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FRIDAY ROOKIE TOPIC: COLLARDS

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Post  walshevak 8/24/2012, 12:12 am

Jambo The subject today is Sukuma Wiki. That’s Swahili for Hello and collards, a brassica that I have personally seen in Africa, Asia, and Brazil. Known as a dish popular in the Southern USA, collards have been increasing in popularity in other areas especially because of their high nutrition value.

Being a Southern lady, I have always had collards in my diet. Ok, so they were cooked to death in a pot of boiling water with fat back or seasoning meat. They have always been a staple in my family’s gardens. Although listed as a cool weather crop, I consider collards to be an all season veggie. Only a hard freeze will kill it. It withstands early spring frosts, hot summer weather and fairly heavy fall frosts. The summer collard is tougher and takes a bit more cooking than the spring and fall collard BUT it beats not have any leafy greenery during the summer. The fall collard is actually the tastiest as a light frost “sweetens” the flavor. Cooking can be simple as well. Remove the tough stalks, cut the leaves into ribbons, cook in a small amount of water and serve with vinegar (especially hot pepper vinegar - receipe at the end} NOTE: like cabbage, collards have a distinctive odor when cooking. My dad used to say he could see the buzzards circling the house and would know collards were on the menu. Razz

There are several popular varieties out there but Vates is my personal favorite. Don’t ask me why , they just are. Start collard seed inside early and transplant a few weeks BEFORE the last frost; 1 per square. Harvest cropped leaves in late spring, and keep plants growing into late fall when the entire plant can be harvested as your new fall crop matures. For the fall/winter crop, seed direct about August 15, or transplant from September 1 to 15, and harvest in late October to December . Only a hard freeze will kill these plants and even then I’ve seen them look terrible and suddenly start putting up greenery in the early spring. So these plants are worth a try with a hoop house. Fall planted collards will bolt the following spring when the weather gets hot and taste terrible. These dates are for North Carolina zones 7 and 8 so you may need to adjust if farther north.

Usually, only the lower leaves of collards are harvested. This allows the plant to keep growing and producing more leaves. In mild regions, and coastal areas, collards continue to produce all winter. Collards can stand temperatures of 20 degrees F or less in some cases. They taste sweeter after a light frost.


Be prepared to protect your collards from the infamous cabbage moth. Several worms (imported cabbage worm, cabbage looper, diamondback larvae) and Harlequin bugs are the predominant insects. A rigid control program will be necessary, especially during summer and fall. Aphids are also a serious problem during cool weather. Since there is no issue of flowers for pollination, I use a tulle covering at all times as well as BT and Neem. But even lightly eaten leave are still good for cooking. It just take a few more of them. Laughing

This is one of the best sites I’ve seen on collards.
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/collards.cfm

Collards are one of the most nutritious vegetables. They are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and low in calories. To prevent loss of nutrients, do not cook collards in too much water. (like the ole time southerners did)

This site has comprehensive dietary information and some receipes. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138

FRIDAY ROOKIE TOPIC:  COLLARDS Collar10
As you harvest collard leaves from the bottom up, the lower stem will be bare, making the plant look tree-like. New leaves grow from the center through cool weather.
FRIDAY ROOKIE TOPIC:  COLLARDS Collar11
Filling in around collards with other plants—such as the onions, flowers, and herbs in this raised bed—helps keep a bed or container looking fresh as you harvest the bottom leaves


HOT PEPPER VINEGAR LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER TAUGHT ME
Pick, wash and cap any of your favorite hot peppers, from green to ripened. (I happen to like cayenne, but any pepper or mix of peppers is great depending on desired heat factor)
Pack tightly into a canning jar of any size
Bring sufficient vinegar to cover the peppers to a boil
Pour over the peppers and seal. Let stand for at least a week.
When the vinegar is almost gone, a second vinegar boiling can be added

.


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Post  cheyannarach 8/24/2012, 12:37 am

Thanks for the awesome Rookie topic Kay! I am certainly going to try some collards next year!
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Post  southern gardener 8/24/2012, 2:17 am

perfect timing for this topic! Just started some in 6 packs to set out when fall gets here. Plant on trying them in smoothies, anyone ever done it?
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Post  RoOsTeR 8/24/2012, 9:02 pm

Wonderful rookie topic Kay! I wish I would have planted collards this year. You made them sound so good in your topic tongue I love em with salt pork, beans and hot vinegar.
Thanks for taking the time to put together an outstanding rookie topic for us Kay. Sorry I totally missed you posting it or I would have gotten it sticky'd earlier...
Collards are going on my list for spring! FRIDAY ROOKIE TOPIC:  COLLARDS 3170584802

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Post  walshevak 8/24/2012, 9:54 pm

Rooster,

If you can get some starts you can probably get some this year before you get the hard winter weather. Remember, they taste better after a frost and can survive down to 20* especially with a little hoop house help. Collards for Thanksgiving??????

Kay

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Post  RoOsTeR 8/24/2012, 10:06 pm

Hmm, I'll look around at a couple places. I know the garden center I usually go to doesn't do any fall veggie type starts. Wonder if I would have enough time with seed thinking

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Post  Windsor.Parker 8/25/2012, 8:30 am

walshevak wrote:
HOT PEPPER VINEGAR LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER TAUGHT ME
Pick, wash and cap any of your favorite hot peppers, from green to ripened. (I happen to like cayenne, but any pepper or mix of peppers is great depending on desired heat factor)
Pack tightly into a canning jar of any size
Bring sufficient vinegar to cover the peppers to a boil
Pour over the peppers and seal. Let stand for at least a week.
When the vinegar is almost gone, a second vinegar boiling can be added
Thanks Kay! Great topic, and a recipe that I'll surely use. We raise collards each year and ours are doing okay despite unavoidable shading. The bugs are eating on 'em so they need some spraying or protection. Hopefully we can keep them going 'til/thru first frost.
My brother's collards overwintered (in Chicago cheers ) and they're HUGE now!
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Post  RoOsTeR 8/25/2012, 10:04 am

HOT PEPPER VINEGAR LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER TAUGHT ME
Pick, wash and cap any of your favorite hot peppers, from green to ripened. (I happen to like cayenne, but any pepper or mix of peppers is great depending on desired heat factor)
Pack tightly into a canning jar of any size
Bring sufficient vinegar to cover the peppers to a boil
Pour over the peppers and seal. Let stand for at least a week.
When the vinegar is almost gone, a second vinegar boiling can be added

I grew (or tried to grow rather Razz ) tabasco peppers this year just to make hot vinegar...the peppers aren't doing squat!

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Post  CapeCoddess 8/25/2012, 8:08 pm

My mother was just saying that the collards look so bad right now due to bugs, that it's bad feng shui so she wants to pull them out.

I think I'll try some tulle and see if I can revive them. I was able to eat them all thru the winter last year as it was so mild up here, and in spring they continued to grow for a while be for bolting.

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Post  walshevak 8/26/2012, 12:51 am

As long as there is still growth in the center, you can revive them. If they are really badly bug eaten and you really need to get it under control immediately, this might be a time for Sevin Dust. Completely cover the collards especially in the center and then cover them with tulle to protect from more cabbage moths and other things and also to protect the bees from the Sevin. In about a month you should have some good center growth. After you get the new growth, you can trim off some of the badly bug eaten leaves to pretty up the plants and not have Sevin treated leaves in your cooking pot. I expect that's what I'll have to do when I return home as my collards have been under tulle but not watched out for. Although I did dust them with DE just before I left.

Kay

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Post  plantoid 8/26/2012, 5:06 pm

I like this collard thread ... ever since I've joined the site I was trying to envisage what a collard really looked like ...... seeing the picture in the thread convinces me it is what we used to eat in the 1950's ....I know them as a form of kale that was used as cattle feed in winter because it was so hardy and for paupers like our family it was a brill source of greens and vitamins . I'm drooling over the keyboard at the recollection of the delicious bitter taste of them with lamb shank and home made mint sauce & thick dark gravy etc.

I'd love a few seeds for I can't seem locate any in the UK as it is no longer fashionable to feed overwintering cattle anything but formulated commercially made feeds , hay and sugar beet pulp.
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Post  walshevak 8/26/2012, 6:32 pm

Dang, wish I had some seed with me. I'll be in Heathrow Airport on Sep 10 and could drop them in the post. I'll check and see if the local seed racks here in Kenya have any.

I know what you mean about winter hardy greens for us poor folks. My father's family ate a lot of collards in the winter, along with turnips. They were farmers and had big home garden plots near the house for winter. My mom's family were city folk and even my folks moved to the big city when I was six. Last veggie garden I remember my dad planting was in 1953 in Independence, MO. And the first I remember planting myself was in 1975. I still had him for a few years worth of advice. Gardening is a great antidepressant when dealing with .........

Kay

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Post  llama momma 8/26/2012, 7:43 pm

As a former Long Island, NY raised gal I never had collards in my life. My garden center carries the transplants but I passed them up again this year. My question is what do they taste like?? Maybe stronger tasting than chard? Or similar to spinach?
I haven't a clue.
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Post  walshevak 8/26/2012, 7:59 pm

Definately not like spinach. More like a kale or a broccoli leaf. To be real honest, I don't like the taste of plain collards, but then I was raised on collards cooked with salt pork or ham hocks. They have to have some sort of seasoning or vinegar to give them "MY" flavor. Experiment, 3 collard plants will provide a meal after they get good sized. Cut hand sized leaves. Cook them up in salty water and then add various seasonings until you find "your" collard flavor. I'm thinking they will make chips like kale chips as well.

Kay

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Post  llama momma 8/26/2012, 8:02 pm

That description gives me a good idea Kay, Thanks!
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Post  walshevak 8/26/2012, 8:15 pm

Does your local supermarket have collard bunches for sale. If so, get some and try them. Although these would not be as good as the tender leaves fresh from your garden. If the leaves are older and a bit tough after cooking , cut into a fine cole slaw like consistancy. That is how we always fixed summer collards that are stronger and tougher than early spring and fall frost bitten collards. The cooked leaves were put into a bowl and then my Grandmother would take two butcher knives and cross cut the leaves until finely chopped.

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Post  llama momma 8/26/2012, 8:17 pm

Good idea, I will give it a try Smile
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Post  Judy McConnell 3/9/2017, 9:59 am

I'm bringing this topic back to today because my collard plants are beginning to bud.

Imagine that the buds can be eaten along with the leaves -- but!!  What will happen after I remove the flowering heads, will the plants continue to make leaves OR will they try to flower again.

Realize that the leaves will be bitter now, even tho they overwintered in our very mild winter - lots of vinegar should help.  Right??
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Post  RC3291 3/9/2017, 10:51 am

My collards are probably the best growing crop I have in my new bed. Started them indoors about the middle of January and transplanted them  the first of February. Seem to grow daily while my lettuce and chard are struggling.
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Post  Mikesgardn 3/9/2017, 4:18 pm

If you are going to grow collards as a fall crop, why is it recommended to start them indoors?   I have always bought transplants in September, but I would like to try direct seeding them in July.
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/9/2017, 4:48 pm

I started collard seeds indoors last weekend.  They are about an inch tall now and I just thinned them this morning.  They will go out into the garden, under a netting tunnel, in about a month or less, where they will grow until next winter.  I pick the leaves young and tender so I grow a lot of them.  I have 12 growing at the moment but there will be more.

Judy, I let my 2nd year plants go to seed so I can save them.  I've tried cutting them back to extend the harvest but they don't do well.  Not like a new 1st yr plant.  Not enough leaves as they keep wanting to bolt instead.

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Post  Judy McConnell 3/10/2017, 9:05 am

Thanks, CC - this is what I needed - 2nd yr plants won't grow well so I'll let the plants go to seed and start new ones.
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