Collard Greens

HeatherHeather says:

The new year will be here before long and in the Lowcountry that means it’s time to cook up some greens. Collards are a traditional New Year’s dish eaten to bring wealth in the coming year. Their peak season is from January to April and they are packed with calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Whatever you do, do not cook collards in an aluminum pot. The aluminum reacts with the collards. Finally, I should note that collards have an extremely high water content and lose a lot of volume in the cooking process. If you don’t have a huge pot, just add the collards a handful or two at a time as they begin to shrink.

If you don’t have sausage, consider using bacon. If you are vegetarian or vegan consider sauteeing some onion in several tablespoons of olive oil before adding the collards to the pot.

Be aware that collards have a somewhat funky odor. I would only buy them the day before or the day of preparation. Crumpled newspaper will absorb the funky smell.



  • 1 lb sausage (smoked or kielbasa) cut into coins
  • 2 large bunches of collards
  • salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the collards three times. Three shalt be the number thou shalt rinse, and the number of the rinsing shall be three. Four shalt thou not rinse, nor either rinse thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then. . .

Sorry, I got carried away. Once the collards have been rinsed tear from the main stem and into bite sized pieces. Discard the tough woody stems.

In a large, non-aluminum pot heat the sausage , covered over medium heat until browned. Add the collards. Cover, stir occasionally until they have reached their desired tenderness. Season to taste.

I like mine with hot sauce. . . lots of Louisana hot sauce.



  1. says

    LOVE collards. The recipe sounds tasty, though I’ve never had sausage collards, but I’m game.

    My problem: Nobody else in the family eats them. Just me. So I have to go OUT for them, usually (Boulevard Diner, Mt. P, has EXCELLENT collards).

  2. says

    I think it’s interesting to see how this meal varies across families and cultures. In my predominantly Scottish family it was corned beef and cabbage. Hubby’s Polish/German family makes kielbasa and sauerkraut. I’ve seen southerners make black eyed peas instead of the sausage for a vegetarian option as well. I had a friend in college who would make us a cake with trinkets (read: choking hazards) hidden in it and what you got in your slice would indicate your fortune for the new year.
    Curious what other traditions your readers have?

  3. says

    I’m able to find ham bullion at my local mennonite bulk food store. If you are trying to keep the calorie count down a bit, adding that to the collards gives it that “cooked with a pig” flavor without the calories. I use the same tip when I make beans. . .

  4. Margolis says

    Well, I was pestering Heather to talk about how she cooks them and I’m so glad she did! I actually messed around with a batch recently that we REALLY liked (altered a recipe I found in a Southern cookbook). I sauteed the fatty ends of some bacon, added the collards, some red pepper flakes, salt and a little sugar. Cooked ’em about 30 minutes. delish! I was careful to mop up the “pot likker” too with some cornbread as that is where all the good nutrients go. . .
    My house had a funky odor after I cooked them. Didn’t notice anything before I cooked the collards. Any tips?

  5. says

    I usually leave a window open if i’m going to have a large pot on the stove all day.
    My FIL has mentioned he cooks his in gingerale, apparently it takes some of the bitter out as well as some of the smell but i actually like the bitter myself…