Posted by: A Part of the Solution | May 14, 2010

Seasonal Greens

This time of year is a little awkward in terms of the garden. There’s plenty of tender, wild greens in the fields and the woods–about two to four weeks ago. There would be lots of lovely baby lettuces coming out of the greenhouse, if we had the greenhouse this year. So what does one do for seasonal greens? Next year, there will be the hardy greens that wintered over. Right now, I have some from MAP’s (my anonymous partner) brother’s garden: a bag full of collard greens. I also have the tops of the bunch of boughten beets we have in the fridge.

I love my greens. Maybe it’s my lifelong low blood iron talking, but dark leafy greens look good to me–wherever and whenever I see them. I don’t, however, cook them in the tradition of the deep south. I get that a hunk of old ham bone/trotter/what you will cooked for six to eight hours with a mess o’ greens is the Old Skool methodology. I even understand why someone might want to cook the greens down to a shimmering, slick, dark green pile of salty silk. But that’s not how I do them. 

I’m from Maryland, and Maryland is the Shallow South (as the Mason-Dixon Line is the northern border of that state). I like a little texture in my mouth. I like a food that wants to be chewed some before being swallowed. I like  my nourishment interactive. And I can attest that even those raised on slow-cooked, Deep South greens are first surprised, and then delighted, with what I do with a pile of seasonal greens.

Shallow South Seasonal Greens

2 TBSP bacon drippings, sesame oil or peanut oil

1 large onion, diced

8 cloves garlic, minced and mashed with 1/2 tsp salt

2 jalapenos, ribbed and seeded and minced (leave the ribs and seeds for more heat)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tsp soy sauce, or Bragg’s Aminos

8-10 cups greens: washed, ribbed, sliced 1/2 inch wide

1/2 cup stock, wine or water

2 TBSP vinegar, apple cider or malt are very good here

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large, heavy pan heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Let them begin to color, then add the next three ingredients. Saute these until the garlic is almost golden. Add the greens, soy sauce and liquid of choice. Stir them all around, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat waaaay down (just above the lowest setting on a gas stove, 2.25 is about right on an electric cooker).

Now leave them on the stove, stirring occasionally if you think of it. They’ll want to be there at least one hour. Up to three is fine. I’m usually satisfied with the ‘doneness’ of the greens at about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. Add the vinegar when they’re off the heat and correct the seasoning with the salt and pepper. Put hot sauce on the table for those who like it, and it will all be good!



  1. […] Seasonal Greens were red kale, curly kale, white chard and turnip greens (from those baby turnips in the borscht at lunch).  I served Apple Crisp for dessert, which was accompanied by vanilla ice cream from the famous creamery at Penn State, courtesy of our crack WWOOFing team. […]

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