Collard greens and kale both come from the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea). Though they can be used interchangeably for many purposes, they are not the same thing. Both vegetables are quite bitter, though collard greens are slightly milder (especially when cooked). Because of its shape and tough texture, collard greens may actually be a bit more versatile than kale — its large, durable, and fanlike leaves serve as a perfect bread substitute for sandwich wraps.
Like other leafy greens, collards are a great source of calcium, folate, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B2, B6, and C. Collard greens are one of the best sources of vitamin K, which is essential for bone and blood health. Collards are vegetables that have large green leaves and tough stems, which are removed before eating. The leafy parts that we eat are called “collard greens.” They’re closely related to cabbage, kale, and mustard greens and are prepared in similar ways. The sturdy leaves hold up well when cooked for long periods of time, so they’re commonly used in soups and braises.
Cleaning the leaves is an annoying, yet extremely necessary, part of collard green prep. This is because the tough stems and elevated veins are prone to gathering grit and grime. To wash your collard greens, simply:
- Cut the roots off.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the greens.
- Swirl them around so that the grit frees itself. Use a colander to drain the dirty water, then repeat this process until the water stays clean.