Collard greens also called collards is a form of cabbage, of the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
Collard greens date back to prehistoric times, and are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family.
Historians are unsure of the exact origin of collard greens. They surmise that it was growing wild in Asia Minor, now Turkey, as well as in Greece along the Mediterranean long before recorded history.
The Greeks and Romans grew collards in domestic gardens over 2,000 years ago.
Though greens did not originate in Africa but originated in the eastern Mediterranean, it wasn’t until the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600s that America got its first taste of the dark green, leafy vegetable.
Today, collard greens are grown and eaten regularly in many countries across the world.
The plant is grown for its large, dark-colored, edible leaves and as a garden ornamental, mainly in Brazil, Portugal, the Southern United States, many parts of Africa, Montenegro, Spain and in Kashmir.
The main stem reaches a height from 60 to 120 cm (24 to 48 inches) with a rosette of leaves at the top. Lower leaves commonly are harvested progressively; the entire young rosette is sometimes harvested.
Collard is usually grown as an annual, but it is a biennial plant and will produce yellow four-petaled flowers in loose clusters in its second year. The fruits are dry capsules known as siliques.
The plant is commercially cultivated for its thick, slightly bitter, edible leaves. They are available year-round, but are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost.
There are 32 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of collard greens.
Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium. In addition, collard greens are a very good source of vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.
The health benefits of collard greens include detoxifying the body, supplying needed nutrients, preventing cancer, strengthening bone, supporting digestion, preventing anemia, lowering cholesterol level and supporting hair growth. Other benefits includes slowing down aging process, managing diabetes and improving mood.
Collard greens are a staple vegetable in Southern US cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables.
In Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine, collard greens (or couve) is a common accompaniment to fish and meat dishes.
In Kashmir Valley (India), collard greens (haakh) are included in most of the meals, and both the leaves and roots are consumed.
Its Eanglish original name was colewort.
The name “collard” comes from the word “colewort” (the wild cabbage plant).
Kale differs collard greens only in leaf characters: collard leaves are much broader, are not frilled, and resemble those of head cabbage.
Fresh collard leaves can be stored for up to 10 days if refrigerated to just above freezing (1 °C).