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How to Cook Collards

You would think that by now I’d be the master at cooking all things southern since I married a native Floridian and his family is a bit country (their roots lie in good ol’ Georgia).

But I haven’t.

My true roots lie in California and we don’t normally make things like cornbread, greens, and beans. Actually, to be honest with you, I don’t think my mom ever made collards, mustard greens, or turnip greens. She may have made cornbread a time or two but it wasn’t on a normal basis. Which is kind of funny because her roots lie in Florida as well. So when Grandma made turnip greens for Thanksgiving and my immediate reaction was, yuck, well, you can’t blame me right?

Greens have a funny taste anyway. It definitely takes some getting used to and for a while there, I thought I would never come around to liking greens.

Until last years garden overflowed with collard greens.

Oh, and FYI, don’t ever listen to your father-in-law when he says the fastest way to wash a shit ton of collards is by putting them in your washing machine. Or, if you do consider doing that, question him and get all the instructions before you go for it.

Yeah, he forgot to mention that you don’t actually TURN ON the washing machine. That part would have been nice to know. Let’s just say I was digging out pieces of collards out of my washing machine for quite some time…..

Since our garden had more collards than we ever dreamed we would have, I blanched them and froze quart bags full for later use. 4 months later and I finally gained the courage to cook some. And get this, the menu for dinner was cornbread, collard greens, and pinto beans.

Florida is finally working it’s way into my blood.

I asked my mother-in-law what the quickest way to cook collards was and she told me to put them in a pressure cooker with broth and bacon but there was a tiny problem: I have never used my pressure cooker. Yes, I received one for my wedding but that baby is brand new and I had no desire to break it out. Plus, I didn’t have broth thawed and I needed to get dinner on the table ASAP.

Then I asked a friend and she told me to saute them. I grabbed a big pan and threw in a few spoonfuls of bacon grease, dumped out the frozen collards (they were literally a block of frozen greens), and added a few pieces of bacon. I threw on a few big dashes of salt and pepper, put the lid on, and let the liquid from the frozen greens help cook and soften them.

The result? The most amazing collard greens I’ve ever had!!!! I’m not kidding. I actually was excited to eat the leftovers the next day. And let me tell you what, the leftovers tasted even better than the first night we had them! I’m convinced that I have figured out the best way to cook collards so they taste so incredibly good!

Yep, this West Coast girl has it in her.

p.s. Stay tuned for a moist, maple cornbread that goes perfect with these collards.

The Best Way to Cook Collards
  • 3-4 Tablespoons bacon grease
  • 3-4 cups frozen collard greens
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt, to start
  • 1 tsp black pepper, to start
  1. On medium heat, place bacon grease, collards, and bacon in a large pan and cover
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes; open the lid, stir the collards and break apart any frozen pieces
  3. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes; it will be a little watery but that's okay
  4. Uncover, add a teaspoon each of salt and pepper; taste; add more if necessary
  5. Cook for a few more minutes, or until collards are soft and unfrozen

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  1. Wow, those greens look GOOD, and I don’t like greens except for lettuce and spinach!!! How did you blanch them and for how long? I might have to actually make these one day. Thanks!

    1. I blanched the collards beforehand by placing them in a pot of water and boiling them for a few minutes then putting them in an ice bath. Then I froze them and followed the recipe above. They really are good! I couldn’t believe that I was actually craving MORE of them.

  2. That’s how they do it in the South — add bacon to collards. I really wish I could find a local place that carries clean pig products but I cannot so until I can, I leave it out of my diet. The recipe looks great though! I love some greens. Pinned. =)

  3. I’m about as far from the South as you can get (Canada) but this is about how my mom made greens too. I so miss her big garden full of weird vegetables! I hope soon to have one too. The washing machine story made me both laugh and groan!

  4. Love the washing machine story. It’s ironic how something that’s so annoying at the time can be so funny later on. This technique looks great; thanks for sharing a reliable recipe for greens! 🙂

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