October 2nd, 2017

Giving a Holler for Collards

by Yael Ben-Chaim

Throughout the South, collard greens—or simply “greens”—coupled with bacon, onions, and garlic, are a comfort food staple. While this Southern delicacy is an unmistakably delicious way to enjoy collards, these versatile greens won’t be pigeonholed. There’s no limit to the range of creative things to do with collard greens! Collard greens are in the Brassicaeceae family, along with Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, & cauliflower. In Maryland, collard greens are in season in the fall and spring months.


Collards are high in vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that prevents blood clots, helps to move oxygen throughout the body, and helps to heal and prevent bruises. Collard greens are also high in vitamin A, which helps to maintain healthy and strong hair and skin.


Collards should have dark green, broad, flat and crisp leaves. Avoid collards with wilted, yellowing leaves. The size of collard greens varies, though the smaller the sweeter.


Like other greens, collards store best in cooler temperatures. Store collard greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, or until wilted. If you are looking for collard greens in the hot summer months, freeze them in the spring or fall. Collards will last up to a year in the freezer.

To Freeze:

Wash collards, chop leaves into small, bite sized pieces.

Boil copped chard leaves for 3 minutes.

Place in ice bath for 3 minutes.

Drain and dry collards.

Place blanched collards in plastic bag, or air tight container.

Pairing and Preparation:

Collards make a great substitute for a wrap or tortilla. Check out this recipe for enchiladas with a collard green as the wrap.  These garlicky collards make a great side dish while collards and sweet potato hash are a perfect vegerarian entrée.


Smokey Collard Greens from Whole Foods


1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 (3/4-pound) bunches collard greens, thick stems removed, leaves sliced 2 inches wide and rinsed

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add onion and stir constantly for 2 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons water, chile flakes and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

When onion is starting to turn translucent, slowly add greens with water still clinging to the leaves, stirring often until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook uncovered until the pan is nearly dry and collard greens are very tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

Photo credit: Yuri Huta

About the Author Yael Ben-Chaim

Yael is a food-lover, interested in local food systems and farmers markets. Follow Yael's blog posts on farmer market produce, recipes, and nutrition information. Yael is an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Maryland Farmers Market Association and is developing a seasonal food education program for MDFMA.