#61 – Tasty Greens

#61 – Tasty Greens

This is Recipe Roundup, episode 61. This week we are talking about collard greens! 


In recent years, eating the heavier greens like kale as part of raw salads has become more popular. However, there are some pretty compelling reasons to keep cooking. 


For a moment, consider a grazing cow, enjoying fields of lush grasses and other ground plants. Cows are ruminants – a group of mammals named for their possession of a Rumen – the largest of the four compartments of their massive stomachs. Ruminant digestion is slow and fermentation based – the cow will eat up tons and tons of grass and store it in the rumen until later, when it will regurgitate and chew the fermenting grass as cud. Pretty gross for a recipe show, so I’ll get to my point. Humans do not have this digestive process at all! While we do have complex microbial gut biomes that utilize bacteria for partial digestion, human stomachs largely digest through acidic break down. Healthy human stomach acid has a pH between 1 and 2, making it more akin to battery acid than water. Strong stuff…but so is the cellulose of leafy greens! 


Kale and collards are very fibrous. While fiber can be an important part of a balanced diet, human digestive systems are not capable of actually breaking it down – this is why you subtract grams of fibers from total carbohydrates to figure out the net grams. Unlike sugar and starches, fiber passes through the system molecularly intact. Cooking them helps to break down the cell walls of the plant and make the nutrients a lot more bioavailable and the food easier to digest. This isn’t to suggest that raw greens are bad for you – but if you have a leaden stomach after a whole bowl of them, there’s no shame in going back to the stove. 


You can make this recipe with either kale or collards, though kale will take a lot less time. 


You’ll need

A large pot

1 bag or 2 bunches of collards or kale (enough to fill your large pot)

2 slices of bacon

½  a small onion, sliced

Balsamic or Apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Over Medium High heat, cook the bacon until crisp.
  2. Add your onion and collards to the bacon and grease and lightly saute with a splash of vinegar. 
  3. Add a quarter cup of water and lower to medium heat. Cover and cook down, stirring every several minutes. 
  4. Cook until the greens are soft (10 minutes for kale, 30-40 for collards)  and enjoy with some feta or goat cheese!

This recipe and all of my recipes are online at alleghenymountainradio.org. Please send pictures and reviews to sage@amrmail.org. For AMR this is Recipe Roundup.


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