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The word "collard" is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word "colewart",
although the vegetable originated in the Middle East. Julius Caesar is said
to have eaten a plateful of undoubtedly organic collards after a heavy Roman
banquet in order to stave off dyspepsia.
An heirloom collard varietal called Green Glaze, developed from a cabbage of the same name developed by David Landreth of Philadelphia in 1820, has naturally waxy leaves which give it natural protection from cabbage worms.
In the U.S., collard greens have traditionally been associated with Southern and African-American cuisine, although collard cultivation is not unique to any particular part of the country. Collards are commonly cooked with ham, salt-pork, or bacon, but can also work well in egg dishes such as quiche, much as spinach or swiss chard are.
Because the midribs of collards can be tough, it's a good idea to remove them before cooking. Collards are phenomenally rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and are a good plant source of calcium.