Move over Kale, the new green on menus is collard greens. Collard greens are loaded with vitamins A and K, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and fibre. The plants are grown for their large, dark-coloured, edible leaves and as a garden ornamental, mainly in Brazil, Portugal and the southern United States.
They are heat tolerant so a good substitute for kale and cabbage in cooking. Collard greens are also highly recommended because of their high vitamin and fibre content.
A popular recipe comes from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil for Garlic Collard Greens which are a traditional accompaniment to the classic Brazilian dish feijoada, but they go with almost any meal.
Collard is also very easy to grow so add them to your veggie garden. It is compatible with (can grow in same bed) as dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, and aromatic herbs such as sage, dill and chamomile. Avoid growing in the same bed as climbing beans, tomato, peppers, eggplant, strawberry and mustard.
For best flavour and texture, leaves should be picked before they reach their maximum size.
Culinary hints for cooking and eating collards: Slice and steam or use in a stir-fry.
To make the Brazilian dish, couve a mineira, all you will need is a bunch of collard, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and some salt to season. Thinly slice the collard and fry in garlic and olive oil until just tender. Delicious as a side dish or on its own.