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Cooking Your Greens

In response to Southern California Girl’s letter to the editor (7/18/2011), several of our generous readers have sent their favorite greens recipes to share! We hope you enjoy!


I love to sauté greens (any kind or mix of them).  I first sauté garlic in olive oil, then chop the greens and add them and stir to mix up with the oil and garlic. I add some water and then slap the lid on the pan so that they steam until wilted.  They’re great on rice, noodles, or other pasta.  Add some chopped onion to the sauté for variety.

If you want to do stir fry, use peanut oil instead of olive oil, and top with a dash of soy sauce.


Steam them and add a dash of vinegar or (best) “pepper sauce” in each serving.

*Pepper Sauce defined:  This is a small bottle with tabasco peppers in it, and filled with vinegar that absorbs the hotness of the peppers. When the vinegar is gone, you just add more vinegar.


Sauté a bit of salt pork and then add greens and water and cook away. This is called “a mess of greens.” Serve with above-mentioned “pepper sauce”.

Hope this gives some ideas!



I use my greens, including carrot tops and radish leaves plus over-sized peeled cucumbers, to add to my own “V8” juice.  Cut them up, cook until tender, then put through the “squeeze’o”.  Then I can it.  Tomatoes are included and are the base. I use all kinds of garden vegetables at the end of the season including: peppers, Swiss chard, onion tops, parsley, beets, carrots, zucchini squash, etc.  It is surprising how wonderfully good this tastes if you have no preconceived idea what it “should” taste like (and it is good for you!).  I have such an abundance of vegetables this year that I have already canned 20 quarts.

I know most people it seems to me living here in Virginia, cook their greens to death, but we just steam ours until tender, salt and butter lightly.  Kirkland’s No Salt is a great addition.  I will also put a few in the freezer but only a few because we have them early in the spring until early summer then in the fall until late November.  Certain ones we dry, like red-stemmed spinach and Swiss chard, then use the food processor to turn them into a powder.  Now we can add this to soups or use as a winter broth when hot water and a little seasoning like dried onion is added along with a little salt and pepper (and if you like a richer broth, powdered milk and butter).  Great quickie addition to any meal or make it a lunch with a slice of cheese!

Dottie R.


Kale is a great green; I buy lose bundles of it. Make sure the leaves look blue/green which means it is fresh (yellow is not good).

I tear the greens off the stem in the middle (the stems can be bitter sometimes) and put them in a microwave-safe glass dish. I use 5 minutes on high, but you may have to adjust time depending on watts of the microwave and haw limp you want it. I prefer mine a tad chewer. Drain and then add butter and apple cider vinegar. Very good.  Of course the butter and/or vinegar are optional…

I hope this helps your reader.
Sandie J.


Radish leaves are very edible; I don’t know about carrots as I have never tried them, but I would bet they very tasty. As far as cooking various greens, including cabbage, there’s only one way to do it. The magic words are bacon grease. Cook 6 slices of bacon in a large skillet, then take out the bacon and fill the skillet with greens. If you have no lid for the skillet use foil. Let them steam until the volume starts decreasing, take off the foil, and stir until they look ready to eat. Enjoy!


I am not fond of either stir-frying or salads but like greens used in other ways.  That may be partly due to being a northerner, but the biggest hitch is that vegetables alone leave me hungry.  I need protein.  Anyway, here are a couple of ways I use Chinese cabbage.  For recipes, don’t forget an Internet search…never know what you will find.


1.  Mock Won Ton Soup.  (I didn’t know what else to call it.)  This was an on-the-spot invention caused by my lack of spinach and refusal to make won tons.  Boil enough chicken to make a good soup stock, then, remove meat from the bones, cut into spoon-size pieces, and set aside.  (Save leftover meat for salad or sandwich.) To the pot of chicken broth add Chinese cabbage, cut into small pieces, some diced celery, and thick noodles.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toward the end, add the chicken pieces to warm them.  You will want to adjust ingredient amounts to suit your own taste. 


I prefer chicken thighs because a little fat adds taste, and I belong to the camp that believes chicken fat is beneficial.  I normally start with at least four, skin included.  Today’s chickens are scrawny.  Suit yourself.      


If you use Michili Chinese cabbage, which forms a tall narrow head, use the full head for four people.  If you use one of the fatter varieties, e.g., Napa (about 2 lbs. each), cut in half – lengthwise if you like more white stalks, crosswise if you prefer the leafy part. 

2.  Korean Kimchi.   This is Chinese cabbage (usually Napa variety) that has been fermented with salt in a crock, like sauerkraut.  The big difference is that it also includes sliced roots and LOTS of garlic, hot peppers, onions and freshly grated ginger.  Powdered ginger will not work.  (Hint: Fresh ginger is easily preserved by peeling then packing into jars of cocktail sherry.)  Common root additions are radishes, carrots, first-year burdock roots, and Jerusalem artichokes.  I always add cauliflower florets.  The taste is strong.  For most Westerners, a liking for it must be acquired.  But fermentation does more than preserve the food.  It provides healthful, live microorganisms.  Pickling with vinegar does not.  Pack the finished kimchi into quart jars and store in the refrigerator for a winter’s supply… or much longer.

The only hard part is all the slicing and dicing… and the ginger grating, which cannot be avoided.  I use a small electric dicer for onions, garlic cloves, and hot peppers, mixed together.

There are many kimchi recipes on the Internet.  Four pounds of cabbage is enough for a one-gallon crock.  Small amounts can be made in quart jars, one pound of cabbage per jar.

I usually use it as a side dish or add it to sandwiches.  It is also good cooked with pork to make a soup… although heat destroys the microorganisms.  Leftover cabbage can be blanched and frozen.


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