Here's how to keep your fresh green vegetables a bright green color!
Have you ever made a big pot of greens, green beans, spinach or broccoli only to have it turn into a drab olive-green color?
Not very appetizing, huh? Here are a few easy solutions to keep your greens green!
Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, collards, in fact, most green vegetables turn a drab olive green color upon cooking.
Here's why that happens and how to avoid it when preparing green vegetables.
What Causes Green Vegetables to Discolor?
All plants (fruits and vegetables) have pigments-it's what gives them their vibrant colors.
Chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green pigment in vegetables, is not very heat stable. The minute a green vegetable hits the hot water, organic acids are released from the vegetables.
These acids react with the chlorophyll and turn the once beautiful green vegetable into a drab olive color. This is due to several factors:
- the amount of liquid
- degree of acidity and alkalinity
- the duration of cooking time
- oxygen: covered vs. uncovered
How to Cook Collard, Turnip and Mustard Greens
It is important to prep fresh greens with a good wash. Rinse fresh greens thoroughly a few times.
Remove the center stem and cut, or tear the remaining leaves into smaller pieces.
The best way to prepare bright green vegetables is to ensure there is plenty of water. Use enough water to cover the greens by at 1"inch.
Add ½ tablespoon of baking soda per 6 cups of water. The baking soda balances the pH of the water and greens.
Add greens to stockpot; add water and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Leave the lid off to allow the organic acids and gases to escape.
Replace the lid and continue to cook on medium to medium-high heat until greens are tender (but not mushy,) with a mild crunch.
Cooking greens in a lot of water, with a little baking soda, and for a short amount of time ensures bright greens every time. There's no need to cook green all day.
Southern Greens (Collard, Mustard, Turnip) Recipe
- 1 lbs greens , mixed, turnip, collard -See Recipe Notes
- 1 smoked ham hock 1 large smoked ham hock, smoked turkey leg or bacon strips (6) See Recipe Notes
- water start with 3-4 cups water per pound of raw greens; See Recipe Notes ;
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder , or ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- pepper sauce , white pepper vinegar; to taste
- salt and pepper ,to taste
- Wash greens thoroughly. At least 3 times (disregard if using pre-washed greens)1 lbs greens
- Cut away core stalk; chop or tear into small bite size pieces
- In a large stockpot, add protein, (and chopped onion - optional), water and seasonings to pot; cover and allow to simmer for 1 hour; See Recipe Notes1 smoked ham hock, water, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Add greens and white vinegar; stir well; allow to cook 5-8 minutes with the lid off1 lbs greens, 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Place lid on stockpot and allow to simmer until greens are tender
- Add salt, pepper and pepper vinegar to tastesalt and pepper, pepper sauce