When we think of greens, our minds often wander to those delicate salads of summer. But some greens, such as kale, collards, and mustard greens, are hardy enough to survive the colder temperatures of the fall and winter—and are in fact sweeter when grown in cool weather. Collard greens and kale are both essentially headless forms of cabbage that have a bouquet rather than a solid head. Both are wonderful raw in salads, but they reach a whole new level of flavor and sweetness when simmered for an hour (or hours), with or without seasoning meats like smoky ham hocks. While collards and kale have a slightly bitter, cabbage-like taste, mustard greens pack a pungent bite reminiscent of horseradish—a perfect spicy addition to fresh salads and delicious simmered, Japanese style, with sesame oil and rice wine.
HOW TO BUY
A good, healthy green should be firm—meaning the leaves should spring back when you fold them—and deeply green. Avoid those that are wilted or pale or have yellow discoloration.
HOW TO STORE
Wrap greens in damp paper towels, unwashed, and place in a loose paper bag. Store them in the crisper for up to six days.
HOW TO PREPARE
When ready to cook them, remove center ribs and tough stems, and rinse very thoroughly, since dirt tends to get lodged in the leaves' deep crevices. Pat dry with paper towels.