Collard Greens:

I received a letter yesterday asking about ‘Collards’, pictured above.

Andrew from Prahran in Victoria asked:

“What are they? I found a nice recipe from Southern USA and wondered if I could replace them with other greens since I have not seen them in the shops here in Australia?”

My answer:

“Hi Andrew. Collards, also called collard greens, are various loose-leafed cultivars of the cabbage plant. The plant is grown for its large, dark-coloured, edible leaves and as a garden ornamental, mainly in Brazil, Portugal, the Southern United States, many parts of Africa, Montenegro, Spain and in Kashmir as well. They are classified in the same cultivar group as kale and spring greens, to which they are extremely similar genetically.

The Cultivar Group name Acephala (“without a head” in Greek) refers to the fact that this kind of cabbage does not have the usual close-knit core of leaves (“head”) of regular cabbage. Collard leaves are rich in calcium, and as you have noted, are a staple of southern USA cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard leaves in “mixed greens”. So there is ample scope for replacement.

I also have not seen them commercially available in the shops in Australia, so I would say that silverbeet or in fact any green leafy vegetable would be very appropriate as a substitute. I would suggest spinach, silverbeet, turnip leaves, radish leaves, beetroot leaves, mustard greens, bok choy leaves, choy sum leaves, or kale if you can find it. These would all be suitable replacements, and you can easily just use a mixture of whatever is available.”
Posted by Kurma on 23/12/06; 9:32:29 AM

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