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Tips & Insights on Cooking Greens

Angela, a self-described Geechee girl from South Carolina, was kind enough to shed some light on preparing greens the true Southern way. For more on the Gullah people of Low Country, click here.


Collards, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage taste good separately or mixed together. My mother always said the smaller leaves are sweeter. Wash them over and over. I usually fold them and cut the stems out. We use to cook smoked neck bones or ham hocks till tender, then add greens and pepper. Now, for health reasons, everyone uses smoked turkey pieces. Taste very good. You can add chopped onions, fresh minced garlic, little salt and crushed red pepper or black pepper. Boil in water or chicken broth til tender, not mushy. Kale cooks and cabbage cooks faster than other kinds. Eat greens as a side dish or on top of cooked white or brown rice. Good with sweet potatoe on the side, a good vegetarian meal.

If you want to get adventurous and much healthier, here are a couple of ways to cook tasty greens without meat.

Rinse and drain 1-2 lbs of Kale or Collards, remove the thick stems. Chop up the greens a little. In a large pot, heat 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or use toasted sesame oil, to very hot. Lightly saute 1 diced onion and 3-5 chopped garlic cloves. Add greens, several shakes of apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, Bragg's Liquid aminos (soy sauce substitute), a little Spike seasoning or Mrs. Dash (both are tasty salt substitutes), black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Add all these ingredients to your taste, and keep stirring until greens are softened. There should be a little liquid at bottom of greens. Cover them and cool them. Let marinate for 1-2 hours. Over night in the refrig. is good too. Do not keep more than 3 days. Greens always spoil quickly.

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