Friday, October 17, 2008

Turnip Greens - A Southern Favorite

We harvested our first turnip greens of the season yesterday. The recent rain has definitely had an effect on the garden. In just a couple of days, the greens have jumped from the ground and are ready for the first harvest. About a month ago, the seeds were planted, a mixture of turnip, kale and mustard. It was a slow start due to the lack of rain, but now they are flourishing. I've always heard that you had to wait until frost kissed the greens to harvest, but my desire to have some for dinner led to the decision to pick a "mess" for dinner.

Greens can be a real pain in the you know what to pick and cook. First of all, you have to pick a lot for a meal. When you think you have enough, then pick more! The greens were very young and tender so I was careful when picking to only get the tops and leave the stems. Wash the greens in a sink of cold water, removing them from the water to allow the grit and sand to sink to the bottom. You may have to do this a couple of times. Since I picked these while the greens were young and tender, there was no need to remove the stems.
Once the greens are clean, place in a dutch oven with about 3-4 inches of water in the pan. It will look like you have enough greens to feed an army, but trust me, you don't! Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring to until the greens cook down.
Now it is time to season the greens with salt, pepper, a tablespoon of sugar, and some fat. Traditionally in the South, we use fat back, also known as streak o' lean or salt pork, a fat cut of pork from the belly, back or sides, cured by salting. Fry the fat back until crispy and brown and add the drippings to the greens.
Continue to simmer the greens until tender. Since the greens were young and tender, they were ready to eat in about 3o minutes. Our meal was simple - greens, crowder peas and cornbread. Kenny topped his greens with Sweet Tomato Relish while I opted for the Green Tomato Relish and, if I say so myself, it was delicious!


  1. They look very fresh and healthy! I wish i could have my own garden but such is the challenge of city living. i am envious of your harvest. :)

  2. If you are ever in Georgia, stop by for some greens!

  3. Hello Susan, pleased to meet you. I love all this southern food,(not too sure about weenies though!) these turnip greens sound fantastic. There are similar types of 'greens' available here on the markets. I hope you enjoy your trip to Italy, thanks for stopping by our blog.