Southern Greens


For generations, the American South has cooked up some mighty fine eating, but it’s more than fried foods and decadent desserts.

Greens became a staple food when slaves utilized the tops of beets and turnips, discarded after harvest. Simmered in a pot of water with a piece of pork (ham hock or salt pork) turned a handful of greens into an economical and nutritious meal.

The cabbage-like leaves of collard greens are rich in vitamins and invaluable sources of Phyto-nutrients (anti-cancer). Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin-k and omega-3 fatty acids (the hallmarks of good anti-inflammatory nutrients). I use half of each in my Southern greens. You could also use kale, mustard, chard or dandelion greens.


  • 4 1/2 pounds southern greens
  • 1/2-pound salt pork, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Black pepper
  1. Cut off and discard tough stems and discolored leaves from greens. Wash thoroughly, drain.
  2. In a large pan, (large enough to hold all of the greens) cook the pork until crisp and brown.
  3. Add the onion to the pan, cook until translucent.
  4. Add the greens in batches, sauteing and stirring each addition until fully wilted.
  5. Sprinkle sugar over the greens, (my grandmother always added a pinch of sugar to negate the bitterness)  add water, bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes until greens are tender. (Time may vary depending on the type of greens used).
  7. Season with a few grinds of pepper. I doubt you’ll need additional salt because salt pork is, well, salty ( just taste first). Southern greens are a typical side dish as is but more often than not, I serve them over grits.



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