Saturday, June 21, 2008


Lisa asked for the Italian recipe for collards and wrote, "I like to saute them with onions, garlic, ginger and then add some chopped tomatoes and a little coconut milk- YUM!!"
It was my garbage man who told me he raised collards in East Orange; I had always thought of them as being a Southern crop. However, they thrive in our ecosystem. At first I cooked them with ham ends, which we liked, but then we became vegetarians.
The old Italian recipe, according to more than one open garden visitors, is to brown chopped walnuts slightly in olive oil, stir in washed chopped collards until they droop, turn down the heat, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top (cheddar will do), and cover for a minute or two. Then serve over brown rice. We happily eat this every three days spring and fall.
I'm going to a series of potlucks this week, and finding it is a hit.
Collards usually volunteer in my garden, but if they don't in yours, you can start them from seed from August to October. They grow well until the holidays, at which point I used to think they died. One year I was negligent and didn't pull them out. They began growing again in March! We eat them again from March into June. They reappear earlier if I cover them in the winter with floating cover.
They are VERY easy to grow, and it seems that woodchucks don't like them. They are delicious when the standard NJ crops aren't available. They don't like frosts below 20 degrees, but we have months when the temperatures are above that but get below freezing. Furthermore, the summer crops take a while to get started after the frosts are gone, and collards are great during that time.
In this food-price-soaring days, I highly recommend collards!

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