NPR logo Yellow Cabbage Collards Q&A

Yellow Cabbage Collards Q&A

Want to know more about yellow cabbage collards? Here, the basics on picking, preparation and storage.

How can I tell when yellow cabbage collards are ready to be picked? When the leaves feel a little thick, not rubbery. If the leaves are tough and dark, they'll be too chewy.

How should I store them? Once picked, you can sprinkle the leaves with water and store them in the crisper in your refrigerator, says Benny Cox of The Collard Shack in Ayden, N.C. But Cox says it's better to prepare collards right away — get them from the field, wash them and cook them immediately. Then you can freeze what you've cooked.

How long is collard season? It grows year-round in eastern North Carolina, but the weather affects how long they need to cook.

What's a simple way to prepare them? Put them in a pot and let them boil with a piece of meat, says Cox. Summer collards are tougher, therefore slower to cook. The colder weather makes them more tender — and some people say winter collards are sweeter.

In the summer, put the collards in the pot to cook first. Cook them until tender and then add the meat. The collards should cook for about two hours. In the winter, add them after the meat has cooked. They need to cook only for about half an hour.