Collard Greens are nutritional heavy hitters. They are a rich source of calcium, manganese, chlorophyll, antioxidant vitamins A and C, minerals, and cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Eating collard greens provide strong immune support and protect, cleanse and nourish the heart, liver, colon, lungs and cellular system.
Collard greens are high in cruciferous phytos – diindolymethane and sulphoraphane – both anticancer nutrients. Collard greens are closely related to kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
Collard greens are excellent detoxifiers due to their sulfur-containing compounds glucosinolates; these are natural liver cleansers. Collard greens can help eliminate toxins from the body on a cellular level. Glucosinolates help regulate and activate detoxifying enzymes in the body and protect DNA from the attack of free radicals and other harmful chemicals.
These wonderful and nutritious vegetables are cultivated in the cooler months of the year and can resist frost unlike cabbage and other members of its species. This is an excellent plant to grow in your garden.
Vitamin K is one of the most necessary vitamins for the strength and building of bones. Vitamin K is far more useful in strengthening bones than even calcium. Collard greens contribute up to 100 percent of the daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K has been observed to reduce fracture rates. Regular consumption of collard green can be beneficial in fighting off diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Collard greens are a good source of iron, containing .5mg of iron per 100 grams. The folate present in collard greens helps the body absorb iron better and build more red cells. It helps balance the hemoglobin in the body which prevent anemia. Collard greens are an excellent addition to the diet of women who are expecting.
How to Buy
Collard greens are large in size, usually at least 10 to 12 inches long, with oval, flat leaves. In comparison to kale, the leaves are usually wider and the stems are thicker. Many grocery stores will carry collard greens on a regular basis in the produce section, close to other greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. They should be located in a chilled area, which will keep them firm.
Look for the freshest collards to show up in your store in winter through spring. They will also be at their lowest price during these times of year. Good collard greens are firm and crisp. Firmness will show you that the collard greens are relatively fresh and that they have been stored properly in the store, as well as while being transported from the field to the store.
Pick up the greens and bend them a little bit. They should be firm and not floppy.
In a bunch of collard greens there may be one or two leaves that were slightly damaged and a bit discolored. It’s also not uncommon to have a few holes in collard greens due to hungry bugs. If the majority of the leaves look good, however, then the collards are probably just fine to purchase.
How to Store
Collard greens are often relatively dirty and gritty when they are harvested. Because of this, you will need to clean them thoroughly before cooking them. To do this, soak them in a sink full of water and rub them vigorously to remove any dirt and debris.
Store them wrapped in a cotton dish towel in your refrigerator.
How to Cook
Collard greens can replace spinach or kale in recipes.
Stuffed collard greens work well because the leaves are thick and will hold the food well.