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How to Thin & Harvest Greens for Easier Cleaning

Thinning and cleaning greens has never been so easy!

Thinning and cleaning greens has never been so easy!

I adore rows of mustards, collards, and turnips growing in the garden without competition from weeds or stray grass. It’s beauty is irreplaceable in the early morning as the sun first begins to appear.

Rows of plants give me a little order in my life of managed chaos!

Aside from the beauty of the thriving mixed greens, they are winter’s gift to the table! They are perfect as a stand-alone meal sopped with cornbread, or an addition to hearty soups, a side dish, or simples a flavorful bed for meats.

You can find these recipes in my latest book HERE.

Collard greens are among my favorite winter vegetable and they are incredibly easy to prepare. You can cook every part of this vegetable from the leaf to the root.

Fresh greens are out of this world if prepared correctly, but many feel that are not worth the effort. Having to toil over a sink, rinsing time and time again every leaf, can leave the busy in quite a dilemma. “Should I just purchase a bag of pre-washed greens at the supermarket? I’d sure save time in the long-run,” you may ask yourself. The answer is a resounding NO! Don’t do it. Greens straight from the garden, especially the tender ones you get during thinning, are sweet and delicious. There’s just nothing like them. If you don’t already grow them, learn how here.

Cleaning greens shouldn’t be a dreaded chore. I have a few tips for thinning and harvesting mustards, collards, and turnips that make cleaning them easier.

Mustard Greens taste best after a frost!

Mustard Greens taste best after a frost!

As I was thinning out the greens to make more room for better growth this year, I pulled every fourth tender green and placed them in my hand as you would a bouquet of flowers.

Thinning the greens helps them to grow more fully and healthy. To think collards, mustards, and turnips remove about 1/4 of the greens as consistently as possible.

Thinning the greens helps them to grow more fully and healthy. To think collards, mustards, and turnips remove about 1/4 of the greens as consistently as possible.

The greens were absolutely stunning and would have been perfect for an arrangement, but I had a task at hand to accomplish – to put food on my table.

Cut leaves of collards, mustards, and turnips well away from the roots and dirt leaving only leaves for easier cleaning.

Cut leaves of collards, mustards, and turnips well away from the roots and dirt leaving only leaves for easier cleaning.

Instead of shaking the greens to release dirt from the roots and then throwing them ┬áinto a basket, I held the bouquet’s leaves over the basket.

Less dirt, less time for cleaning and more time for eating! Easy tips for harvesting collards.

Less dirt, less time for cleaning and more time for eating! Easy tips for harvesting collards.

I then cut the greens on the stem right above my hand, leaving only the leaves with out the dirty stem!! The roots and dirt I placed in the compost bin.

Fresh Greens, No Dirt!

Fresh Greens, No Dirt!

I followed my easy cleaning ritual and found that my newly found thinning and cutting method drastically cut down on my cleaning time which resulted in eating sooner!! Now, who wouldn’t love that?

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