Virtual CSA Box: Collard Greens

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Collard greens are appearing in many CSA boxes this week. Collard greens are a classic staple of the Southern table, often cooked with ham hocks or bacon and plenty of hot pepper. They are unfamiliar to many cooks, however, and cooking them can be a challenge.

Their thick, leathery texture turns to their advantage, though, because it holds up well and doesn't get so soggy and stringy as less substantial greens. Tips and recipes below...

Collard leaves are huge, with a thick rib in the center. They are also usually quite sandy and gritty. The first step in preparing collards is always to wash them very well, or you will find sand in your teeth! Then fold the leaves in half and slit the rib away with the point of a knife and discard. Try some of these recipes below with your collard greens this week - they are delicious!

We have a recipe for Braised Collard Greens with Bacon that we just love - we often eat it over rice or noodles. Collard greens give off a marvelous pot liquor as they simmer and traditionally people eat them with cornbread dipped into this sauce.

Southern food diva Paula Deen has a similar recipe at the Food Network. She also has a recipe for Collard Green Pizza.

Emeril offers Fried Collard Greens and we'd also like to try this Collards, Roasted Peppers and Artichoke Saute.

For something a little different, try Collard Green Olive Pesto or Collard Potato Salad.

Did we mention that they're good for you too?

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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