Collard Greens are a part of the Brassica group which is the same as other common vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.
They are a part of the Acephala Group which also includes spring greens and kale. The name Acephala translates “Without a Head” in Greek. This refers to vegetables that don’t have a compact core of the leaves. This makes Collard less susceptible to diseases and can tolerate higher temperatures.
They have an upright stalk and it usually grows up to two feet high. You can find them throughout the whole year but you will find the most delicious ones and with the highest amounts of nutrients after the first frost.
Species: B. oleracea
Trinomial name: Brassica oleracea var. Acephala
Collard Green Trivia
- Romans and Greeks used to grow Collard Greens two thousand years ago
- The name of the vegetable comes from the word “Colewort” which means “wild cabbage”.
- There are many different varieties of Collard Greens and the most popular are Champion, Blue Max, Georgia, Heavy crop, Flash and Vates
Collard Green Buying Guide
Look to buy Collard Greens in your farmer markets if possible.
The leaves should be dark green, but the veins and stems should be brightly colored.
It is important that the leaves are crisp and firm. If they’re firm, it indicates that the leaves are fresh and were properly stored. Test this by bending them a little bit.
Just like with many other greens, avoid those that started acquiring yellow or brown color. The wrong colors indicate that the greens are a bit older than preferred. Avoid purchasing leaves with holes as well.
Collard Green Production & Farming in Texas
Collards are easy to grow and because they’re low in calories and high in other nutrients, they’re always going to be a hit.
Even though the vegetable didn’t originate in Africa, African people were the first to introduce Collard Greens to America in the early 1600s.
They can easily tolerate both high and low temperatures making it all that easier for farmers to grow. Collard Greens are suitable for both small and large crops and the best time to grow them is when the weather is cool, but there is lots of sunlight during that period.
Unfortunately, just like kale, Collards comprise high amounts of pesticide residues. It is known that most of the people that regularly eat Collard Greens buy the food organic.
These vegetables were first cultivated by the Ancient Greeks about two thousand years ago. Today they’re being grown all over the world as the vegetable can tolerate different types of weather.
Collards require a well-drained and well-prepared deep soil. Scatter the seeds in the furrow before covering them with loose soil or compost. If you want a fall crop, plant them 80 days before frost which is either August or September in Texas.
Just as many other greens, Collard Greens are sent to the stores in large boxes where they’re usually sold as either packaged in plastic bags or just tied to their stems in batches of ten to fifteen.
Enjoying Collard Greens
As far as any greens go, Collard Greens are very versatile in the kitchen. They can be rolled up in tacos, sandwiches, burritos, mixed into a braised, made into a stir-fry, stirred in a soup, shredded into a casserole. These are just one of the many ways you can prepare these delicious and nutritious vegetables.
After you’ve harvested the vegetables, your first step is to wash them thoroughly. Before placing them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, wrap them in paper towels and put them in a plastic bag. They can store for up to a week in the fridge.
Collard Greens with onion and bacon is the perfect dish to use your Collards. To prepare, first, you’re going to heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Throw in the bacon and cook until they’re crisp. After that, remove the bacon and crumble it before putting it in the pan again. Put the onion to cook with the bacon for about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for one to two minutes before throwing in the collard greens until they start wilting. After all of that is done, pour in the chicken broth and season. Reduce the heat to low, cover it, and cook for about 45 minutes. When the greens are tender, the meal is ready to be served.
There are a few health benefits that Collard Greens provide you:
- Improving bone health
- Protection against cancer
- Helps with diabetes and liver function
- Improves digestion
- Healthy hair and skin
Collard Greens are also a great natural source of:
- Vitamins C & K
When Are Collard Greens in Season in Texas?
To find out when Collard Greens are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.