Tar Heel Kitchen: Tar Heel Greens

by | Nov 12, 2015

Turnip Greens (27)Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist. These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week we are revisiting the May 1, 1985 issue and a classic fix to turnip greens.

Many Thanksgiving tables feature a giant bowl of greens. If you are like many of us Generation Xers, this dish was fixed by your grandmother, meaning you may have never prepared fresh turnip greens yourself. Barbara “Babs” Minter Wilkinson, former NCDA&CS home economist, offered the follow advice when picking out greens.

“When shopping for greens, regardless of which variety, look for leaves that are fresh, of good green color, crisp, moist, clean and cold,” she said. “When you arrive home from hand picking your greens at the market, discard any bruised, wilted, or yellowed leaves and cut off tough or dried stem ends. Remember to wash the greens thoroughly to remove sand and dirt particles. This is done by lifting yours greens out of the water and repeat washing until no grit settles to the bottom of the pan.”

Salt pork should be available at your local grocery store (ask for it at the meat section). These greens turned out delicious and taste just like grandma’s. My grandmother would chop hers up into tiny pieces, but I liked the longer leaf length. All our test kitchen was missing was a little pepper vinegar or chow chow.

Tar Heel Greens

  • 1 bunch (3 ½ pounds) turnip greens, cleaned
  • ½ pound salt pork, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

Place turnip greens, salt pork, salt and water to cover in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 ½ hours. Add potatoes; cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.