14 Feb2010

Organic Collard Greens

by Marketman


Several folks have emailed me over the years to ask if I knew where to buy collard greens locally. Until today, I have always answered that I had never seen collard greens in local markets. At one point or another, I was thrilled to find swiss chard or chard, even kale, but never collard greens. So when I zipped through the Salcedo market this morning, and ran into Gil Carandang and JT Gonzalez of Herbana Farms (a double treat), I was pleasantly surprised when Gil thrust a small bunch of collard greens my way. I asked if he had more and I bought the three bunches of collard greens he had for sale.


Gil runs an organic farm, possibly one of my favorite farmers/purveyors over the last dozen or so years. I trust that his stuff is indeed organic. And every once in a while, I have little wiggly friends to reinforce the point. How about this little critter crawling among the collard greens, happily munching on the unusual (at least in these parts) leafy green. Collard greens are described by Elizabeth Schneider as having the taste of something “between cabbage and kale” and they possess incredibly dark green leaves. Unlike a cabbage that forms a “head” of leaves, collards never form “heads”… I guess you could call them headless crucifers (the family of veggies, that is). Often part of a classic hearty Southern U.S. diet of ham, grits and boiled collards… they were apparently introduced to the country with the arrival of the African slaves. My interest in them, besides being interested in any novel produce now locally grown, is that they are incredibly healthy and possess almost no calories to speak of… hence potentially good for my diet regimen (which I eschewed for a couple of days last week with the introduction of roasted liempo et al).


The live worms or caterpillars didn’t really bother me so much, and reminded me of an interesting tidbit in a book that the Teen gave me last Christmas entitled “Why Fish Fart and Other Useless or Gross Information About the World” by Francesca Gould. The question posed was “How many insect parts do we unintentionally eat?” and the rather shocking answer (though I wasn’t really surprised) is that people (Americans I believe in this answer) consume an estimated 1 kilogram PER person worth of insect parts every year. :) Somehow, I would wager that pinoys eat more than that. Some tidbits you maybe didn’t want to know… “chocolate may contain up to sixty insect fragments per 100 grams, and on average, just slightly less than one rodent hair…Macaroni and spaghetti are allowed up to 225 insect fragments per 225 grams and no more than 4.5 rodent hairs…canned tomatoes may contain up to 10 fly eggs per 500 grams and no more than 2 maggots…etc.” Something to think about, no? And yes, one type of fish does indeed fart. But you’ll have to get or borrow a copy of the book to find out which one it is. :)



  1. Betchay says:

    So what did you do with your collard greens?I guess that will be the next post!
    Re:insects—They say they are high in proteins and actually cleaner than most meats we eat.But no,I’ll pass up on them.Let Andrew Zimmerman have them all! :)

    Feb 14, 2010 | 7:12 am


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  3. Betchay says:

    And Happy Valentine’s day MM!Kung Hei Fat Choi!

    Feb 14, 2010 | 7:13 am

  4. joey says:

    I am so glad I “found” Gil Carandang right here on your blog way back when you first mentioned him! I have been buying from his stall ever since :)

    “Headless crucifers” sounds like something out of Harry Potter! :)

    Feb 14, 2010 | 8:01 am

  5. Lors says:

    Hi marketman, may i ask if you have any ideas on what to do with okara?

    Feb 14, 2010 | 9:04 am

  6. Marketman says:

    Lors, I did a post on a sauteed okra with talangka. I suppose you could also make a gumbo with the okra…

    Feb 14, 2010 | 10:39 am

  7. Philip says:

    There’s an interesting post over at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Gets rid of the aspartame, bleached GM flour, high fructose corn syrup garbage they try to pass off as food these days. If interested you can read on it here,


    Feb 14, 2010 | 1:23 pm

  8. aly says:

    insects are okey,but ewww for the rodent hairs!

    Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Feb 14, 2010 | 5:20 pm

  9. Cecilia says:

    Well, I learned something. ;)

    Feb 14, 2010 | 5:35 pm

  10. Footloose says:

    A lot of people I know avoid okra mainly because of the ropy slime it produces, a sure sign of rottenness in a lot of food, specially pasty carbs. But I love okra for its flavor (tastes like young corn to me) but more so for its therapeutic (and terrific) moving quality. I avoid the slime by baking them whole spread out in a flat sheet. It can then be incorporated into any dish that requires okra (except gumbo where you add okra for its thickening property). My favorite is to add lots of it into my ma po taufu. It turns it into something akin to Marketman´s spicy eggplant which I also cook often.

    Collard green called cuve here is one of the mainstays of the Brazilian table. They are rolled and meticulously sliced thin, quikly fried until it turns a vivid emerald green and then served
    with the national dish, feijoada.

    Feb 14, 2010 | 5:54 pm

  11. frenchadobo says:

    i have never seen this vegetable here in france. and speaking of wiggly friends, i usually find them in the green salads as well ( lettuce and company), that’s why i immerse them in cold water for few hours, changing the cold water every 20-30 minutes or so. i do this until no more wiggly friends float. and then wash the salads leaves again one by one. i know it sounds meticulous but want to make sure, no wiggly friends share my meal with me !

    Feb 14, 2010 | 6:22 pm

  12. ros says:

    Ahh, another example of the diversity of “Brassica oleracea”. It is such a fascinating thing that a purple cauliflower, a Romanesco broccoli, a kohlrabi, and our very own repollo is of the same species!

    Feb 14, 2010 | 11:53 pm

  13. joanie says:

    I love this vegetable. I just rinse it quickly before I sautee it with EVOO, garlic, pepper flakes and a bit a salt. But after reading this post, I probably going to rinse each leaves one-by-one.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 1:20 am

  14. Vickie says:

    Just tried collard and kale chips this week. OMG, what a revelation! (Rinse, spin dry, toss with OO or grapeseed oil and salt and bake at 400F 10 mins (toss/turn once at the halfway mark). Salt again, if you like. Incredible! Even my 16-month old loved it.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 1:30 am

  15. Mom-Friday says:

    I thought these were broccoli leaves… i’m a trivia junkie and so I need to buy a copy of that book! thanks for the reference :-)

    Feb 15, 2010 | 6:04 pm

  16. Dew says:


    Perchance, is there a Tagalog word for collard greens? During my visits to the Philippines I have searched the wet markets, high and low, for this vegetable since it is a favorite of mine but unable to find it (eastern Visayas region).

    Try this recipe. Stack leafs on top of each other, roll into a tight bunch and cut the rolled up bunch of collard greens into 1/4″ slices. Cook 2 – 3 smoked ham hocks, reserve liquid. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons bacon fat to reserved liquid, salt and pepper, and sliced collard greens. Boil until tender but not mushy, about 45 minutes. Slice cooked ham hocks and add to collard greens. Serve hot.


    Feb 16, 2010 | 8:13 am

  17. GM says:

    This vegetable looks like “kulis” a locally grown vegetable in bicol.

    Feb 16, 2010 | 11:43 am

  18. butsoy says:

    I use collard greens when I make “laing”. It’s less hassle than gabi leaves. At least you don’t have to dry them to get rid of the “toxins” in gabi leaves that most people are allergic to.

    Feb 21, 2010 | 9:51 pm

  19. joey says:

    MM, I finally got some collards from Gil and am enjoying them right now, sauteed with onions, garlic, and bacon (so much for no calories!)….YUM! Am definitely going back from more!

    Apr 21, 2010 | 1:03 pm

  20. frannnie says:

    Where do you buy kale?

    Jun 20, 2010 | 12:07 pm

  21. mabeth says:

    where can i buy Kale? or the green collard? and the stalls of Gil Carandang? JT Gonzalez? im starting to learnto make soups and am not yet familiar with the veggies and whre to purchase them. thnks in advance.

    Aug 7, 2010 | 8:53 am

  22. jade says:

    i love collard greens. who is gil carandang? does the store have a p hone #? there are so many stalls in salcedo market…

    Nov 27, 2010 | 2:17 am

  23. Meg says:

    Hi,im looking for collard greens in some markets here in manila,but i didnt find any,is there anyone who knows a certain store or supermarket that sells collard. Thank you..

    Dec 31, 2010 | 12:25 pm

  24. Shiyama says:

    You can Collard in any supermarkets. I usually grow my own! It’s the easiest plant to grow.
    Here is my favorite healthy recipe which I cook once a week.
    Wash the Collards and –
    1. Layer on top of each other and roll tightly like a paper towel. Slice very thin.
    2. Chop onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies (optional) & a few table spoon of fresh grated coconut(You can purchase frozen in Goya section), 1 teaspoon of one of the following ( curry powder, coriander powder, cumin powder or anything to season from your pantry.)
    3. In a large bowl, place the sliced collard greens, along with the above and mix it with hand thoroughly and let them relax for about half an hour.
    4. In a heavy pot add a few table spoon of olive oil heat. Add a pinch of mustard seeds and Cumin seeds. When the mustard start to pop, add some dried red chilies. Dump the whole collard in the pot and stir fry in very low heat. You can add some Soy sauce for flavor. This dish goes very well with rice.

    Jun 29, 2011 | 10:37 pm

  25. Bert says:

    What is the Tagalog or Filipino word for Collard Greens and Kale?

    Aug 12, 2011 | 4:12 am


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