It’s Spring, Collards Greens are calling, “We need a leaf-trim!”
Urban me had never heard of Collard Greens until coming to the US & got introduced to it by a colleague in a hospital cafeteria. It was love at first bite!! Since then, Collard Greens & I have become inseparable. It may be known and used in American recipes of Soul and Southern Food but I have actually used it fusion style, in Curries, Spicy Sambal dishes and even Fried Rice. The taste of it’s green chlorophyll & fibrous texture is priceless.
I’m so obsessed with growing Collards that I make sure to have at least 6 giant bushes at all times … even though it is a cool weather crop.
Well, it’s supposed to be cool loving but depending on where & how you plant it, I have found that micro climate does help and they can grow as a perennial in Zone 10A.
For 2 persons, 5 leaves are enough for a large portion of side dish accompanying a main. Cook 20 leaves and you will have enough for the freezer, to help on lazy days.
My 18 month Collard has been nicknamed “Survivor”. It started like an ordinary ‘bush’ but has happily grown in a 5-gal bucket (always sharing space with companions) to become a ‘tree’ of sort.
I foresee Collard leaves galore coming shortly so I might try making Acar Collard or Collard Mui-Choy (梅菜) the old Hakka style of drying & salting (may my Hakka ancestors be proud of me), or even Collard Kim-chi … that’s how new dishes come about right?
10 years ago, I met a very kind, elderly African American lady who grew up in Louisiana, who had bags and bags of Collard Greens in her supermarket cart and told me she learned how to cook this from her mother, when I ask for a recipe. I hastily scribbled it down and we parted like kids giggling about this shared family recipe. That was my introduction to cooking this vegetable. Delicious! So for dinner tonight ~
I may be born in Singapore but I sure love this kind of Soul Food!