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Collard Greens!!

I want to talk about Collard Greens!!! They are considered a cruciferous vegetable, and they contain the largest amounts of health promoting compounds!!  They are a superfood and in my opinion the best dark leafy green you could eat! Did you know that one cup of collard greens has more calcium then 6oz of milk! They are rich in folate, Vitamins A, K, E & C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and more!! They are known to promote heart health, lower cholesterol, support detoxification, reduce oxidative stress, anti-inflammatory, and support digestive health.

We are able to eat them all year long, but they are technically known as a winter vegetable. You will notice they are sweeter and cheaper in the cold months and during the summer, will require a few more minutes of cooking.

Selecting your Collard Greens
When shopping for collard greens, look for a bright, deep green color, and avoid bunches with yellowing or browning. Smaller leaves tend to be more tender and mild in flavor, but the large leaves are delicious too!



Storing your Collard Greens
You want to consume your collard greens within 5 days of bringing them home to get the most nutrients from them. The best way to store them, is to wrap them tightly in a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator. Do not wash them before storing them. 

Washing your Collard Greens
Washing your collard greens is very important. I recommend that you purchase organic collard greens, to avoid high amounts of pesticide. If you have organic collard greens then all you need to do is rinse them really well under cold running water. If you did not purchase organic collard greens (sometimes, it is hard to find them organic), then you may want to give them a baking soda bath to remove some of the pesticides. Soaking the collard greens can cause some of the water-soluble nutrients to leach out into the water, so you will have to decide what is best for you and your family. I personally, fill my sink with water and 2 tbl of baking soda and clean them really well in the baking soda mixture. I do not allow them to sit too long. I scrub them in the mixture and then rinse under cold running water. 




Cutting your Collard Greens 
The best way I have found to cut collard greens is to stack them, roll them, cut lengthwise once, flip them, cut lengthwise again, then turn and cut across the width into small strips. The smaller the better.  I cut off the bottom inch of the stem before rolling them, but I do not remove the rest of the stem. The stem contains tons of nutrients and the smaller stems are quite tasty! 












Cooking your Collard Greens
You will find many recipes and ways to cook collard greens. The most common way in the south is to cook them with ham hock. While this method is delicious, the collard greens lose most of their nutritional benefit with this cooking method. In order to maintain the most nutrients you want to allow them to sit for 5 minutes after cutting them, then you want to quick steam them for 5 minutes. You do not want to go past 5 minutes so be sure to set a timer! Once they are done, remove them from the heat and pan immediately to prevent them from cooking further. 

Seasoning your Collard Greens
There are many ways to season your collard greens, garlic, salt, pepper, etc...but adding a little lemon juice can help your body absorb the iron in the collard greens. So you may want to try adding a splash! Add other veggies with your collard greens to change it up! Try adding red onions, carrots and zucchini, mushrooms, red bell pepper.... the options are endless!! Try topping with a homemade mixture of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil mixed with lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper! Studies show that eating collard greens with fat-containing foods like avocado oil or olive oil aid in absorption! 

The world's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan is an excellent resource! 

www.4EverBlossoming.com

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