Collard Greens. Mustard Greens. Turnip Greens. These vegetables are very common and much revered in the South. However, they are almost unheard of in the North. A couple of years ago, in an effort to surprise my new Kentucky-born husband with one of his favorite dishes, I consulted with my stepdaughter (an accomplished Southern cook) to learn exactly how to cook greens. Her recipe called for a chunk of salt pork, which was to be browned in a Dutch oven, and then to add two bunches of greens. After following her instructions to the letter, I proudly presented a small bowl (a huge pile of green shrinks significantly) to my husband. Having never cooked greens, I was unaware of how they should look and taste, and as my husband took his first bite, I could see that he almost choked; those greens were a salty mess! Apparently a bunch of greens in the South is about three times the size of a bunch of greens in the North!
After lots of practice, I have finally learned to make greens correctly. I have even adapted my stepdaughter’s recipe to the slow cooker, and the results are fabulous. If you’re planning to prepare greens, remember that Southern greens are not supposed to be pretty and bright green; if your greens are a bright green color and look appetizing, then you haven’t cooked them enough!
Greens in the slow cooker are a no-brainer; it takes just a minute to put the few ingredients in, and then you can let them cook while you’re at work or relaxing. It is a good idea to weigh the greens, since the size of bunches varies. Greens are especially good served with black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and cornbread.
Slow Cooker Southern Greens
5 ounces salt pork
1 1/2 pounds Southern Greens, such as collard greens, turnip greens, or mustard greens
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper, (or to taste)
1/2 cup water
Cut the salt pork into two slices, about 1/2" thick. Put them on the bottom of the crock of the slow cooker, turn the heat to high, and cover. Let the pork cook on high while preparing the greens, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the greens by washing thoroughly, cutting out the center stem, then cutting into 1" pieces. Rinse again and drain well. Add the greens to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook 4-6 hours or until the greens are tender and are a gray-green color. Remove the salt pork before serving. If you're in a hurry, the greens may be cooked on high for 3-4 hours; stir every hour or so.
If desired, serve with hot pepper vinegar.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222 Calories from Fat 174
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 78% Protein 5% Carb. 16%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 19 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 20 mg
Sodium 401 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 77% Vitamin C 44% Calcium 0% Iron 2%