I have grown many varieties of Collard Greens over the years, and have recently discovered that Alabama Blue is my favorite variety of them all. I am writing this post to share my appreciation for these mighty delicious greens. But before sharing all of the reasons why everyone should try them, I should take a moment to explain the importance of collards in the South(for my readers in different regions or other countries) .
Collard greens are what many Southerners consider to be the most important cool weather vegetable. They are a staple in our cuisine and part of our New Years Day traditions. We cook many types of greens, but Collards are the best. We typically braise our cooking greens for very long periods of time with salty, Smokey chunks of meat. These greens are full of nutrients but not something that people from other regions would consider healthy after the way we prepare them. Collard greens are paired with with peas and cornbread, they are a side dish at our best bar-B-que restaurants, and they are they are served in our best “meat&3s”(country cooking cafeterias).
Every old farmer that grows collards has a favorite variety, with Georgia or Vates being the most popular. I like to try new varieties of vegetables every season. So, when I spotted Alabama Blue Collards in a seed catalog a few years ago I decided to dedicate a fall row to them. I’m so glad I did.
There are plenty of reasons to love this variety. One of the most impressive qualities of these greens is how quickly they cook compared to others. Alabama Blue is super tender and reaches the perfect texture in half of the time of Georgia Collards. In addition to their tenderness they are a winner because of their sweetness. I typically add a bit of molasses to my cooked greens. But, the extra sweetness isn’t needed in a pot of Alabama Blues.
These Collards aren’t just impressive in the kitchen, they are also incredibly beautiful out in the garden. I recommend incorporating these big blue veined greens in any cool weather planting. Instead of ornamental cabbage and kale, why not grow something delicious and pretty next to your pansies? Whether you grow them for their culinary value or their ornamental value, make room for Alabama Blue Collards, and they will probably become your new favorite green.