Saturday, July 12, 2014

How-to: Collard Wraps


There is no better way to improve your diet while still being able to enjoy really amazing food more than replacing traditional gluten laden breads and wraps with a raw collard green!  Fresh and crisp with a slightly sweet flavor, I have never met a person who didn't fall in love with their first bite of these culinary gems. 
There is a caveat however, a wrap needs to be well made with a solid hold for an ultimate wrap enjoying experience!  Originally, my method was to find the biggest collard leaf I could get my hands on. Imagine digging through stacks of collard bundles in the produce isle! That was me!  Searching for greens that were giant and unbroken (holes were a no no) and often getting lots of questions from fellow shoppers.  "What do you do with those?  I want to eat more collards but I don't know what to do with them."  Quickly followed by, "Oh, so you eat them raw??  Can you do that? How do you do that?"  Vegans spend lots of time in the produce isle and at farmers markets having in depth conversations about the joy and versatility of vegetables! 
Finding the perfect, unblemished leaf is possible but it is much easier to find medium-sized, not so perfect leaves.  What I have leaned is that using TWO medium-sized leaves trumps using one large leaf any day! You get a firmer hold and a more satisfying bite when you layer two leaves. I'll show you how!

To wash your collard greens, fill a container with cold filtered water and add a bit of white vinegar.  Soak the greens for about 10 minutes then rinse.  This method can also be used for washing kale.  It's great to use vinegar because it encourages those little critters, aphids and caterpillars, to let go and be easily washed away.  If your produce is organic, you know what I'm talking about :)

Using a knife, remove the stem from the leaf where it attached.

This step is very important! This is where the transformation begins.  By shaving the stem down so that it is flush with the leaf, the collard will be able to bend without breaking!  If you skip this step, the leaf with split and break open when you try to wrap it.  Try to shave as close as possible without tearing through.
Lay the leaves in an overlapping fashion with their bottoms toward each other.  Shiny side down, just like with nori, so that the outside of your wrap will look smooth and pretty.  If your leaves have holes in them, try to overlap where the holes are so that the dressing doesn't squeeze out when you eat it.
Add your filling to the middle.  If you get it too full, it won't roll easily.  This is something where practice makes perfect. 
Now, we wrap just like a burrito.  Fold in one end then fold in the other.  Then roll your wrap making sure to tuck in any loose edges.  Roll it tightly to get a good hold. 
I usually take my finished wrap and wrap it up in a wet paper towel and refrigerate for about 1/2-1 hour to allow the shape and hold to really settle in. However, this isn't necessary and you can eat it right away if you like.
Slice in the middle and it is ready!!  Enjoy and happy wrapping!

Thank you for checking out my Collard Wrap How-to!! I hope you have mastered the art of collard wrapping and can now go on to enjoy many fully raw wraps!

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