Place water in a large pot. Add red pepper and bones or hocks and simmer for about 1 hour while preparing greens.
To prepare greens, discard damaged or yellow parts of leaves. Cut away tough stems from each leaf and wash collards thoroughly until rinse water is clear of dirt or grit. Collard leaves are large and usually require cutting before cooking. To do so, fold leaf in half at its center vein, fold over once or twice, then cut in half with scissors or knife. Add remaining ingredients to bones in boiling water, then add greens. Cover and cook rapidly for about 30 minutes or until greens are tender but firm. Best served with diced raw onions and vinegar.
Recipe courtesy Norma Jean Harden; Spoonbread Catering