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How Much is a Bunch of Collard Greens? (With Pictures)

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So to make it a little easier for those whose only experience with collard greens is buying them in “bunches” from the supermarket or the local farmers’ market, here is some basic information that can be used as a guide in choosing the right amount for the specific circumstances.

A bunch of collard greens will contain an average of 20 large leaves, will weigh between 1&½ to 2 lbs, will measure about 3 inches in diameter at the stem end, and will feed a family of 4.

Here is a photo of a bunch of collard greens:

A-Bunch-of-Collard-Greens-Laying-on-a-Table

One bunch of collard greens can be described by the information in the following table:

Collard GreensOne Bunch
Number of leaves20
Weight in ounces24 – 32
Weight in pounds1.5 – 2
Number of cupsRaw: 6; Cooked: 3
Serving sizeRaw: 1 cup; Cooked: ½ cup
Servings per bunchRaw: 6 servings; Cooked: 6 servings

The remainder of this article will go into greater detail about how to choose collard greens and specifics about collards and other types of greens.

How Do You Choose Collard Greens?

The collard greens that you are either picking or purchasing should be dark green and free from blemishes. They should be firm, crisp, and not wilted, although, if collard leaves are just slightly wilted, they will perk back up when placed in cool water.

Ready-to-Pick-Collard-Greens-in-the-Garden
These collards in my garden are ready to be picked!
A-Closeup-of-Perfect-Collard-Green-Leaves
This is what perfect greens should look like.

Should Collard Greens Be Washed Right After Being Picked?

Collard greens and all other types of greens should not be washed until they are either going to be cooked or processed for canning or freezing.

If greens are dirty, you can avoid getting the refrigerator dirty by placing them in a plastic bag to store them in the refrigerator prior to cooking, freezing, or canning them.

How Do You Clean Collard Greens?

Collards, as well as all other types of greens must be washed thoroughly to remove all dirt, sand, bugs, and foreign matter. If they are not washed properly, they could have some sand or dirt particles, and maybe even a bug or two, left in them, and they are very unappetizing if you bite down on a grain of sand or discover a bug floating in the pot.

All greens from the garden should be washed at least 3 times, possibly as many as 5 times depending on weather conditions and whether soil from the garden has splashed up on the plants. But, they should only be washed right before they are going to either be cooked or processed for canning or freezing. The packaged greens that you buy from the supermarket that are labeled “ready to cook” can be safely cooked or added to salads without washing them, though I usually at least rinse them once, but any greens bought by the bunch or picked from a garden should be washed thoroughly.

The only method I have ever used for washing is as follows:

  1. Use 2 large bowls or dishpans or both sides of a double sink. Run enough water in one sink or bowl to cover the bunch of greens. 
  2. Once covered, swish the leaves around several times with your hands and then lift them one handful at a time out of the water and place them into the other sink or bowl.
  3. Let or pour out the first water and run fresh water onto the greens. 
  4. Repeat this process until there are no sand particles in the bottom of the sink or bowl when you run your hand across the bottom. 
  5. Once all the sand is gone, rinse them one more time, remove the stems or ribs, and they are ready to cook.
Washing-Collard-Greens-in-a-Kitchen-Sink
Make sure you wash them good, no one likes sandy greens.
Putting-Cut-Collards-in-Pot-to-Cook
They are clean and ready to be cooked!

When Are Collards in Season?

Collards can be planted in spring and fall gardens since they are heat and cold tolerant. They are usually planted from seeds in the Gulf Coast area in February and March and again in August and September. To grow from plants, set out the seedlings 4 to 5 weeks later.

To determine when collard greens can be planted in your area, the seeds can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. For a fall garden, seeds should be planted 80 days before the predicted first frost.

The collard greens growing season depends on the area you live:

  • In the Gulf Coast area, collards are in season March, April, May, June, October, November, and December.
  • In Colorado, collards are in season May, June, July, August, September, and October.
  • In Maine, collards are in season July, August, September, October, and November.

To find out specifically when collard greens should be planted and are in season in your area, a good resource is your local Ag Center. If you are unfamiliar with the work done by the Ag Centers across the United States, just do a Google search for the Ag Center near you, and check out their website.

How Long Do Collard Greens Last?

  • Fresh collard greens can stay good for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator if stored properly.
  • Cooked collard greens will stay good in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • To store collard greens from 2 to 3 years, they should be washed, blanched, and stored in a freezer in freezer-safe bags or boxes.
  • Can collard greens in jars by using a pressure canner to preserve them and render them shelf stable for up to 5 years or more.

How Can Collards Be Preserved?

Collard Greens can be preserved by either canning or freezing them. Here is an overview of both methods of preservation.

Canning Collard Greens

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, collard greens, like all low acid vegetables, must be canned by the pressure canner method. There is no safe way to can vegetables by using the boiling water bath method.

For step-by-step instructions see the National Center for Home Food Preservation website here, or check out my YouTube video for instructions for pressure canning collard greens from garden to jar:

Freezing Collard Greens

Collard greens, along with all other types of greens, can be preserved by freezing. The process involves washing the greens and removing the stems the same as for cooking, blanching them, and freezing them in freezer-safe bags or boxes.

As a matter of fact, I usually go ahead and cook a large pot of greens, serve a bowl of them for supper, and freeze the rest. Then, when I want to use the frozen greens, all I have to do is thaw them out, heat them thoroughly, and they are ready for the meal.

Pressure-Canned-Frozen-Collards
This way we can enjoy collards year round.

What Exactly Are Collard Greens? 

Collard greens are one of the loose leaf greens that have large, flat, and smooth leaves. They are a member of the cabbage family, but the leaves do not form heads as do cabbages. Instead, they are grown for their leaves.

Even though collards have for many years been associated with the southern part of the United States, collard greens as a food source predate the United States and were first cultivated in the Mediterranean area and were brought to America by Africans in the early 1600s.

Collards provide many nutritional benefits and are a very low-calorie food. For example, one cup of raw collard greens has only 12 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and provides protein and many vitamins and minerals including a whopping 128% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K!

One bunch of collard greens can be described by the information in the following table:

Collard Greens1 bunch
Number of leaves20
Weight in ounces24 – 32
Weight in pounds1.5 – 2
Number of cupsRaw: 6; Cooked: 3
Serving sizeRaw: 1 cup; Cooked: ½ cup
Servings per bunchRaw: 6 servings; Cooked: 6 servings

What Can You Serve With Collard Greens?

Collard greens, along with other types of green, leafy vegetables, are versatile and can be served with all types of food, however, collard greens are especially good as part of the following meals:

  • Raw as part of a chef salad containing large chunks of ham and cheese;
  • Boiled collards served with pork chops or a pork roast, baked sweet potatoes, and cornbread as a traditional Southern dish;
  • Cooked as an ingredient in many soups, including vegetable soup or butternut squash soup;
  • Boiled as part of a Mexican meal and served with black beans and rice;
  • Boiled and garnished with lemon and garlic as part of any Mediterranean or Italian meal; and
  • Add peanuts to boiled collards for a West African dish.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Collards?

Collards, along with other greens, are very nutritious and very low in calories. No matter what kind of diet you are following, collards would be a very welcome addition to that diet. Collard greens, according to Medical News Today, are “ an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, a rich source of vitamin K , and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium.”

According to Weight Watchers, a 1-cup serving of raw collards contains 11.5 calories and has the following nutritional value:

NutrientAmount per 1 cup servingPercent of RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
Fat0.22 grams0%
Carbohydrates2 grams1%
Protein1 gram2%
Fiber1.4 mg5%
Vitamin A90 mcg10%
Vitamin C12.7 mg14%
Vitamin K157 mcg130% (men); 174% (women)
Vitamin B60.05 mg3%
Folate46.4 mcg12%
Calcium83.5 mg7% (adults 51 and older); 8% (adults 18-50)
Magnesium9.72 mg2%
Potassium76.7 mg2%

According to Healthline, greens, in general, have “anticancer effects” and reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate, breast, ovarian, lung, bladder, and colon cancers,  for those people who regularly eat one or more types of greens. Greens improve bone health, boost eye health, and benefit heart health and digestive health.

Growing Turnip Greens in the Garden
Want to be healthier? Grow some greens!

Are There Possible Negative Effects to Eating Greens?

Greens are very nutritious for most people. However, there is one group of people who should perhaps refrain from eating large amounts of greens. 

Because greens provide high levels of vitamin K, which is the nutrient involved in the process of blood clotting, those people taking a blood thinner for the treatment of certain heart conditions, should be aware that consuming large amounts of greens could interfere with the effectiveness of their medications.

Final Thoughts 

Collard greens are one of the more delicious varieties of fresh non-heading green leafy vegetables. Whether you like your collards raw in salads, boiled as a side dish, or as an ingredient in a soup, casserole, or quiche, collards are versatile and can be cooked to taste. 

Some people like them cooked in a skillet with a small amount of oil, butter, or bacon drippings; some like them boiled for 45 minutes to an hour with only salt and pepper as seasonings; and some like them cooked up to 2-3 hours with a ham hock, chunks of baked ham, or half a pound of bacon cooked in them for seasoning.

Those of us who either grow collard greens and/or any of the multitudes of different varieties of greens, or have grown them in the past, know that a “bunch” or a “mess” of collard greens is the amount needed to feed the number of people who are going to eat the meal that includes the collard greens. But for those who have never grown nor even picked collard greens, this would be a complete mystery.

However you like them, you can find fresh collards in your local supermarket almost any time of the year, but if you want to grow your own, you are in for a treat when you pick your own young tender collards from your own garden and are able to preserve them by freezing or canning to be enjoyed all year-’round!

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss When Are Turnips in Season? (With State by State Chart).

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