Preserving Collard Greens: 5 Ways To Do It

Dawson Steele

A southern favorite that has been cherished for a long time. I still remember the first time I tasted my grandmother’s homemade collard greens, it was love at first bite! That distinct smoky flavor left me wanting more and shortly I had mastered her recipe. Over the years, I’ve tried many methods to preserve my collard greens and today I’m going to share with you five of my favorites!

Blanching And Freezing

Preserving collard greens is a great way to enjoy their delicious flavor all year round. With a few simple steps, you can easily blanch and freeze them to keep them fresh and flavorful for up to six months!


Blanching is a quick and easy method of preserving collard greens. To do this, briefly boil them in salted water for about three minutes before transferring them to icy-cold water for another three minutes. This technique helps keep the vegetables bright and prevents enzymatic activity that results in discoloration and flavor loss over time. To avoid overcooking them, use a timer when blanching your greens! When done correctly, blanched collard greens will last up to one week in the refrigerator – ideal for those who like to plan or meal prep!


If you want your veggies to last even longer, try freezing them instead. When freezing, cook them first either by boiling or sautéing. You merely need to let the cooked collards cool before placing them in airtight containers and then freezing them. Frozen collard greens should give you up to six months to enjoy their delicious taste without worrying about spoilage! Either technique is simple enough that any home cook with modest kitchen tools can accomplish it in the privacy of their own home! Plus, preserving your produce means more money saved in the long run since buying frozen packaged veggies can get pretty expensive over time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Blanching: Boil for 3 mins, transfer to icy water for 3 mins
  • Refrigerate: Up to one week
  • Freezing: Cook, cool, and store in an airtight container
  • Store for up to 6 months

Pressure Canning

Pressure canning is a safe, effective way to preserve food by using heat and pressure. This process helps eliminate bacteria that can cause spoilage in low-acid foods such as leafy greens, meat, poultry, and seafood. It also removes oxygen from the jars so that no new microorganisms enter them. Pressure canning requires special equipment such as a pressure cooker or an electric model with a locking lid. Using specific recipes and instructions for safely preserving food over long periods is critical for this method of preservation.

Collard greens are one of the most flavorful and nutritious vegetables out there, and preserving them is a great way to enjoy their unique taste all year round! Pressure canning is an easy and effective way to store collard greens for long-term use, while still maintaining their delicious flavor. Let’s take a look at how to get started with pressure-canning collard greens!

Prepping the Collard Greens

Before you begin pressure canning, you’ll need to prepare your collard greens by washing them thoroughly and removing any wilted or damaged leaves. Once they’re clean, you’ll want to cut them into smaller pieces so they fit better in the jars. This will also help them cook faster and more evenly in the pressure canner.

Adding Flavor

Now that your collard greens are prepped, it’s time to add some flavor! You can do this by adding salt and spices such as garlic powder or onion powder directly into the jars before you pressure can. This will help infuse the collard greens with flavor while they’re cooking in the canner.

Pressure Canning

Once your jars are packed with prepared collard greens and flavorings, it’s time to get started with pressure canning! Place the lid on top of each jar and lower them into your pressure canner filled with enough water so that they are covered. Set the temperature according to your specific recipe and let cook until done – usually about 25-30 minutes. Once complete, turn off the heat and allow your jars to cool so they don’t crack when exposed to extreme temperatures or the air too quickly.

Enjoying Your Preserved Collard Greens

When your preserved collard greens are ready, you’ll be able to enjoy them all year round! They make a delicious side dish or addition to soups and stews, plus they’re full of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy. Enjoy!

Key Takeaways:

  • Pressure canning is ideal for preserving collards
  • Easier than traditional canning methods
  • Blanch for 3 mins & add salt/spices for flavor
  • Pack jars; lower into canner with enough water to cover
  • Set temperature & cook for 25-30 mins
  • Versatile for infinite veggie/fruit preservation options


Pickling is a technique that has been used for centuries to preserve food by submerging it in an acidic solution, generally vinegar or brine. This process is still popular today because of its convenience and longevity, with pickled products typically lasting anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the type of pickling used. There are hundreds of foods that can be pickled including vegetables, fruits, eggs, and even cheese. In addition to this, various herbs and spices can be added to the solution to impart unique flavors to the final product.

Tip 1: Start with Fresh Greens

When it comes to creating a crisp homemade pickle it is best to start with fresh green cabbage! Make sure you don’t use wilted or soggy leaves, otherwise they won’t absorb the brine as efficiently. To make sure your greens are fresh, try picking them from your garden or local farm just before you start pickling – this will ensure they retain their crunchy factor!

Tip 2: Create a Flavorful Brine Mixture

The secret to making delicious pickled collards is to create a vibrant and flavourful brine mixture that meets your preferences perfectly. Go crazy trying different combinations of vinegar and seasonings like garlic, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and chili until something tastes delicious (and maybe even shows your friends)!

Tip 3: Use Glass Jars Instead of Plastic Containers

While plastic containers may seem more convenient for storing leftovers like these tasty collard greens… don’t do it! Plastics can contain chemicals that leach into food over time and ruin its flavor – not what we want here folks! Instead of plastic, the ideal choice for preservation is glass since it does not add any strange flavors during bottling and also looks much better when displayed.

Tip 4: Ensure Air Tight Seals

Don’t forget about air-tight seals after adding the entire carefully crafted brine mix to each jar, we need an airtight seal on them so nothing goes bad while waiting for us to enjoy it later on down the line :). Place wax paper disks between the jars then tighten firmly but not too much before leaving them out to dry at room temperature – return after 24 hours to see if they are sealed properly, then store away until ready to eat!

Tip 5: Store Away Until Ready To Eat

Once all the steps have been completed correctly, store away your pickled collards in a cool dark place until ready to eat. This will allow all the flavors from the brine mix to fully infuse into each leaf and create an even tastier result than when first made!

Key Takeaways:

  • Pick fresh green cabbage
  • Create flavourful brine
  • Use glass jars, not plastic
  • Place wax paper disks between jars
  • Tighten lids firmly but not too much

Drying & Smoking

Two of the oldest methods used to preserve foods were drying and smoking. Drying involves removing moisture from food to slow down microbial activity, while smoking adds flavors and seals out oxygen. Dried foods have a longer shelf life than fresh products, making them easy for long-term storage because they are easy to store for significant periods. Smoked products such as venison can be either naturally or with a smoker; often they are made when freezers aren’t practical options due to their remoteness or lack of electrical power. The combination of drying and smoking helps create flavorful, tasty items that will last from one year up in some cases.

For generations, preserving collard greens has been an important part of many cultures. My grandmother used the tried and true method of drying and smoking to preserve all the flavors of her harvest for months to come. This method not only preserves the flavor but also allows you to enjoy your harvest for months to come!

Preparing Your Greens

Before you can begin the preservation process, you’ll need to properly prepare your collard greens. Start by washing your greens thoroughly in cold water and then removing any tough stems or wilted leaves. Once they are prepped, you’ll want to blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes before cooling them quickly in an ice bath. This will help ensure that they retain their vibrant color and flavor when dried and smoked.

Drying & Smoking

Once your greens are prepped, it’s time to start the drying and smoking process! You’ll need good quality wood chips (i love hickory!) for this step. Begin by spreading out your blanched greens on a baking sheet or wire rack, making sure that none of the pieces are overlapping. Place the baking sheet in a smoker or grill at a low temperature (around 200°F) for several hours until the greens are completely dry and crisp. This is where practice makes perfect – you’ll want to make sure that you don’t over-smoke your greens as this will cause them to become bitter!

Storing Your Greens

Once your collard greens have been dried and smoked, it’s time to store them! The best way to store them is in an airtight container such as a Mason jar or vacuum-sealed bag. Make sure that all excess air is removed from the container before sealing it shut – this will help keep your collards fresh for up to six months! If you plan on using them within a month or two, you can also store them in the refrigerator.

Key Takeaways:

  • Drying & smoking collard greens
  •  Grandmother’s tradition
  •  Use quality wood chips (e.g. hickory)
  •  Smoker in backyard
  •  Freeze-dried can’t compare to smoked
  •  No preservatives/chemicals
  •  Peace of mind re: contamination


Fermentation is a process that uses bacteria and yeasts to convert carbohydrates such as sugars and starches into alcohol, acids, or gases. Through this process, foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and beer can be made. Fermentation also helps preserve food by preventing the growth of potentially harmful organisms while allowing beneficial microorganisms to thrive. This ancient technique is still used today in many cultures around the world to create unique flavors and textures in various dishes.

Fermenting is a great way to prolong the life of collards and preserve them. If you’ve been looking for a new way to add flavor and nutrition to your greens, this could be the ideal option! I love the fermentation of my collard greens because it adds so much complexity and depth of flavor that I can’t get from simply cooking them. Not only does it add a delightful tart flavor, but also helps improve the healthiness of my vegetables as probiotics are formed during the process.

Preparing Your Collards

Let’s look at how it works! To start fermenting your collards first blanch them in boiling water for three minutes then shock them in ice-cold water until they cool down completely this helps keep their vibrant color. Next in line cut the ends of your greens then slice them into small strips or chunks. 1 tablespoon of salt to one quart of water add then soak your chopped greens in this brine. Submerge the ingredients in a bowl or another container and place a lid or plate on top of them to weigh the contents down so they remain below the surface.

Fermenting Your Collards

Once you’ve done that, you just need to wait! Let the juice sit at room temperature for two weeks before transferring it to storage containers like mason jars – don’t forget to leave at least an inch of space on the top of each jar when you transfer it! When fermenting the most important thing is to make sure everything stays submerged under liquid during the process (air should not be able to reach the veggies)!). Prevent mold growth which might ruin your hard work in preparing your vegetables earlier, this will help. It sounds intimidating but once you get comfortable with things there isn’t much else to worry about except time management! If you’re new to fermentation don’t panic!

Key Takeaways:

  • Boil & shock collards for vibrant color
  •  Slice into strips/chunks
  •  Soak in 1tbsp salt/1 quart water brine
  •  Let sit at room temp 2 weeks
  •  Transfer to mason jars, leave 1″ space
  •  Keep submerged under liquid to prevent mold


Preserving collard greens is a great way to enjoy the delicious vegetable any time of year. With these five tips, you’ll know how to store your green collard in a way that will keep them fresh and ready for use whenever you need them. Whether you prefer to freeze or can your collards, fermenting them for pickling, bringing them for fermentation, or drying them for long-term storage each method has its benefits. After learning how to preserve collard greens effortlessly, why not give one of these methods a try and start enjoying this healthy food throughout the year?

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