The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat collard. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What collard etiquette is

Collard etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat collard. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve collard to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat collard at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat collard

What you should know about collard

Collard is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It is common in the southern United States and is a staple in traditional dishes.

Collard leaves are large and have a dark green color. They have a slightly coarse texture and a mild, earthy flavor. The leaves are usually cooked until tender and can be slightly bitter.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat collard

1) How to store collard

The ideal temperature to store collard is between 32-40°F (0-4°C). In the pantry, store collard in a cool, dry place. In the fridge, wrap it in a damp paper towel and store it in a plastic bag for up to one week. To freeze the collard, blanch the collard leaves for 2-3 minutes, then drain, cool, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 8 months.

Store sliced or cooked collard in an airtight container in the fridge and consume it within 3 to 4 days.

2) How to clean collard

To clean the collard, rinse the leaves under cold running water and pat them dry with a paper towel. There are no significant risks associated with cleaning collard.

When the collard turns bad, it will have a yellow or brown color, and the leaves will be wilted and slimy. The smell will also be unpleasant.

3) How to prepare & cook collard

Collard can be eaten raw or cooked. To prepare collard for cooking, remove the tough stem, chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces, and wash them thoroughly. Common cooking methods include steaming, sautéing, and boiling. The most common utensils to use when cooking collard include a pot, skillet, or steamer basket.

Collard is common in Southern-style dishes, such as collard greens. It is also be used in stir-fries, soups, and stews.

Collard is not very common in salads and sandwiches. You can blend it into juices and smoothies. It is suitable for guests on vegan, keto, and paleo diets.

4) How to serve & present collard

Collard is appropriate for both formal and informal occasions and can be served as a side dish, main course, appetizer, or dessert. It is not commonly served for breakfast or brunch.

To serve collard, it is best to present it in a shallow dish or bowl. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to serve the collard. The ideal serving temperature for collard is warm, but it can also be served at room temperature.

Seasonings and accompaniments that complement collard include olive oil, vinegar, and hot sauce.

5) Food and wine to pair collard with

Collard pairs well with vegetables such as sweet potatoes, onions, and peppers. Fruits that pair well with collard include apples, pears, and cranberries. Avoid pairing collard with fruits that are too sweet, such as tropical fruits.

Collard goes well with cheese and dairy. The best cheese pairings include feta, goat cheese, and cheddar. Avoid pairing collard with overly strong cheeses, such as blue cheese.

Collard goes well with smoked meats, bacon, and ham. It can also pair with grilled or roasted chicken, beef, and lamb. Avoid pairing collard with overly spicy or strongly flavored meats. Collard pairs well with mild-flavored fish, such as tilapia or cod.

When it comes to wine pairings, collard greens pair well with a variety of red and white wines. For red wine, a light-bodied Pinot Noir or Beaujolais is a good choice, while for white wine, a dry Sauvignon Blanc or a buttery Chardonnay works well. Sparkling wine and rosé can also be good options. Beer or spirits can also pair with collard greens, depending on the dish. It is best to avoid heavy, tannic red wines, which can overpower the delicate flavors of collard greens.

6) How to eat collard

It is best to eat collard greens with a fork and knife. It is also acceptable to use your fingers if you’re eating them as part of a sandwich or wrap. You can eat the entire leaf, although you may want to discard any tough stems or thick veins.

Collard etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common collard etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Serving collard greens without thoroughly cleaning them first
  • 6/10. Overcooking collard, which can result in a mushy texture and unappetizing appearance.

Additional information for properly serving collard

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Collard greens are a low-calorie vegetable, with approximately 11 calories per 1/2 cup cooked serving, and about 33 calories per 100 grams. A single collard green leaf contains around 5-6 calories.

How to buy the best collard

A crucial factor in collard etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Collard greens are typically available all year round in most regions, although they may be more abundant in the fall and winter. The best season to buy collard greens depends on your location and local growing conditions.

Choose the best

Collard greens can be found in commerce in several forms, including fresh, canned, and frozen. You can typically buy fresh collard greens in bunches or bags, while canned collard greens are available pre-cooked and seasoned. Frozen collard greens are also available and can be a convenient option for quick meals.

The most popular varieties of collard greens in commerce include Georgia, Vates, and Morris Heading. While all three varieties are similar in appearance and flavor, Georgia collards are known for their large leaves, while Morris Heading collards have a more compact growth habit.

When buying collard greens, look for leaves that are firm and brightly colored, without any brown or yellow spots. The stems should be fresh and pliable, without any signs of wilting. Avoid leaves that are wilted or yellowed, as this can be a sign of age or poor quality.

Alternatives to collard

Some common alternatives to collard greens include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens. These leafy greens can be used in many of the same dishes as collard greens, and offer similar nutritional benefits.