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If you do not live in the southern United States, then you may never have tasted collard greens. They're a naturally hearty and slightly tough, leafy vegetable often paired with fried chicken, honey-glazed ham or roasted pork. Eaten alone, they can impart a bitter taste. To cut the bitterness of these greens, you will need to soften it by cooking it several hours and adding a few common ingredients you can find in your kitchen cupboard or refrigerator. Follow these four easy steps and you'll be good to go!

Bring a soup pot filled with water and 1/2 pound of ham hocks to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 1 hour.

Place washed greens into the soup pot and cook for an additional hour.

Taste the greens. If they are too bitter for your taste, add a teaspoon or two of salt or lemon juice. Mix the greens, ham hocks and water. Continue adding a teaspoon of salt or lemon juice and tasting until the bitterness is cut.

Continue cooking until the greens are soft. Total cooking time should be between 1 and 2 hours.

Tip

A dousing of vinegar complements and subdues collard greens' naturally tangy taste.

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About the Author

Vera Leigh

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.