a staff member at the co-op garden center said I might be getting leaf mites because I haven’t rotated the vegetables in my garden enough.

My garden is in full production so I have a lot of collards. When I stir-fried collards, like I do spinach or Swiss chard, it wasn't tasty. I looked for recipes and saw that cooking them with fatty meat was often suggested.

Since collards tend to be tough, I decided to boil them with beef stew meat. It worked well – the stew and collards were flavorful. However, when I got my next to the last serving, I heated the stew meat and collards on the stove, and maybe left them heating too long, the collards were bitter.

I read in one of the recipes not to let the collards boil. Maybe that’s because they can be bitter when overcooked.

I couldn’t find side pork, a cut from the belly and sides of a pig which is cured in salt but not smoked like bacon, at the co-op or my neighborhood Safeway. It was recommended in one of the recipes I read. My mom used to cook it when I was growing up, but I don’t think I’ve eaten side pork since.

I tried lamb stew, which is fatty, with collards. It was tasty. I also boiled some pork, and I’ll add collards to it later.

So, here’s my recipe:

Collards From the Garden

1-2 pounds of beef, lamb, or pork stew meat - Smoked meat such as ham or ham hocks also can be used

10-12 large collard leaves

About 4 cups of water, enough to cover the stew meat

Salt to taste


Boil the stew meat in salted water for about 1 hour.

While the stew meat is cooking, wash the collards. Trim out the stem and cut the collard leaves into bite sized pieces.

Add the collards to the stew meat, then cook for another 45 to 60 minutes.


Update: A Facebook friend offered her method to prepare collards as follows - Collards are a staple in my home. I steam or par boil them until they are softish and then sauté them in olive oil with lots of garlic. I add salt and pungent cracked black pepper.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist



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