Looking across the fields and along the roadways, watching everything turn green brings back such memories of my grandmother. The memories are recorded in my mind as fun, looking back now I am sure they were work for Granny. Each spring nearly everyday she would arm herself with the dishpan or water bucket, her old Old Hickory Butcher knife and head out to get the young tender “greens”. Dandelions, Fiddlehead or Ostrich Fern, Lamb’s Quarters or Wild Spinach, Nettle, Shepherd’s Purse, Crow’sFoot, Watercress, Collard, Turnip and Wild Mustard Greens were not safe from that butcher knife.
When her container was full it was off for a thorough washing, and washing and washing of the greens. Of course that was my favorite part (playing in water). The part, I did not enjoy was the cooking (I don’t like that smell to this day). Granny would do this for what seemed like every day for the entire spring. What wasn’t eaten was canned for winter food. Granny was ‘green’ before ‘green’ was cool.
Following is a couple of recipes for wild greens, I hope you enjoy them as much as she did.
Southern Style Collard Greens
2 pounds of collard greens
1 ham hock or 6 slices of cooked bacon
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
Clean and wash greens well; remove tough stems and ribs. Cut up and place in a deep pot; along with the onion. Wash ham hock and add to the pot. Add red pepper and salt. Add enough water to cover greens and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Granny would serve this with sliced tomato and corn bread.
Quick and Easy Greens
10 to 12 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
about 1 pound mustard greens
diced cooked ham, optional
1 teaspoon , seasoned salt, or salt, or to taste
dash red pepper, optional
dash black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons butte
Cook bacon until almost crisp; add onion and sauté until onion is tender and bacon is crisp.
Put chopped mustard greens (dandaloin or any other greens or a mixture) in pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add bacon and onion, along with ham, if using. Toss with seasonings and butter to taste.