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Old 12-10-2011, 02:39 PM   #1
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Question Preventing odors

Has anyone ever heard of using a whole pecan to prevent odors when cooking collards? I heard this mentioned, but it wasn't indicated whether it was shelled or unshelled. I supposed I could try both...

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Old 12-10-2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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The story is that it's unshelled and that you use more than one. Never tried it. I never thought there was a bad odor. Others say one unshelled, placed in the pot before heating. Another says you can do that, or you can cover the greens with slices of bread, but they say neither works.
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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I hear people talk about collards smelling bad but never really understood it. Then again I put bacon and onions in mine. Is it the collard greens or the ham hocks that smell bad?
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:39 PM   #4
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Cabbage, collards, and kale are all commercial cultivars of wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea. The list of volatile oils in cabbage includes hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and a whole laundry list of similar stinky compounds. Dimethyl sulfide is particularly potent, even at low concentrations, and is known in chemical practice as one of the foulest odors in organic chemistry. And we know hydrogen sulfide as the rotten egg smelling component of lethal sour gas.

But human appreciation of odors is a funny thing. Some odors are always bad. Others are generally considered bad, but that affect can be overcome when the odor is associated with a pleasant nostalgic memory. Many people with happy memories of southern childhoods find the smell of cooking collards to be a happy smell.

But they are strong odors. And I doubt very much that a few pecan shells or a bit of vinegar alters the chemistry. But it's not unlikely that vinegar masks the odors. A bowl of vinegar set out in the kitchen is often recommended to counter all sorts of cooking odors.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:25 AM   #5
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Cabbage smells are channel no 5 compare to my dogs botty coughsClick image for larger version

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Old 12-11-2011, 06:44 AM   #6
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Collards are one green I never developed a taste for. But I do like cruciferous vegetables in general and they can smell. AND I do not have an exhaust fan in my kitchen. I've never heard of the pecan shell thing. I do know that cleaning up immediately (and I'm not a clean freak) and spraying with an "odor neutralizer" type spray (NOT perfumed) can help. Nothing like old-fashioned elbow grease.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:20 AM   #7
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I cook a lot of kale because it grows well in the garden. Collards are, however, something I don't really like, so I don't grow that. I have never noticed a lingering odor after cooking kale...and I have a very sensitive nose. We were at Walmart the other day, trying to find the "tire" department. I sniffed and said, "it's that way." We got 1/2 there, and I said, "yup, this is the right direction--I smell the tires." The DH gave me this odd look and said "you have a really good nose--I can't smell anything!"
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