Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – How to Clean Collard Greens

On this week’s edition of Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer learn how gravity is your friend when it comes to getting all the grit out of collard greens. Don’t grit ruin your dish. Cleaning greens are easier than you think!

Collard greens are not something I grew up on and honestly, I didn’t hear of them until I was in college. It’s funny as I grew up living on 41 acres growing almost all of our own produce but that’s one thing we never had. My first introduction to greens was, I’m almost embarrassed to admit, but in my college cafeteria. They were having a spring cookout and that was one of the side dishes they offered. Now full disclosure I didn’t grab it on purpose but rather it was put on my plate by the server. And yes, knowing me it was the last thing I tried on my plate as I pushed this funky green soft veggie around. My one girlfriend sitting with me finally said “Oh dear Lord Lori just try it. It’s greens with bacon. It’s really good.”

Bacon?  Did she say bacon?  That was all I needed to hear, to be honest. I took a small bite and immediately I was like “WHOA!  What is this stuff and where has it been my entire life???” It was luscious, rich and so good.

After that, every time greens were offered as an option I would get them…until that one fateful order. So you know how when you go to the beach you take a cooler full of food (we’ll say sandwiches). You keep the lid closed, lie out, frolic in the water and then set down to have some lunch. You take a big bite into your sandwich and you immediately make that face. Your eyes get all big and you kind of stop mid-chew. You’re not sure if you should just chew real fast and swallow or spit it out.  Oh, the sandwich is great but something there’s sand in it. Not sure how it happens but it does. That know-that-sensation-anywhere grit/grate against your teeth. Yeah, I had that experience with greens. It was like I bit into a clump of sand. It was delicious but that feeling of sand on my teeth just threw me for a loop.

So what caused this?  Simple – improper cleaning of the greens. And that’s what we’re talking about today. Clean your greens people as no one like sand!

Okay so how do you clean these deliciously green things?

  1. Separate each leaf and give each one a good rinse under the faucet with cold water.
  2. Next, fill up your largest bowl with cold water.
  3. Place each leaf into the water (you may have to do this in batches) and, using either your hand or a wooden spoon gently agitate the leaves back and forth in the water to shake the dirt and sand off.
  4. Allow the water to settle and the dirt/grit to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Gravity is your friend here!
  5. Using tongs or your fingers pull out each leaf individually. Rinse/clean out your bowl, fill it back up with water and re-agitate your greens until all dirt and grit is removed.
  6. At that point, your greens are ready to be prepared.

What are some of your favorite greens recipes?

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