I had the best collard greens at a restaurant at the Dolphin Hotel on Disney property back in 2012. David and I went there for an Entreleadership conference with Dave Ramsey. We visited a lot of different eateries over the course of ten days. I had a blast and tried a lot of new foods.
We grow our collards right here on the farm from seed. They are easy to grow. By the way, if you have chickens, they love collards, too. Ours get all of the stems and leaves that aren't pretty.
Once you have harvested your greens, cut the stems off and put in your chicken pail or discard them. Then place the leaves in a large colander and rinse them well under running water. Then I like to place them in a large bowl and fill it with water. Swish the collards around and let the dirt, sand, particles float to the bottom. Then pull the leaves out and rinse them again in the colander. We grow in sand out here on the farm so there is always a lot of sand in the leaves when the wind blows.
Collards are traditionally a Southern dish. I looked in my Betty Crocker Cookbook to see what Betty had to say about collards. About the only thing Betty says is to wash them several times, cover them with water and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. No seasoning ideas, no recipes, just cook those greens in water. I think Betty is from the North, LOL!
I have to admit that growing up in the North, I never even heard of them and did not know they were a vegetable until we started selling seeds 13 years ago. In fact, we never had any greens except for lettuce and once in a while cabbage. Nowadays, everyone talks about how healthy greens are and that you should eat your greens every single day. Back when I was a kid, they said an apple a day kept the doctor away. That was no problem. I just loved apples and there was a farm stand selling apples by the bushel on every corner where I grew up! We would buy a bushel and it would last all winter.
If you would like to grow your own fresh collards, here is where you can find the seeds from David's Garden Seeds®.
As I said above, the best collard greens recipe I have had was at one of the Dolphin Hotel restaurants at lunch one day in Orlando on Disney property back in 2012. This recipe is very similar. You will need:
In a large pot, add collard greens and smoked meat to three quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add seasoned salt, hot sauce and butter. Boil for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning.
In the South, we doctor our collards up with cooked, crumbled bacon on top because bacon makes everything incredible, right? Yes! So feel free to add bacon and serve over homemade cornbread.
This is one you will enjoy!
You will need:
In a large pan (6 quart stockpan would be great), heat one tablespoon lard. Add onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the ham hocks, water, seasoned salt, pepper flakes and sugar. Stir. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer this uncovered for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Add the collard greens, wine or stock, and the 2 tablespoons of lard. Bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat and simmer again for about an hour, uncovered. Take the ham hocks out and remove the bones. You will not need them. Chop the ham and put it back in the pan and stir. It is ready to enjoy! Your house is going to smell incredible and the neighbors will probably stop by for a visit! Make sure you have some homemade cornbread to enjoy with this dish!
Feel free to add freshly cooked and crumbled bacon to the top.
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