Collard Greens


You would have never found collard greens in one of my Mary Mac’s side bowls when I was a kid. I thought that they were the grossest things until I left the South for college in New York. Strange how these things happen, I didn’t actually become “Southern” until I left Atlanta. 


I love collard greens now, but I have to admit, they are a process to make. They are dirty gritty greens and need at least 7 changes of water and some serious scrubbing to get all of that grit out. My mother has said that she has put them in the washing machine, but I fear finding green bits in my underpants. I heard an interview with Aretha Franklin who has a similar strategy and uses a little bit of powdered laundry detergent, I assume that she rinses all of that out because that could really do a number on your intestines.

I will often buy them already cleaned and just skip over the cleaning process. 


Collard Greens adapted from The Blue Willow Inn – Bible of Southern Cooking

  • 1 bunch fresh collard greens
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces fatback or ham hock*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 quart water

Pull the leaves of the collards from the stems. Discard the stems (small stems may be cooked with the leaves). Coarsely chop or tear the collards. Wash thoroughly in cold water and drain. In a large saucepan combine the collard greens, bacon grease, sugar, fatback or ham hock, salt, pepper, baking soda, and water. Bring to a boil. Cook at a slow boil for 2 hours or until tender. 

*Considering the fact that I am a Southerner raised by two Yankees, I don’t really know what fatback or ham hocks are. I used a few slabs of bacon chopped up into small pieces. You can also skip the bacon and its grease for vegetarian collards. 


~ by italicious on April 3, 2009.

5 Responses to “Collard Greens”

  1. Funny, as a real Southerner, born and raised in Atlanta and closer to those roots in the many years I’ve been away, after having copied this recipe from the Blue Willow Inn cookbook, I’ve never repeated it. I tend to stick with simple these days, a little pig fat and some onions, but I do appreciate your comments.

  2. Ok, this is a nice dish but no where near real “greens”. Firstly, you do not put sugar into collard greens, southern people take this shortcut when they do not know how to season. This is a real “greens recipe”.

    1 bundle of Colards
    1 bundle of mustard greens
    2 Pork hammocks
    1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
    3 tablespoons of garlic powder
    2 teaspoons of onion powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
    1 tablespoon of bacon grease
    And salt to taste.

    Make sure you remove the stems from your greens before cooking them or they will be bitter!

  3. Yummo!! That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! I could eat ’em and eat ’em. I don’t think you need to cook them to death however. 2 hours may be a bit on the longish side for me. And when you cook a big batch and have them again the following day, they are not obliterated either. Good eating everyone!!

  4. Thanks Rhita! I’ve thought about a cookbook, but need to come up with more original recipes that aren’t pasta, I so appreciate the encouragement.

  5. Ginny – I love your comments, your recipes, your pictures, and all you have to say. When is the cookbook coming out??

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