I’ve been meaning to make collard greens for a long time. Since I like to use my crock pot in the summer as it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, I decided to try them this way. Slow cooking is a great way to cook collards because it breaks down the stiff cell walls in these greens and makes them super tender!
Collards are just full of nutrition and make a great side dish to complement any protein meal. Collards are cruciferous vegetables in the brassica family that includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, etc. For most people the brassicas are very healthy. However, these vegetables must be cooked in order to neutralize the negative effects they can have on thyroid hormone production.
Also known as goitrogens, the brassicas can bind iodine and make it unavailable. Iodine is a critical part of thyroid hormone and without it, the metabolism of the hormone will be deficient. Therefore, those folks with hypothyroid conditions need to make sure they do not eat these vegetables raw and that includes the raw smoothies that are so popular.
Although cooking will help, folks with known thyroid disorders should be aware of these goitrogenic foods and eat them sparingly or not at all.
Additionally, just to mention it, soy is also a goitrogen and for many reasons (see my 7 reasons to avoid soy like the plague) soy should be totally avoided in foods, with the exception of occasional and small portions of fermented soy.
Oxalates are also an issue with collards as with any leafy green. Someone who is known to be a stone former may exercise caution when eating any leafy green (spinach especially) and collards.
Lastly, anyone who is on anticoagulants needs to exercise caution when eating leafy greens such as collards due to the high vitamin K content. Vitamin K1 aids in clot formation.
Nutrition in Collards
Collards have a good amount of fiber and are very high in carotenoids like Lutein and Zeaxanthin as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. T
Collards also contain phytonutrients with anti-oxident properties that may protect against cancer, such as, di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane. These substances have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers through the mechanism of cancer-cell growth inhibition and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
Collards contain important minerals like iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.
- 2 – 3 bunches of collars
- 3 strips of [bacon (I get sugar-free bacon here)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 cups of chicken broth (how to make chicken broth)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I love this aged balsamic)
- 1 tsp sea salt (where to get salt and spices)
- Pepper to taste
- Thoroughly clean the leaves
- Trim away the thick stems and tear into 2" pieces
- In a large fry pan cook the bacon and then set aside
- Use the bacon fat for gently frying the onion
- When the onion is soft and slightly browned add the garlic until it is fragrant (about 1 minute) add it to the crock pot
- Add the chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, bacon strips and collard leaves to the crock pot
- Add the salt and pepper
- Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours (or longer if not tender)
- Serve with meat, chicken or fish
Crock pot (I like this one)
Tip: As the collards cook, occasionally turn and mix them in with the liquid. Also, if you need more liquid, add more. Lastly, if the collards still seem tough after 6 hours, keep them in longer. Some recipes recommend sauteing the collards in the pan first to soften them before putting them in the crock pot.