Southern Gardening

My Collards
My Collards

This years garden was a great success! I had planted four collards in two large containers as an experiment. Well to my surprise they grow to be about three feet tall. A southern friend told me that I had to wait until after the first heavy frost in order to pick them. Well we had our first one November 23. So now I can pick my collards and cook them with what they say here in the south “A ham bone.” I know now that you can cook collards and freeze them for up to six months. So I am cooking up my garden fresh collards and keeping the rest in freeze bags.

Picking collards
Picking collards.

Make sure you wash your collards thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. Small tender young leaves don’t need to be stripped. Stack the leaves on top of one another for now.

Cooking collards with a ham bone.
Cooking collards with a ham bone.

Get a big pot of water on the stove. (3 quarts)  Add in 1/2 pound of smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones.) I used a ham bone for my favoring . Bring the water to a boil and add the meat, seasoned salt, pepper and hot sauce. (Optional) Reduce the heat to a simmer for about 2 hours. Then add in the collards. Cook those for about 45 to 60 minutes. Stirring them occasionally to get the meat and seasoning favor you desire. After cooking, I stained my collards and let them cool completely. I placed my collards with meat into three equal freezer bags. Tightly getting out all of the air in the bags, they are now ready for winter meals.

My garden tomatoes
My garden tomatoes

I have cooked all the tomatoes and made plenty of sauce for the winter. With the peppers, I chopped them up and put them into freezer bags too! I would say it was a great summer!

Great recipes from Debbie ! Enjoy!!

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