Collard Greens (Collards)

Collard greens – like all greens – are among the most nutrient-dense foods. Collards are loaded with vitamins, minerals (including calcium), and phytochemicals that help our bodies fight cancer.

This table gives the USDA National Nutrient Database values for calcium in collards, kale, and milk. Look! Collards are a great source of calcium!

Note: It’s hard to understand why the calcium in frozen/cooked collards and kale are higher than the calcium in fresh/cooked collards and kale. (I wrote to the USDA and asked them. I am waiting for an answer. When I find out, I’ll post the response here.)

COLLARDS, KALE, MILK – Calcium content

Food Portion size  Calcium (mg)
Collards, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt 1 cup – 190 grams 266
Collards, frozen, chopped, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt 1 cup – 170 grams 357
Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt 1 cup – 130 grams 94
Kale, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt 1 cup – 130 grams 179
Milk, lowfat, fluid, 1% milkfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D 1 cup — 244 grams 305

Note re lowfat milk: I put lowfat milk in this table because it tends to be higher in calcium than whole milk. That’s because manufacturers add milk solids (dry skim milk) to low fat milk in order to make it taste creamier.

I always buy organic collards (and kale), and that’s because these two veggies are listed on the Environmental Working Group’s list of the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies.


I make a batch of collard greens at least twice a week. In fact, they’re one of my go-to vegetables for lunch or dinner AND breakfast – where I serve collards along with scrambled eggs, made with with fresh turmeric and black pepper!

This recipe for lightly steamed collard greens is as simple as it gets – just a few pointers on technique!

Roll the collard leaves lengthwise tightly. Slice the leaves crosswise into rolls of ribbons about 1/2-inch wide and slice the stems into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces. Cut the ribbon rolls in half, and then in half again, if desired. Wash the cut pieces by putting them into a bowl of water and swishing them around; drain off the water and repeat washing with fresh water once or twice more.

Take a large pot with a large steamer basked (a pasta pot, for example) and place the washed and drained collards into the steamer section. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the collards in the pot. (This helps cook the collards evenly as the collards on top of the steamer basket are touched by the boiling water that you pour on, and the collards on the bottom of the steamer basket are more directly in contact with the boiling water below the basket.)

Let the collards steam, covered, for 1-2 minutes. Use a pair of tongs and toss the collards; replace the lid; continue to steam the collards for another 30 seconds to a minute. The collards should be bright green when cooked!

Save the nutrient-rich liquid at the bottom of the steamer pot and use it in cooking, for example in making soups!

More information about collard greens and nutrition, including a few cautions about oxalates and calcium absorption:

Collards like all green leafy vegetables are high in nitrates.

Learn about the nutritional importance of nitrates (and the cancer causing problems of certain nitrates/nitrosamines).

Nutrients important in bone health…
An excellent overview of the the the role of nutrition in bone health: from the Melio Guide website: Nutrition for Bone Health: There’s More Than Just Calcium 

By the way, the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Jillian Lopina of Secondhand Exposure Photography (found here on Facebook  and a blog).

THANK YOU, Jillian!


5 thoughts on “Collard Greens (Collards)

    1. Hi Harriet,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked my blog enough to ask how to subscribe. : – ) So…to subscribe to to the bar right above the top of first post of a page and there you will see a button that’s says “follow.” Just click on that button. I went to your sites and am now following your eatandbeatcancer site myself! Thanks for letting me know about your blogs! Leni

    1. Well, it’s hard to describe…at do you see the black line underneath the grey lines at the top of the page? On the black line, it should say “follow,” and that’s what you click on to follow the monamifood blog. Do you see “follow”?
      You can also follow me on Twitter if you like because I have started to tweet when I put a new post up. I hope this helps!
      And I’m really flattered!

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