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Kristy in her garden picking a large row of collard greens in December

Collard Greens

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson


Growing your own food is such rewarding work. Collard greens are some of the easiest greens to grow and have one of the biggest returns. Start with sowing seeds and be amazed at the tenderness and beauty.

Kristy in her garden picking a large row of collard greens in December
Wide rows of collards and turnip greens

Collard Greens for Cooler Temps

Collard greens are a cool-weather crop that grows easily in Georgia. The seeds I plant are perfectly named Georgia Collards. I plant my seeds in wide rows once the weather begins to feel cooler. In other words, wait until the 90 degree summer days have dwindled down. For me, this happens in early October.

A wide-row garden of greens with a sprinkler set ready to be used
Wide rows make a beautiful garden.

You Need More Than You Think

The wonderful thing about collards is they begin flourishing within a few weeks. They create a beautiful patch of green in your garden that might be looking a little worn from summer. By late November I can actually pick a few greens. However, I like to wait until I can pick a fairly large market basket full so I usually wait and pick in December. If you have cooked collards, you know how they cook down so picking more is always smart.

A wide row of collards with a silver bucket for picking
A silver bucket full of collard greens sitting in a stainless steel sink

Collard Greens…Perfect for New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is the day we look forward to eating our collard greens. As I have always been told, eat collards for wealth so it is worth doing. Besides, they are delicious paired with peas, sweet potatoes, and cornbread.

Picking Collards on New Year’s Eve

After Picking Your Collards

Right after picking collard greens, I begin washing them to prepare them for cooking. I put about a tablespoon of salt and a few tablespoons of white vinegar in some warm water in my sink-just enough to cover the bottom of the sink. Once the salt dissolves, add cold water and all of the collards. I rinse them and then repeat the process letting them soak for a few hours. I use this time to pick through the greens and pull off any long stems that may be tough. Since they soak for a while, I find myself walking by, stopping at the sink, swishing the water, and always finding one more stem.

A Perfect Side Dish

After washing your greens, it is time to cook them. I start with a fairly large pot even though I know they are going to cook down. This is a perfect time to try using dry vermouth if you do not have an open bottle of dry white wine. Also, just a warning if you have not cooked collards before…your house will smell very “green”. My dear friends always cook their collard greens outside under their carport. You will quickly understand why I like to open a window!

Emptying a bucket of collards into a stainless sink

Collard Greens

Kristy Dodson
Slow cooking your collard greens gives you rich flavor and tender greens. This is a veggie you will want to taste as they cook. Collards will vary in flavor according to where and how they are grown. You may find you need to add more sugar or salt to taste.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8


  • 1 Large Stock Pot


  • 3 quarts Water Enough to cover your greens once they wilt
  • 2-3 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Ham Hock
  • 6 pounds Collard Greens Trimmed and rinsed, I pull off any extra-thick stems- this is an approx. amount of greens
  • 1/2 cup Sugar Optional (helps cut bitterness, if needed)
  • 2-3 tbsp Hot Suace I use Frank's Hot Sauce and I use a lot!, Optional
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine or Dry Vermouth


  • Wash your fresh greens in salted water with a splash of white vinegar I like to do this several times in order to remove dirt, sand, and tiny bugs that may have come in with your greens. Let the greens soak in this water for about 30 minutes if you have the time as it will help with the smell and begin softening them.
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Add greens a few at a time to the stockpot, add sugar hot sauce and wine. Cover and cook over medium heat until your greens are tender. About 45 minutes (feel free to simmer longer until they reach desired tenderness).
  • Strain some of the juice to serve.



Collard greens pair well with black-eyed peas and cornbread. We often cook pork tenderloin to create a larger meal. If you want a little extra, add a baked sweet potato to your meal. Enjoy!
Remember you can easily substitute the wine with dry vermouth if that is what you have on hand. It typically takes a little less vermouth than wine.
If your family enjoys condiments, pepper sauce or hot sauce are nice finishing touches to collard greeens.
Keyword collard greens,, greens, tradition, wealth, winter crop

A Refreshing Change of Pace

We think that gardening is complete when the weather is cold but then we are blessed with wonderfully nutritious harvests. Gardening in the winter is refreshing, peaceful, and a nice change of pace from summer. I am looking forward to trying some other winter crops next year. I think I might begin planning next week! Join me and let me know what you discover.

planting seeds


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