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“Push the week” with collards

March 7, 2012

For many years I helped a local herb grower sell plants at the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market during spring madness – when gardeners were giddy and itching to dig in the soil and get a good start on growing things. In addition to herbs, we sold an extensive variety of tomatoes, peppers and greens. Collards often sold out in the morning. When I asked “collard customers” how they cooked this esteemed vegetable, those who migrated to our northern climes from southern regions waxed nostalgic about the greens and how they cooked them with various parts of hog. For East African customers, collards were the closest thing to what Swahili-speaking people call “sukuma wiki” – which literally means “to push the week.” If you were low on funds, the ubiquitous sukuma wiki, generally cooked with tomato and onion, could get you through the week. Sukuma wiki with ugali (maize meal mush) was a traditional staple of the Kenyan diet. Like kale, collard greens have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and are very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and relatively high in calcium. And one cup chopped, cooked collards contain 4g protein. Who knew pushing the week could be so good for you?

If your week needs a push, check out the Kitchen Gardeners (KG) website for cooking Sukuma wiki Kenyan-style. KG also has an interesting mission to boot.

Here’s another recipe featuring collard greens, Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux, from Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (Perseus Books, 2009) by Bryant Terry.

Source: Recipes – The Splendid Table

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