A whole new world of greens has opened up to me recently. I’m ashamed to say that even though I’m technically a “Southerner” now, until recently, I had never even tried collard greens. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved vegetables. As far as I’m concerned, they are truly a winning combination of healthy and delicious. I was just unfamiliar with many varieties, and therefore, wasn’t sure how to cook them. However, I’ve been expanding my vegetable palate and cooking abilities by branching out with a few new greens.
For the first time, I’m now growing collards, Swiss chard, and bok choy. Also making an appearance in the greenhouse is kale, arugula, and lettuce. Sadly, my spinach did not make it. I assume the spinach all wilted because it disliked the Texas heat. I can’t blame it.
If you like greens, too, I would definitely recommend collard greens and bok choy, because they were easy and grew quickly. I’m planning to try turnip greens this fall, so we’ll see how that goes.
Anyway, now that I’m harvesting these new greens, I, of course, had to ask myself: Uh, how do I cook these leafy things? I’m not above typing: “how to cook collards” into my Google search bar.
The first recipe I tried was for a quick way of stir-frying chopped collards with olive oil and garlic. Although I very much like using this technique with Swiss chard and kale, I did not think it was a tasty way of cooking collard greens. Not to be deterred, I tried a different recipe named none other than: “The Best Southern Collard Greens Ever!” This one was a winner. It turns out that boiling collards in chicken broth, spices, onions, garlic, and bacon is delicious. (I used beef bacon instead of the smoked turkey the recipe called for, but I’m sure either way would be fantastic.)
Bok choy I add to my stir frys. Lettuce, obviously, I use for salads. I usually add a little kale and arugula to the salad as well. Homegrown arugula is some powerful stuff. Think super strong radish flavor in a leaf. I’m also getting green onions and asparagus this time of year. It’s wonderful to have all these homegrown greens to choose from! I will enjoy it while it lasts, because I know that too much more of this unrelenting Texas sun (it’s already been in the 90s here) and bye-bye greens.
I’m still waiting for my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and squash to show themselves. The plants are certainly big enough now. The question is: Will I still have lettuce by the time my tomatoes and cucumbers are ready? Time will tell, I suppose.