Fresh greens such as collards, mustard, turnip and especially kale, are the new darling of foodies all across the internet. I’ve noticed at the market that as they’ve increased in popularity, they’ve also increased in convenience and cost. It used to be you could only buy them in great bundles and they had to be washed and washed to remove the grit. Now they are available in handy pre-washed, pre-chopped bags. One only need place them in a pot, add a bit of water and steam until tender. Even with the convenience built in, they are still one of the better bargains among fresh vegetables. They’re a nutritional powerhouse, providing vitamins A, C, K and B-complex. Minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium and folate, which is especially good for pregnant women.
Poor Southerners have been eating greens for centuries. Fresh greens, grown in the back garden are by far the tastiest and the cheapest. Not everyone has a back garden though, and not everyone has access to fresh greens, or the space to store them in the fridge. When you live on a budget you get used to doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Ideally I would always have access to fresh greens like Kale, Collards & Mustard Greens. In reality I often have to make due (as in due diligence) with less than ideal circumstances. This means that canned greens visit my dining table more often than the fresh variety.
Walmart’s Great Value brand of canned greens are extremely affordable (65¢ a can at the time of this writing) and low in sodium too. A half cup has only 35mg of sodium. Most brands have 3 times that much. Canned greens are often given away from food banks because people tend to donate odd canned goods that they don’t eat very often. I’ve been guilty of that myself on more than one occasion.
I grew up with greens, from the food bank usually, and then purchased them myself as an adult because I had developed a taste for them. My kids used to call them Horsey Food when they were toddlers. We would pretend to neigh like a horse when we ate them. It made greens more family-friendly, which, if you’ve ever tried to get a reluctant toddler to eat vegetables, you know is a challenge of mammoth proportions.
Since good nutrition is only useful if it tastes good, over the years I’ve developed a number of ways of seasoning canned greens. This is one of them.
Easy Canned Greens
- 1 teaspoon fat of your choice
- 1 small onion (or half a bigger one), sliced
- 15 ounce can turnip greens or any other type of greens
- Dash low-sodium soy sauce
- Dash red pepper flakes
- Pinch black pepper
First peel and slice the onion. Put the fat into a small saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the onion and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant and wilted. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve hot.
Makes 3 moderate servings.
Per Serving: 39 Calories; 2g Fat; 2g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 60mg Sodium.
Calories By Percentage: 39% Fat; 42% Carbohydrate; 19% Protein
Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.