A Thorough Soak Is The First Step To Cleaning Collard Greens

Fresh collard greens are the easiest way to cook down and customize your Southern-style collard greens recipe. This plant is a member of the Brassica oleracea family, more commonly known as the mustard family, which features vegetables that are typically leafy, earthy, and more hardy than others. Because collard greens grow closer to the earth, they can potentially harbor more grit, bugs, and dirt. Washing fresh collard greens is an important step to get the best flavor from your vegetable and make it safe to eat.

One of the easiest ways to begin the washing process for collard greens is to thoroughly soak the leaves in cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will loosen any dirt clinging to the leaves and remove any bugs that may be hiding. After soaking your leaves, you'll give each one an additional rinse under running water to properly inspect and ensure the collard greens are actually clean. You can also include salt or vinegar in your cold water soak to further remove any impurities. A tablespoon of either will help remove bacteria from the plant. After your leaves have been soaked and rinsed, gently dry them with a paper towel. Then, before you begin cooking collard greens, cut off the tough, hard-to-eat steam at the bottom.

How to store collard greens

It's best practice to wait to wash collard greens till you are ready to cook with them. If you wash them before, the excess moisture can cause them to spoil quickly. When you bring home your collard greens, store your unwashed leaves in lightly moistened paper towels and place them in a ziploc bag till you're ready to use. After washing your greens, you should aim to use your refrigerated collard greens within one week

You can also freeze collard greens to store them for longer. If you wish to store frozen collard greens, you first need to blanch them. Blanching refers to quickly cooking a vegetable for a few minutes and then immediately placing it in ice water to stop the cooking. This will give you the best texture and product for when you use your frozen collards. After blanching, let your collards cool completely before placing them in a ziploc bag and storing them in the freezer. Frozen collard greens are good for up to one year.