There are two methods of freezing collard greens: The package-freeze method and the Pre-cook method. Both methods are effective and have their benefits. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each method, as well as the nutritional value and preservation of the greens. In addition, we’ll talk about the preparation process. This method is a great choice to preserve the greens’ nutrients.
Collard Greens: What are they?
Collards feature hard stems and dark green, fan-shaped leaves. They belong to a group of plants that also includes mustard greens, turnips, and kale. Additionally, they frequently share the same characteristics and are prepared in the same manner or using the same ingredients (at least in the South of the United States, where they are most popular).
Ham, beans, okra, and other items that require slow cooking, such as simmering, braising, or steaming, combine well with collard greens. Although they require special attention before and after cooking to achieve the greatest texture, they are not difficult to deal with.
Collard greens are the name we give to the leaves we consume. Collards are a type of vegetable with large, emerald-green leaves and tough stems that must be removed before consumption. They are related to kale, mustard greens, and cabbage and can be prepared similarly. Southerners frequently serve collard greens as a side dish because of their reputation for heartiness.
In addition to onions, vinegar, pepper, salt, smoked and salted meats (such as ham hocks and bacon), collard greens are frequently prepared this way. The stiff leaves are frequently used in braises and soups since they don’t disintegrate when cooked for an extended period. They can also be included in salads or wraps that employ greens instead of bread.
How to Freeze Collard Greens?
With cool running water, rinse the collard greens. Check each leaf for dirt and insects as you wash both sides. Rub away any noticeable dirt areas with your fingers. After washing the leaves, place them on a cutting board or a piece of dry paper.
- To rinse the collard greens, you can also put them in a strainer. However, if you do this, be careful to clean the leaves from both sides.
- Trim the collard greens with a knife until just the leaves are left. Remove any extra leaf stems by pruning them. Feel free to slice the greens into smaller pieces at this point. You can split them in half if you want to instead of carefully chopping them.
- Smaller chunks may be simpler to utilize in upcoming recipes and a little easier to keep.
- Put enough water in a cooking saucepan to cover the collard greens completely. Water in a big saucepan should be filled and brought to a boil. To make the water boil more rapidly, increase the heat on the cooktop. Before continuing, wait until the water is quite steamy and bubbly.
- To remove the uncooked surface layer of the leaves, boil some water.
- For three minutes, boil the collard greens. Place the rinsed greens in the pot, carefully covering each leaf with water. Floating leaves can be pushed down with a wooden spoon or a pair of tongs, if necessary. Put the lid on the saucepan and let the collard greens soak for 3 minutes, maintaining a boiling water temperature.
- The term “blanching” refers to the process of boiling green leaves.
- For three minutes, let the cooked leaves cool in a bowl of ice water. Several ice cubes and cold water should be added to a sizable bowl. Your greens should be transferred from the saucepan into the ice water using a set of tongs. Soak the greens for three minutes to halt the cooking process and cool the leaves.
- Allow the collard greens to cool off in batches if you’re cooking a large quantity at once.
- Any extra water on the greens should be drained. Place the moist leaves in a colander, then dangle the bag over the sink. Wait for the extra water to drain or jiggle the colander slightly to get any last drops out. Set the collard greens aside after they are no longer sopping wet.
- The excess water droplets on the leaves will also freeze if the greens are moist when placed in the freezer.
- The leaves can be slightly damp, but you are welcome to blot them dry with a paper towel.
- Place the leaves in freezer-safe plastic bags. Place the greens or leaf pieces in a sizable plastic bag that may be frozen. Pack the greens firmly to prevent letting extra air into the bag. To close the bag comfortably, try leaving around 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) of space at the top.
- Use more than one bag if you’re cooking a lot of collard greens at once.
- Use the collard greens within 10 to 12 months after freezing them. To keep track of how old the greens are, mark the bag with the current date. Try to eat greens within a year of freezing them for the best freshness and flavor!
- Use your greens as soon as possible if you don’t blanch them.
How Should I Prepare Collard Greens?
These greens must be well washed before cooking because they may have a lot of dirt on them. Cut the stems off first, though, as most people don’t eat them. Cut the stems off the leaves with a knife after folding them in half lengthwise.
You could also detach the leaves from the stalks. After that, add the leaves to the sink with cold water. To remove the dirt, shake it slightly; it will fall to the sink’s bottom. As often as necessary, drain the sink, fill it back up, and repeat the process until there is no more grit in the sink. Dry with a fresh cloth or paper towels.
In numerous recipes, especially those from the traditional Southern cuisine, this vegetable is frequently braised with ham or turkey or cooked in other wet heat methods. Additionally, they can be fried, steamed, or blanched. After cooking them, keep the delicious cooking liquid. It goes by the name “pot liquor” and is widely used. The pot booze goes wonderfully with homemade cornbread.
7 Ways to Prepare Collard Greens
- For Salads, Starting with a large bunch, use a knife to slice along each side of the stem to cut the woody middle stems in half. Then take out the stem. The collard leaves are stacked on top of one another and then chopped crosswise into thick ribbons.
- Use a paring knife to trim the stems for wraps. Lay the collard leaves on a level surface, then top with the prepared filling. Over the fillings, roll one end of the collard leaf lengthwise. After that, roll the wrap once more and place it seam side down on a serving tray.
- Cut out and discard the center ribs when preparing 2 -1/2 pounds of collard greens for sautéing. Make 1-inch-long chunks out of the leaves. Collards should be simmered in a big pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. They should be drained in a colander with any extra liquid squeezed out using a wooden spoon. Melt one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil in a sizable, sturdy skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming stops.
- Add two garlic cloves, the collard greens, and salt and pepper to taste. The collard mixture should be stirred while sautéing for approximately 5 minutes or until well heated. Lemon juice should be added to the collards after mixing.
- Steamed: Remove and discard the middle ribs from a pound of collard greens. The leaves should be divided into 12-inch long segments. Fill the bottom of a steamer with two inches of water. One minced garlic clove and collard greens should be added to the steamer basket. For five minutes, steam.
- In a big saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the greens for 2 minutes, then drain. Take out and discard the center ribs after blanching. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet with a rim to cool completely after squeezing out any excess liquid when they are cool enough to handle. Greens can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in a container that prevents air from entering.
- Two pounds of collard greens should be stewed, the center ribs should be removed and discarded, and the leaves should be chopped into 1-inch pieces. 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock should be used to simmer collard greens for about an hour or until they are tender. To taste, incorporate salt and red pepper flakes.
What Flavor does Collard Greens have?
Although less bitter than kale when raw, collard greens taste smoother and have a faint earthy flavor when heated. Although collard greens are available all year long, the fall and winter are when they taste the best. When consumed alone, collards are fairly astringent and bitter.
Collard greens are bitter when raw, despite how excellent they are when cooked. They nevertheless taste strongly bitter despite not being as bitter as kale. This is why it’s crucial to cook them properly. The longer you cook them, the more their flavor will soften and become milder. The taste of the greens is mellowed and brought out when they are heated.
How is Collard Greens Stored?
Collard greens hold their crispness when kept in the refrigerator unwashed in a plastic bag. They should not be washed before being placed in the refrigerator because doing so can hasten the deterioration process.
Depending on how fresh they were when you purchased them, collard greens can remain fresh for up to five days. Almost everything you purchase at a farmer’s market will last twice as long.
It would help if you first blanched them before freezing them. It seems complex, but all this entails is that you boil the greens for three minutes. Then, kindly submerge them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Dry off by draining.
The greens can be frozen for up to a year after being chopped and placed in a plastic bag that can be sealed. Although there is no prohibition against freezing raw collards, blanching them will preserve their quality and nutritional value since it inhibits the enzymes that could make them spoil if frozen.
What are the Benefits of Collard Greens for Health?
All green vegetables benefit your health, but dark green vegetables are the healthiest because they contain more chlorophyll. Since chlorophyll contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it benefits your health. Fresh collard greens are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.
Collard greens are rich in fiber and the bone-healthy vitamins A, C, E, and K. Additionally, it contains a lot of salt, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Osteoporosis and shattered bones are more prevalent when vitamin K intake is inadequate: Vitamin K affects bone matrix proteins function, facilitates calcium absorption, and may reduce the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. Boiling collard greens increases their vitamin K content by 770 micrograms per cup.
According to the 2015-2020 US Dietary Guidelines, women between the ages of 19 and 30 should consume 90 mcg of vitamin K daily, while men in the same age range should consume 120 mcg. A cup of collard greens has this amount of vitamin K many times.
According to studies on cancer, those who consume a lot of cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing diseases such as upper digestive tract, colorectal, breast, and kidney cancer. Sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates are present in cruciferous vegetables.
To effectively freeze collard greens, the first step is to rinse them thoroughly and cut them into small pieces. Please place them in a bowl of ice and freeze for at least 2 hours. Once frozen, place them into an airtight container or freezer bag. When storing them in the freezer, remove all dirt so they won’t spoil. This step is also necessary if you’re freezing greens for longer than a week.
Before freezing collard greens, you may wish to boil them for a short time. This will help reduce the amount of oxalic acid, a compound in plant foods that can interfere with calcium absorption and increase the risk of kidney stones. After freezing, you can use the greens in various recipes by adding cheese, cream, or other ingredients. You can also use the collard greens to create a casserole.