Caveman Turnip Greens

Caveman Turnip Greens with a side of ripe pear slices

A friend of mine offered me some turnip greens out of her garden last week.  I’ve never fixed turnip greens before, but love the ones I get at Cracker Barrel and said “yes!”  She brought me a plastic-grocery-bag bag half full of turnip greens.  That’s a lot of turnip greens.

Saturday morning I had time to deal with them, so I emptied out my sink and filled it with water.  There were lots of bugs; she doesn’t spray her veggies, which is the way I’d want it.  After their first bath I decided to wash each leaf individually, to make sure I got all the bugs and most of the dirt.  Ended up washing them a total of 4 times.

Then I found a webpage with a sort-of recipe, which I followed.  The page suggested taking out all the veins in the center of the greens, so I hand-removed each vein from its leaf.  This is rather time-consuming, considering all the leaves I had to work with.  It’s a good thing I had all Saturday to play around with it.

And here’s what I did next, after the turnip greens were all washed and de-veined:

Get the biggest soup pot you’ve got; fill it half full to 2/3 full of water. 
Get the water boiling.
Put the turnip greens in and when the water returns to a boil, turn the flame down to a gentle simmer.  Put the lid on and let that simmer for a couple of hours.  (Don’t let the pot go dry!)
When the greens have changed color to a nice avocado (see the picture) they’re probably ready.

I took mine out and put them in a different pan, and saved all the water and froze it.  (See below.)

In the smaller pan I added to the greens:

1/3 cup coconut oil
3 pieces of uncured Canadian bacon (I didn’t have a ham hock handy)
1 tsp turmeric

and let that cook for another half hour, 45 minutes, on a gentle heat

And that’s it!  The greens were delicious.  I had two batches of leftovers and they were as good-tasting today as they were on Saturday.

As far as saving the water: one website I read said that “back in the day” during Civil War times, the slaves were given all the water from cooking greens and that probably saved their lives. There is so much healthy-for-you stuff in there, that the writer of that webpage says s/he always saves the water, freezes it for use in the winter, and come winter, whenever someone in the family is ill, has the flu, whatever, s/he’ll take them that water and have them drink it. They’re feeling fine in just a few days.


About Susan Bame

Writer, Mediator, Facilitator, Teacher, fascinated with indigenous forms of conflict resolution. I love watching people become empowered. I have a master's degree in conflict resolution and a personal interest in organic food, detoxing and healing the body, alternative holistic approaches to health, self-empowerment and win-win solutions through mediation, Structured Water™, and energetic healing. I lived on the Omaha Reservation in northeast Nebraska for ten years, worked with Native families in the area, and have a great interest in Native history, culture, practices, traditions, stories, and current affairs. View all posts by Susan Bame

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