FoodLink - Purdue Extension

collard greens

Brassica oleracea
Other Name(s): tree cabbage, nonheading cabbage
Available from April to June


This video shows you how to cut collard greens.

Collards contain a lot of water, so they will shrink down when you cook them.

To prepare collards, first wash them in a bowl of cold water with a dash of salt. The abrasivnees of the salt will help remove some of the dirt. Gently scrub the leaves with your hands, and then rinse the leaves in cold running water to remove excess dirt.

Next, remove the leaves from the stem. Holding the stem with one hand, pull down the end of the stem with the other hand to separate the leaf from the stem. Another way is to lay the leaves on cutting board, and cut along the stem on each side of the leaf to separate the leaves from the stems.

Sauté: Stack stemless leaves on top of each other and cut the stack into 1 inch squares. Sauté the greens in one tablespoon of olive oil with onions and garlic to taste. Finish with salt and a chopped tomato to taste. Collard greens are delicious when just cooked and still tender; however, they are even better if slow cooked until they become soft.  

Slow Cook: Take chopped, stemless greens and put in a slow cooker with other meal ingredients. If stewing them in salted water, the liquid left in the pot after removing the greens is referred to as “pot liquor” and can be added to a soup or sauce or even served with the greens.

Steam: Add 1 cup of cold water to a saucepan, then place collard leaves in the pan and bring the water to a boil. Add a dash of salt, cover, and boil. Turn down heat and cook just until the leaves are tender and wilted. Next, drain the leaves in a collander, slice them, and toss in a dressing, or olive oil and parmesan cheese to taste.

Microwave: Collards can be microwaved. Place collards and 1/4 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt, oil, or other seasonings to taste before serving.

Chopped collards are a great addition to beans, soups, stews.  A bed of stewed collard greens is wonderful with ham or pork.

Seared: Clean greens as above, dry and tear into salad pieces.  In a skillet sauté 1-2 cloves of garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the greens and 1 cup of water, cover and steam for 4 minutes.  Remove lid and continually stir until the greens shrink.  Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to stir on high heat until greens are all coated.  Sprinkle cider vinegar to taste on greens and cover, remove from heat and serve.


Short-Term Storage

Collards can be stored in a clean plastic bag in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Long-Term Storage

Cooked collards (see preparation above) can be frozen in plastic freezer bags for up to 4 to 6 months. Fresh collards can also be frozen.

Learn more about freezing greens.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Quick Fact

Collard greens are a member of the cabbage family. They grow as a loose bouquet instead of in a tight head like other cabbages. 

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 Cup Chopped







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 84 mg



6 mg











Vitamin A

 90 ug


Vitamin C

 13 mg








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

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