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Our leafy green vegetables that need a little extra cooking to remove their bitterness and sometimes improve the texture are:

  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard (when its not in season)
  • Dandelion
  • Mustard

The foods that help reduce bitterness are:

  • Salt while cooking and/or while eating (like on bitter salad greens)
  • Sweet or Spicy
  • Sour or Acids like lemon or vinegar
  • Long cooking like braising (think southern collard greens that are cooked for hours)
  • Blanch first

Cooking Styles I most often see:

  • Saute with some fat and a little sausage or bacon
  • Saute with onions and garlic
  • Saute with fruit, nuts and vinegar

My suggestion for when you encounter a really bitter green that you are not ready to eat just sauteed:

  • Blanch in boiling water – this helps to remove the bitterness and soften the greens,
  • Blanch THEN saute with bacon and onions, etc
  • Massage with oil (best with kale for salads and baked chips) if you are going to eat it as a salad

Many recipes just have you chopping the greens and adding them to the frying pan with a little bacon and fat.  If those greens are REALLY bitter and tough, that is not enough to help make those greens taste good. So, blanching in a little hot water for 30 seconds to 1 minute can really help.

Recipes to get you inspired in the kitchen:


These are both sauteed with bacon – sauteed-spring-greens-bacon-and-mustard-seeds – quick-and-simple-stir-fried-kale-and-bacon

Longer Cooking Method with liquid to soften the greens – kickin-collard-greens – ginas-best-collard-greens-recipe


This recipe shows you how to Blanch

Blanched, Squeezed then Frozen Greens to use anytime you need them

How to Massage Kale – how-to-massage-kale


Even MORE Recipes

TONS of kale recipes from Epicurious

Never get bored with Swiss Chard with these recipes from Epicurious


More Wahls recipes and resources from my website:

How to blanch your broccoli so you can have plenty left over for meals

A recipe for Chicken Liver Dip that uses lots of onions and mushrooms to help you get used to the flavor at your own pace

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