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You can usually keep collards for a week if stored in a plastic container in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Collards do wilt quickly, but you can re-hydrate them by soaking in cold water. To store, wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in a perforated plastic bag.

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Origins and Culture

Collard greens date back to prehistoric times, and are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. The ancient Greeks grew kale and collards, although they made no distinction between them. Well before the Christian era, the Romans grew several kinds including those with large leaves and stalks and a mild flavor; broad-leaved forms like collards; and others with curled leaves. The Romans may have taken the collards to Britain and France, or the Celts may have introduced them to these countries. They reached into the British Isles in the 4th century B.C.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Collards are a healthy addition to your diet. They contain no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, as well as iron and ascorbic acid.

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How it is grown and when it is in season

Collards, like most members of the cabbage family, are high in nutrition and cancer fighting properties. Often associated with cuisine from warmer climates such as the southern-US, the Caribbean and Africa, many people are surprised that collards are such a hearty vegetable. Since they can withstand a light frost, collards are great during the fall and winter months.

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Basic Cooking Instructions

Collards are versatile and can be boiled, steamed, baked, or sauted. They are great in stir-fries, soups, and stews. To prepare, clean the leaves thoroughly by dunking each leaf into a bowl of fresh water several times. Then rinse the leaves under running water. The stalks are generally too tough to eat, so leaves should be stripped from the stalks and torn into small pieces before cooking.

For quick preparation, collards can be steamed in water or broth for 5-15 until bright green. Or you can saute them. First simmer collards in a small amount of water for 10 minutes. Then drain them and saute in olive oil with herbs or spices until tender, about 10 minutes. In parts of Africa, collards are often cooked with hot peppers and other spices.

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