Collards are inexpensive and a very healthy food
This bag of two heads of collards was $1.77 plus 10%
So lets get started by scrubbing the sink really good. It takes me about half hour to prepare the collards for cooking. Real food takes time to prepare and many people take the easy way out these days and buy packaged processed food but my husband and I try to eat fresh and do the work ourselves.
Fresh greens are often sandy so I wash them good or there will be grit in the greens. I place the collards in the sink and pop off the leaves one at a time.
There is a thick stem that runs all the way through the leaf and to me it tastes bitter when cooked. Some people just wash and cut up collards and add sugar to cut the bitter but we try and stay away from sugar.
Fold the backside of the leaf like this
and pull the stem away from the leaf
It will look like this when de-stimmed
Place them in the other side of the sink
Continue removing the stems
The stems will not go to waste because I will compost them to make new soil to grow vegetables. Some of them will go to the bunnies to eat. The bunnies prefer the leaves and I give them some of the leaves too and then they will nibble on the stems off and on throughout the day.
Put the collards in the sink and fill the sink with water and add a few tablespoons of regular salt. Should there be any bugs on the leaves the saltwater will help to make them release from the leaves.
Wash them good by swishing them around with both hands, my other hand was taking the picture.
Now go back and forth, washing putting them in the other side then back to the other. Keep doing this until they are very clean.
After removing from the water you can feel the bottom of the sink for grit and if there is still grit keep washing.
Just before the last wash I tear the leaves to smaller pieces. Some people roll and cut the leaves. It is all in what you like.
Now the double batch of collards has been cleaned and torn and are ready to cook or....
Put in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
I add olive oil to the bottom of the pan, some people add bacon grease and such and you can just add water.
I turn my stove on to medium heat
Add a few collards at a time and let them cook down before adding more. I don't add any water at first because there is moisture in the leaves and from washing the collards. But I do add about a half a cup of water when I have about half the collards in the pot. Some people add a lot of water so the collards make what people call pot liquor. They eat this with cornbread. Since I am getting older I try and keep the nutrients in the food so I add less water during cooking.
After you get all the collards in the pot add a little salt and pepper if you add salt to your food. Turn down the heat a lttle more (not up), put a lid on the pot and cook the collards for about 5 minutes then taste them. If they are bitter then you can add about a tablespoon of maple syrup or sugar. If you have removed the stems then most likely they will not be bitter but sometimes they are. I did not have to use the maple syrup with these collards.
After cooking them for a total of 10 to 15 minutes taste them to see if they are done.
I hope this helps you if you did not know how to cook collards.