Nutritionists call collards a perfect food, offering nearly everything you need to survive. While they're easy to grow year round in Daufuskie's climate, winter collards are sweeter and more tender. Besides, they were the only thing, other than turnips and rutabagas, in our winter garden. Momma called them "greens fo' da soul." She would cook up a batch for nearly every Sunday dinner--with fried chicken, red rice and tada salad. Church was at noon and dinner followed at 2:00 or 3:00. If Momma didn't go to church, she'd be finishing the meal when we walked in the door. If Momma did go, she'd get up early and cook, then have dinner waiting on the back burner. As we walked into the yard, the simmering collards would greet us with their distinct aroma. We couldn't change out of our Sunday clothes fast enough to sit down to Momma's collards (not to mention the rest of the meal).
Cut the collards into 1- to 2-inch pieces, wash them in warm to hot water at least 2 or 3 times, then leave them in warm water until needed. Place all the meat in a large pot, 2/3 filled with water, cover then boil 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain the water and refill the pot; then cover and boil the meat again for about 1 hour.
Drain the collards; add them to the cooked meat and stock, along with the onion, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the whole potful for another 30 to 45 minutes. Some people like greens cooked less, so they're chewy. The longer you cook them, the more tender they get. Serve alone, over rice, grits or potatoes, or as a side dish.