Friday, November 9, 2007

Southern Food: Collards

Fridays are all about nutrition. Picture by strawbaleman.

Collards are associated with the South, nearly always. But I found some interesting recipes from other places. Check out this soup from Portugal, or this tasty dish from Ethiopia. The truth is that collard greens can be quite nutritious no matter how they are cooked. But too much ham hock = too much fat. The simplest way to make them, by boiling them in water for awhile, is the best way to eat them.

Collards are an excellent autumn food. They can withstand frost. I saw it happen with my own eyes this week. We had heavy frost on the field two mornings in a row and picked well over a bushel of collards today. There's more where that came from, too. Some people say they taste even better after a frost. Even though you can grow them year round, they are best from January to April when other vegetables do not grow.

Some of the nutrients found in collards include vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, folate, potassium, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B6. 1 cup of collards properly cooked contains less than 50 calories and a little over 20% of recommended daily fiber. It also good for a heart healthy diet because of the B vitamins, folate and riboflavin.

Believe it or not, collards also contain about 22% of the daily requirement for calcium in one cup. I was amazed. If you are lactose intolerant, this is one way for you to get calcium in your diet.

One thing to bear in mind is that collards is part of a group of vegetables that contain oxalates and should not be eaten by people with kidney or gall bladder problems. You can read more on the nutritional details of collards at the World's Healthiest Foods. Even more information about collards can be found at: World Community Cookbook
Feel free to comment by clicking on the comment link above. I want to see what you have to say.