What To Look For When Picking The Freshest Collard Greens

While leafy greens deserve a lasting spot in your diet, they are highly susceptible to going bad, seemingly in the blink of an eye. In fact, registered dietitian Andrew Wade told the blog Cheapism that leafy greens like collard greens need more nutrients than most other fruits and veggies to stay fresh and so, they are also the quickest to spoil. Time is not on their side, but knowledge can be on yours.

There are several ways to ensure that the collard greens that you've just bought stay fresh for the longest possible time. You could store them properly in a refrigerator — raw and unwashed — or clean, blanch, and freeze the greens (via Still Tasty). Frozen collards may stay fresh for at least a year, but raw collard greens will only live for four to five days in the refrigerator even when stored the right way. Do you want to find yourself making big batches of southern-style collard greens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just to make use of them before they spoil?

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about fresh collard greens' short lifespan. What you can do, though, is make sure that you're picking the best and freshest ones possible.

Look for blemish-free leaves

It might help to think like a farmer when trying to pick top-notch produce. According to Vegetarian Times, Brick Goldman from Virginia-based Goldman Farms said that in the case of collard greens, you should try to find "nice green leaves with no blemishes. Look for leaves that aren't wilted, then you know they're fresh." That means brown or yellow patches are red flags. According to GreenStar Food Co+op, you also want to pick greens that are still firm. Collard greens do well in cold weather, and you'll find leaves of the best quality between January and April.

According to Goldman, the greens will be just fine inside a zip-top bag in the fridge for up to five days. GreenStar Food Co+op recommends putting them in storing them in a damp paper towel inside the bag. Fresh collard greens when tend to have dirt on them, so make sure to get them nice and clean by submerging the leaves in water before using them.