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Old 05-08-2012, 04:00 PM   #1
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How to properly cut & cook kale, collards, mustard greens, chard w/most nutrients?

I am confused on this.One site says one thing & the other tells you opposite.I read these greens are tough,hard to fully digest raw.And to get the potential nutrition these greens hold,they must be cooked or juiced.And they must be cut a certain way to get the most nutrients before cooking them.Some said before,after,before & after.Then I read your suppose to cover with lid,then another said not to.
Anyone really know the best way?Am I suppose to run cold water over them immediately after their done cooking?
Most recipes I seen are very fating & are overcooked(4+ hrs)

Here is something I cam up with that I would like to make together.
Kale,collard,mustard greens,turnip,& swiss chard.
Yellow or white onion,mushroom,Serrano or red bell or ground cayenne pepper.Might add peppers raw after greens are cooked idk.
Salt,pepper,fresh garlic,cumin?,thyme?
Radish-raw,shredded fine & added after the above is cooked.

I think ill make 1/4 to 1/2 bundle of each green & a full turnip.
1/2 to whole onion,handfull mushrooms,4-5 serranos,pinch of salt & pepper,& 3 cloves garlic.I'm just guessing how much.

Thanks to all who can help me out on this.Love this site!


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Old 05-08-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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Kale and collards have tough stems and most folk remove them before cooking. Young collards take about 20 min to cook, kale less time. Chard like spinach cooks quickly, and the stalks are edible but take longer. TUrnip greens mustards dandelions etc depemnd on age and "strength" give a nibble, if very pungent either blanche first or go for a long slow simmer.

All of these greens are wonderful and can be cooked slowly in a broth or in many cases given a quick saute. If old, blanche first.

garlic, chili flake, pork/bacon, white wine, onion, chicken broth are all natural accompaniments to these greens.

versatile as a side, in a stew or soup, in salads, quiche, etc.

If young and tender (as they are being sold around here) 20-30 min is plenty for a simmer. Older tough gnarly greens may take 2 to 3 time longer, depending on taste.

the cooking liquid is very healthy so have something to soak it up or plan to use it in a soup or stew later.

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Old 05-08-2012, 08:48 PM   #3
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Last year I mostly cooked what was growing well in my lasagna garden.(layered garden of compost/mulch/soil/compost/mulch etc)

Chard--I chop the stems first and cook them with the chopped onions, adding the leaves later.
Beet greens--add those in.
Radishes are excellent cooked, either sliced or whole.

I like greens with a tiny bit of ham or bacon, a little chopped onions, broth, S&P and serve with cornbread or anything to sop up the juices.

My chard is coming up from last year already--enough for a meal this week. There might be some radishes coming up too, I let them go to seed, so I guess I'll find out.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:38 PM   #4
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greens are the ONLY vegetables that i purposefully cook to death. i mean my collards, kale or turnip greens literally get to bubble away endlessly for hours atop the stove without my once checking the time, just giving an occasional stir, taste, or adding a bit of liquid if needed. i LOVE the taste of greens--any and all kinds, and they are also the only vegetable i never feel the need to "enhance' with seasonings other than salt and pepper. simple, simple--some sort of fatty ham like pork jowls or salt pork, and that's IT! no garlic, no onions, no mushrooms...i know! save them for everything else. :) as i know you've heard before, greens make their own special likkur. it's true, too. never has there been an easier, more rewarding vegetable to make than a boiled-forever pot of greens, yum....
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:03 AM   #5
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Thanks guys!I think the only way ill get young ones is growing my own,ones at the store are pretty big.I think I will do a blanche.Will remove & save stem/stalks.Leaving greens whole or chop inch by inch.I read using 30grams of salt per litre water will help the nutrients stay in the greens & adds a lil flavor.Of course it depends how long their cooked aswell.Then once their done.I will put them in a bowl of ice cold water for a min & set aside on a plate.

Will saute garlic,& mushrooms.Then cutup the Serranos,onion,& radish.Adding them to the greens raw.My mouth is watering now thinking about it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:51 AM   #6
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Recently on one of the Canadian daytime shows, it was recommended to either steam or stir fry kale to retain the nutrients (steam for 4-5 minutes, a little bit longer for stir frying). Supposedly cooking in water and cooking to death results in more nutrients lost. I like to stir fry mine and do take the ribs out. I also take the ribs out of chard and treat it as if they were celery by chopping an adding to stock, etc. I grind the kale ribs for the dogs and the girls. They love kale.

Caveat: the kale and chard I cook comes from the garden. I actually make a chard salad (similar to spinach) with the small leaves in the early summer. I didn't like kale until we bought from the supermarket, it was tough and bitter. In Denmark and N. Germany, tossing kale in the freezer for about 30 minutes before prepping is common. This brings out the sweetness. Definitely, the kale improves re: sweetness after a mid-to hard frost and the kale that comes up the 2nd year (if it manages to overwinter here), the leaves a so tender and sweet. Which reminds me, I saw s/one picking asparagus today...better go check the patch!
I've got OCD--Obsessive Chicken Disorder!
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:05 PM   #7
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My only advice - & with respectful apologies to those who do - is DO NOT COOK THEM TO DEATH. As with ALL vegetables - cooking them to a slimy mushy grey mass is not only unappetizing, but DOES remove any remote nutrients from the greens (outside of what leaches out of the ham hock). So if you enjoy cooking them that way, be sure to drink all that "pot likker", because that's the only nutritious part left. Sad.

The most nutritious way to enjoy cooking greens is to cook them to the "just tender" stage.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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my very first taste of greens, and then many other subsequent tastes of them, were prepared by elderly black ladies who introduced me also to chitterlings, and other wonderful things....i guess i've never looked to greens for their nutritional qualities so much (after all, i have women's centrum for that) but for the taste and texture and unbelievable satiation i get from greens cooked-to-death in the most wrongest of ways....
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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How you enjoy them definitely falls under "personal taste" - a dictum that applies to anything food-related. But if you do enjoy well-done greens & are interested in nutrition, definitely enjoy the "pot-likker" as well.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:33 AM   #10
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Back to the original question. No cutting technique will change the nutritional end result. As with any leafy vegetable, the plant itself will retain more nutrients when steamed than when boiled, but I think it's probably true that anyone who enjoys cooked greens is probably getting plenty of nutrients from their foods.

I would wager that most of the field greens (collard, kale, mustard, etc.) eaten in the world is eaten as soup, or at least with the cooking liquid, even if it's not thought of as soup, so longer cooking is the norm. You'll see warnings about some, like collards, taking on a sulphurous odor when cooked too long, but I guess I've apparent never cooked them that long. I boil them in stock with dried hot pepper until tender, which takes a while with the typical mature grocery store greens and a shorter time with my own picked young, and add cooked bacon at the end.

But they do nicely sauteed. An interesting use is to saute for a bit and then clump the greens into mounds and set a rolled fillet of mild white fish on end in each mound and put the lid on to steam the fish.

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