If you do not live in the southern United States, then you may never have tasted collard greens. Collard greens are 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.

Things You'll Need

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.


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