Collards may now be the bright star of the dark leafy greens, but this cousin of cabbage is no gastronomic newcomer. Greeks and Romans have grown collard greens for over 2,000 years, and the species was likely introduced to America in the 16th or 17th century. While collard greens have been popular in the southeastern United States for some time, the rest of the country is now catching on to their culinary and nutritional benefits.
Early to late autumn is the perfect time to give collards a shot. The plants are happiest in cooler weather, which means Land’s Sake will be offering them well into the autumn season. Lower fall temperatures also allow the collard plants to produce slightly sweeter leaves.
One serving of collard greens, about 1/3 cup raw or 1 cup cooked, contains just 36 calories but packs in nearly a full-day’s worth of beta-carotene and lutein, both vital to eye health. The same amount also provides about one-third of your daily Vitamin C as well as an impressive folic acid and calcium load.
Collard greens are also very high in Vitamin K – almost 5 times your daily needs. Vitamin K serves the vital role of helping to clot our blood. Despite the high Vitamin K levels, most don’t need to worry about consuming too many collards. However, it’s critical for those taking blood thinners like Coumadin® (warfarin) to talk with their Registered Dietitian or physician before diving into dark leafy greens likes collards or kale, because the high Vitamin K levels can affect the medicine’s action. Not to fret though – those on blood thinners like Coumadin® can enjoy dark leafy greens like collards as long as very consistent amounts are consumed daily.
From salads to soups to snacks and side dishes, collards are a hearty and healthy choice. Pick up a bunch next time you visit the Land’s Sake farm stand, and feel free to pick my brain!
Hope to see you soon,
Emily Elizabeth, RDN
Quick ‘n Easy Reciple: Garlicky Collard Greens
1. Heat canola or other high-heat oil in a cast-iron pan
2. Dice and add to pan part of a Land’s Sake onion (beautiful Red Bulls now available!)
3. Add garlic (not yet available at the farm stand, so I use frozen garlic in the meantime)
4. Using gloves, chop a bit of Land’s Sake hot pepper such as Serrano; add to pan
4. Chiffonade, chop, or tear the kale into small pieces and add to the pan
5. Add whatever herbs you like; I added some fennel fronds for a fun anise twist!
It’s your dish – do as you like, and have fun! I plan to add two eggs and a slice of whole wheat Nashoba Brook Bakery bread to my leftovers in the morning for a protein-packed twist on Green Eggs sans ham.