How about trying a “mess o’ greens?”
When collard greens are mentioned, most people might think of soul food or southern cooking. That’s because eating greens, including collards, have long been a time-honored tradition in kitchens of the southern region of the United States. Collard greens are so revered in the south that in 2011 collards became the official vegetable of the state of South Carolina. Legend even has it that eating collard greens and black-eyed peas bring good luck and prosperity when eaten on New Year’s Day.
It is thought that collards were first introduced to the United States as early as the 1600s in the Jamestown colony and were popular among African slaves. But the history of eating collard greens as food goes back all the way to the time of the Greeks and pre-Christian era Romans.
Collards are a part of the cabbage family or brassicas along with cabbage, kale, turnips, and other vegetables. These vegetables are highly nutritious containing high amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and fiber. Collards are also high in beta-carotene which helps your body’s cells defend themselves against damage caused by free radicals and may play an important role in preventing some types of cancers.
Collard greens have long been one of our favorite foods to eat. We steam them as a side dish, add them to soups and ramen noodles, braise them with garlic and onions or even use them as a healthy wrap. Interestingly, the highly concentrated, vitamin-rich broth which results from boiling greens is known as pot likker. An old southern adage says, “Pot likker will cure what ails you and if ain’t nothing ailing you, it will give you a good cleaning out.”
So if you haven’t tried collard greens before, why not give them a second look and enjoy a highly nutritious, and tasty “mess o’ greens?”