What Are Collard Greens?

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What's the deal with Collard Greens?

collard greens

Collard, colewort or collard greens is a form of cabbage belonging to the mustard family. This plant contains vital minerals, Vitamin A and C and it’s one of the common leafy green vegetables used in a variety of recipes.

Join the Cooked Best team on a deep dive into this green wonder veg!

Key Takeaways

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Collard greens are nutritious, dark green vegetables used in slow-cooked dishes; tasty and healthiest in winter after the first frost.

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Not native to the UK, they’re often replaced with spring greens or kale, yet some supermarkets stock imported collards.

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Rich in vitamins A, C, K, and antioxidants, collard greens boost digestive health and reduce cancer risk, but excessive consumption may affect the kidneys and thyroid.

What Are Collard Greens?

collard green plants

Collard greens have dark green fanlike leaves and tough stems. They are the member of the same plant family including turnips, kale, and mustard greens.

These greeny veggies share the same characteristics, which is why they are used interchangeably. They are ideal for dishes that require slow cooking such as braising, simmering, and steaming.

This plant is grown as a food crop because of its large, edible, and dark green leaves. These greens have been eaten for the past 2000 years as the ancient Greeks had cultivated various types of collard (like Kale).

Now that we know what are collards, let’s have a look at their cultivation. This plant grows year-round and is nutritious and tastier in winters after the first frost.

To get the best texture, the leaves of collards are picked before reaching their maximum size. Keep in mind, the age of this plant does not affect its flavour.

What are they called in the UK?

Wondering the collard greens UK name? They are called Collard greens in England like in other parts of the world. If you don’t find collard green, the closest substitute is spring greens or kale.

Do They Grow In The UK?

Collard greens plants are mainly grown in Zimbabwe, Brazil, Kenya, Italy, the Balkans, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Southern United States, northern Spain, and India.

Since Collards are not native to the UK, they do not grow here. Kale, one of the closest in appearance to collard greens is however cultivated in the UK.

Here to Buy in the UK?

Even though Collard greens are not grown in the UK, supermarkets like Tesco keep imported collard in stock.

If you are unable to find them, spring greens, Kale and cabbage are the closest alternatives that are readily available for sale throughout the country. You won’t have to do much effort to find them.

Storing Collard Greens

It is extremely easy to store collard greens. They can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Follow these steps to store them:

  • In a large pot of water, bring washed and cut collard greens to boil.
  • Blanch the greens for about two minutes
  • Remove them and plunge them in ice water for two minutes
  • Dry them up and place them in a perforated plastic bag. You can also use zipper bags
  • Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal it
  • You are now ready to place it in the freezer

Make sure you drain as much water from these greens before placing them in the plastic bag. This is to ensure the crisp. Use a damp paper towel for draining the water, if you must.

Nutrition for Collard Greens

It is not enough knowing what are collard greens UK. One must also be familiar with their nutritional value and incorporate it into the daily lifestyle even more.

Collard greens are rich in fibre and water content. They can prevent constipation and maintain the health of the digestive tract.

These greens are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, K and vitamin B-6, iron, and magnesium. Collard greens also contain choline, niacin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid.

Collard greens are also rich in antioxidants and have the power to neutralize free radicals hence reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancers, heart diseases, and diabetes.

Like other dark and leafy green vegetables, they are a great source of folate naturally. This vitamin helps grow the baby, which is why it’s highly recommended for pregnant women and small children.

An integral antioxidant present in collard green is lutein. This compound belongs to the family of vitamin a and it keeps vision health intact and prevents age-related degeneration and other eye diseases.

Like everything else in the world, too much collard green can be bad for your health. They are rich in oxalates that can cause painful kidney stones.

Those who have kidney problems must consume limited portions of collard greens. Likewise, this vegetable when consumed raw may interfere with thyroid function.

collard greens served up

How to Prepare Collard Greens?

There are lots of different ways to prepare these green leaves. The best way is light cooking to keep the nutrients intact.

To get started, rinse the collard thoroughly and get rid of all the dirt. Separate the leafy part from the stem.

You can also eat the stem but it takes longer to cook. Chop them up the way you like.

They can be boiled, steamed, or sautéed. In some recipes, raw collard greens UK are used as well.

Steaming preserves most of the vital minerals and nutrients. Boiling, on the other hand, leaches vitamins and minerals into the water.

Sautéing is a nice way to prepare them as well. Add garlic and olive oil for sautéing and serve with lemon juice.

Summing Up

Collard greens are a winter crop but you can find them at supermarkets all year round. When buying them, choose the dark green leaves and store them in the freezer.

They are easy to cook and extremely tasty. Use them like you would use any green leafy vegetable (Spinach or Kale).


Read these Frequently Asked Questions about collard greens:

What is the English name for collard greens?

The English name of these green veggies is collard greens. Spring greens are the closest to collard greens in the UK.

Are spring greens the same as collard greens?

Spring greens (the first cabbage of the year) differ from collard green. Spring greens have a shape similar to lettuce and are a bit looser in form. However, they are not as tough as cabbages.

Why do they call them collard greens?

The name collard is derived from the word colewort, which is a medieval term for brassica crops with a heading.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!