Tired of turkey? Feeling a post-Christmas energy lull? Collard greens might be the solution! The Wellness Almanac is excited to welcome, Geneviève Blanchet, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and recent arrival in Pemberton, as a regular contributor to our site. She blends Asian tradition and modern western nutritional science with the wisdom of healing herbs. She is passionate about eating fresh, seasonal and nutrient-rich food and would like to share what she’s learned with you. www.lepetitchou.ca.
Post by Geneviève Blanchet
In this winter chronicle I would like to offer you advice on how to nourish yourself to store energy and stay warm and strong throughout the winter.
Winter is a time to cook food slowly; it brings the energy of the food deep within where nourishment is needed to keep you warm and give you necessary strength to live through the cold weather. Soups, braised dishes, and roasted root vegetables warm your body and restore moistness. Bitter foods are also appropriate in winter since they cool the exterior of the body and bring body heat deeper and lower. These foods include dark leafy greens, celery, oats, quinoa, rye, romaine lettuce, citrus peel and chamomile tea.
One of my favorite dark leafy green in the winter is collard greens. This mild-tasting blue-green vegetable from the kale family, contain nearly the same amount of calcium as does milk! Vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and fiber are among the array of nutrients packed into collards and they outrank broccoli, spinach, and mustard greens in nutritional values.
The best bunch of greens is found after the first frost, making them perfect for winter.
Quick, light-cooking methods can be use with any strong flavorings like garlic, onions, hot pepper, ginger and curry to enhance the flavor.
Steamed collard greens can be hard to chew and almost unpalatable.
Available twelve months of the year, prefer the smooth, green leaves without any yellowing.
Avoid wilted greens; they have already lost some flavour and vitality. The young or small collard leaves will be tendered than larger leaves.
Store unwashed in a clear plastic bag in the refrigerator
They are best used within 3 to 4 days
The method I use is cooking the greens in a small amount of water as a preliminary step before sautéing. Alternatively, you can sauté the collards, they will be a little chewier and stronger tasting than precooked collards, but slightly quicker to cook.
The large and sturdy fanlike collard leaves are attached to a thick, heavy stalk that is best removed and discard or use in longer cooking method like stews. By folding each leaf in half, vein or underside out, use a knife to slice leaves from the rib.
To chop, stack 4 to 5 collard leaves on top of each other and roll into a fat cigar shape. Slice crosswise into strips. Slices about ¼ inch wide make an attractive presentation.
Collard Greens, Caramelized Onions and Walnuts
Here is a recipe to bring you vitality and warmth. It is gluten free, dairy free, easy and delicious. In Ayurvedic medicine, onions, garlic and ginger, or Trinity Roots are used to support the immune system and warm the body. According to Chinese Medicine, walnuts is a warming food and is used to strengthen the kidneys and lungs, it is also a chi tonic and reduces inflammation.
1 large bunch collard greens
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, sliced into crescent
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons raw, unsalted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons dried currents, cherries or cranberries, unsweetened
1- Wash collards, remove stalks and slice the leaves into strips.
2-In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 15to 20 minutes, until golden and soft. Stir frequently so the onions don’t burn. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
3-While the onions are cooking, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add collards, cover, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
4- Once the onions are soft and caramelized, add greens and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Serve hot and garnish with walnuts and dried currents.