How To Get Rid Of The Bitter Taste In Collard Greens

Collard greens are an integral part of Southern cuisine, but are sometimes tough to find above the Mason-Dixon line (via The Spruce Eats). They come from the same vegetable family as turnips and kale and they make for a great side dish for barbecue or fried chicken. 

Because they're a bit of an "unusual" and location-specific vegetable, you may not have a go-to recipe to prepare them if you are able to find them at your grocer. As a result, they may turn out bitter, which is to be expected as bitterness is a natural component to the greens' flavor — although there is a way to temper this. Though the large leaves and thick stems may seem intimidating, collard greens are quite easy to cook and you'll be even more inspired to whip up a batch once you've mastered making them without any bitterness (via Dining With Debbie).

How to cook your collard greens so that they're not bitter

Two simple things must happen to remove the bitterness from the greens. For one, you have to cook them for a long time. A very long time. Somewhere between one and two hours is typically appropriate depending on the size of the batch (via LeafTV). 

It may seem counterintuitive to cook a leafy green for such a long time. Spinach or arugula would certainly not benefit from such a preparation and some might be worried about "cooking the nutrients out of the greens," but that's simply how collard greens are done.

The next step that has to happen to remove the bitterness is to add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix the pot thoroughly and taste the greens. If they are still too bitter, add another teaspoon of salt and lemon juice, stir, taste, and repeat until the bitterness is gone.