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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year everyone!  One of  the traditional ways you can celebrate New Year  is with collard greens.  Also add some blackeyed peas and corn bread to sop up the juice for a delicious and prosperous year.

Collards have been eaten for 2000 years  Evidence shows ancient Greeks cultivated several forms of both collards and kale.  Collard greens belong to the same species as cabbaage and broccoli. The name collard is a corrupted form of the word "coleward" which refers to the cabbage plant.  One variety of collards is the Georgia Southern. 

When I was managing a produce department for  a supermarket chain here in south, central Florida, I had a man come into our store who wanted to sell some fresh collards.  He introduced himself and Reverend James and he was a grower form south Georgia.  I walked with him out to his truck, which I recall as little more than a pick up, and it was packed to the hilt with fresh collards between layers of ice.  Well, the collards looked great and the price was right, so we bought some.   We had good luck selling them so, we bought from him whenever he came.  When I think of collards I remember Reverend James.  Growing up in New York we didn't eat collards but their close cousin kale, which I love to this day.

Collards are a good source of vitamin C and soluble fiber.  University of California at Berkley researchers discovered that collards contain a substance that is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer activity. 

Look for collard greens that have firm, unwilted leaves with a deep vivid green color and no signs of yellowing or browning.  The smaller leaves tend to be more tender and have a milder flavor.  Fresh collards can be stored up to three days in the refrigerator.  Once cooked they can be frozen and kept for longer periods. Collards are typically flavored with smoked and salted meats, fatback, diced onions, vinegar, salt, and white black or red crushed pepper.

Rinse your collards well to get get rid of any dirt or grit. Strip the leaves off the stems and then roll and cut the leaves into half inch to one inch strips.  Put your seasonings and collards in a pot and cover with cold water.  Cooking times vary.  It can be anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to even two hours.  Just check for tenderness.

Then eat up, enjoy, I'll show you how.

I invite your comments and suggestions.  You can email me at thomaseschiera@gmail.com.  Thanks!