By Charley Lollis
As you take a seat around the dinner table this holiday season, some things may be a little different but, there will also be many things that remain the same. One thing that will remain constant is the smell of good cooking in the kitchen. For many rural Georgia homes, that smell will include fresh greens boiling on the stove.
These greens don’t only help add color to your plate, but they fuel you with many beneficial nutrients you need throughout this holiday season. Leafy greens are high in fiber, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. We can use a little help with reducing both those this time of year, right? Leafy greens are very versatile in the kitchen and can be added to many different recipes, making them a great addition to the recipes
Greens aren’t only versatile in the kitchen, but outside, they are also able to withstand heat, drought, and light freezes in the field, making them a perfect crop for south Georgia. Leafy greens are all around rural Georgia, with thousands of acres of cabbage, collards, and kale spread across the state. Moultrie, Georgia, houses a significant amount of the state's cabbage production with their peak season starting in December. Below, you can see the many counties where these leafy greens are available.
When buying leafy greens, always look for vibrant dark green leaves that are crisp and full. There are many different varieties of collards in the state with some of the most popular ones being the blue max, champion, and top bunch. When you begin the preparation process, it is very important that you make sure to wash your collard greens well. You can do this by dunking and swishing them in cold water and changing the water until you no longer see dirt or sand.
Once you’ve sourced your Georgia Grown leafy greens, many recipes will achieve that soul-food smell in your kitchen. One of our favorites is a five-step stove-top collard green recipe:
2 bunches of Georgia Grown collard greens, washed
3 strips of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
Salt and pepper as preferred
Cook bacon over medium heat until brown; in the same pan, add onions and sauté.
Strip the leaves from the collards' stems, stack the leaves, roll them up, and then cut them into thin strips.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to the skillet.
Stir in the greens and cover the skillet for 15 minutes. Stirring again halfway through.
You will know the collards are done when they are tender and no longer have a bitter taste. Remove from heat and serve as desired.
We hope you enjoy spending time with friends and family cooking your favorite Georgia Grown recipes and supporting rural Georgia farmers this holiday season. Let us know if there are any other rural Georgia recipes you think we should try by sending us an email or messaging us on Facebook!