Greens of just about any type — kale, turnip, collard, etc. — are all great for you. However, recently kale has been getting more than its fair share of attention. While kale is packed full of nutrition, there is a cornucopia of other green, leafy veggies out there and just as many reasons to enjoy them.
By this point, you’ve undoubtedly heard just how great greens are for you, but you’ve probably heard it because everyone is talking about kale. Savory kale, sweet kale, kale soup, kale chips… The thing is, there are more to greens than just kale, like collard greens, for instance. Collards have pretty much all the nutrition of kale, a great earthy flavor and a bunch of other benefits too.
1. The flavor
Full stop. You can pretty much quit reading at this point, because this is the best reason to eat collards: They’re delicious. Yes, they’re good for you, but they taste amazing. Like, way-better-than-kale amazing.
Not convinced? Try our basic collard greens recipe.
2. Play well with others
Basic collard greens not your thing? That’s OK, because they’re great with other ingredients, like beer, hummus and cheese.
3. The pork
Oh yeah, did we mention pork? Because one of the best ways to enjoy collard greens is with bacon or ham hocks.
4. The nutrients
So if you’re the type who doesn’t want to just eat things that are delicious, then eat collard greens because they’re packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, iron and many, many other nutrients as well. In fact, while kale is packed with nutrition, in some cases collards are even higher.
5. The fiber
If you’ve had a healthy heaping of collards, you no doubt will have noticed one of its most noticeable nutrients is fiber. In fact, collards have a significant amount of your daily required fiber and will keep your tummy healthy.
6. Cancer sucks
Sticking with the “they’re good for you” idea, collard greens have been shown to be full of antioxidants, chlorophyll and other cancer fighters.
7. So does diabetes
Still not enough reasons? Fiber-rich diets have been shown to help control glucose levels in diabetics and, as mentioned earlier, collards are kind of full of fiber. Even more important, alpha-lipoic acids also help control glucose, and collards are full of them too.
In other words, if you want to be healthy, eat collards.
8. The traditions
Enough with the health benefits. There are other reasons to love collards, one of which is that they are an internationally loved food whose culinary past is deeply entrenched in the American South. Just talk to a soul food chef, and they will regale you with the right way to make collards, what they’ve meant to cultures that brought them to America and the proper way to eat them.
Making a big pot of collard greens is like taking a minute to enjoy the taste of the earth, sample the traditions of those who’ve come here to make our country great and to share a piece of culinary greatness with thousands of diners before you.
9. Pot liquor
The only thing better than collard greens is pot liquor. Most of the time, a big pot of collards is cooked with enough water so that there’s a lot of juice left behind after the collards are eaten. Don’t ever toss that beautiful green gold away, because that’s the pot liquor. Full of nutrients on its own, it has a concentrated collard green flavor that surpasses the leaves themselves and can be enjoyed soaked into cornbread, poured over ham or beans or drunk all by itself.
10. Collard kraut
Last but certainly not least, if you need a reason to enjoy collards, don’t forget collard kraut. It’s basically sauerkraut made from collards, which means it’s earthy and tangy all at once. See if any old kale can do that!