Thursday, April 7, 2011

spring collards

You can grow collards if you have a flower bed and growing your own ensures they're pesticide free and clean. I grow my plants from seed and put the plants in the ground early fall. They'll make huge leaves that you cut from the plant (leave the stalk, I'll tell you why later.) Get a cutting board in your lap, place each leaf on the board and use a sharp knife to cut down each side of the pithy stem (trust me, that stem will not cook tender), stack 5-6 stems, roll like a cigar and make crosswise cuts, making "ribbons". Much easier to wash this way and already cut for serving. Cook in large pan till tender (the amount will shrink considerably), then can pressure cook with a piece of fatback for ultimate tenderness and flavor. Good with cornbread and mashed potatoes. Leave the stalk in ground for winter, in spring will sprout new tender leaves for more harvest. In early winter before the first hard cold gather all the leaves for cooking; those leaves won't make it through the winter, then wait for spring and more collards. Nothing tastes better!

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