There are collard greens ready for picking all over South Carolina. Maybe you are harvesting your own greens or maybe you are buying them form local roadside stands. Regardless of how you are getting them they are abundant and at the peak of freshness RIGHT NOW! So, if you are lucky enough to have more collard greens than you know what to do with then freezing them is a great way to preserve them. And the prep work involved in freezing will allow you to quickly and easily prepare them on busy week nights!
Buying & Storing Greens
- When selecting greens for cooking, remember they cook down considerably, by one-quarter or more, from their original volume.
- Wrap fresh greens in damp paper toweling, then place in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate.
- If the greens are purchased in good condition and if the paper toweling is kept moist, most varieties will keep one week.
- Wash greens thoroughly. Place them in a sink filled with lukewarm water and swish around. (Tepid water helps to remove the grit faster than cool water.) Remove any roots, stem the greens if necessary and repeat the washing process until the grit disappears.
- For salad greens, whirl in a salad spinner or pat dry in paper toweling.
Never cook greens in aluminum cookware, because it will affect both appearance and taste.
Select young, tender green leaves. Wash thoroughly and cut off woody stems. Blanch collards in boiling water for 3 minutes and all other greens 2 minutes (in 2 gallons water per pound of greens). Cool, drain and package, leaving ½-inch headspace.
Wide-leafed greens with a cabbage flavor, are traditionally cooked for several hours to yield very tender eating. They can also be simmered in a seasoned broth for 20 to 30 minutes. Season collards with garlic, onion, chili peppers, ginger or curry.
For more information see, HGIC 3532, Leafy Green Basics.