During this “eating time of year,” I follow the wise words of Miss Piggy: “Never eat more than you can lift.” One thing I really try to do is always eat something healthy along with all the junk, and since I only eat one time a day — from morning until I go to sleep — I am constantly looking for a vegetable, lean meat or fruit.

When I was growing up poor in McBee, Christmas to me was the shoe box from my only pair of shoes for the year, full of fruit and a pair of jeans. I still and will always love fruit and keep a large supply during this season. In fact, while I am writing this article I am munching on an apple and a banana.

Also, I try to keep an “ole Melton family tradition” going this time of year by keeping a pot of turnip/mustard/collard greens in the refrigerator most of the time. My wife loves fried collards (because of the bacon grease you cook them in), which is an old tradition of when the pot of collards stays too long to recook them to keep from throwing them out (please don’t tell my wife). As Kermit, Miss Piggy’s boyfriend, would say, “It’s not easy being green,” but it does keep one healthy and regular.

First of all, many folks grow their own greens, including many first-time or new growers.

I have seen very little if any cold damage on the green crop this fall. Collards are typically more cold-tolerant than turnips and mustard, and usually have little damage until the new year. Kale and spinach are rarely damaged by cold, but they are traditionally Northern delicacies. Southerners are beginning to enjoy kale and spinach because of all the high praise and attention they are receiving from nutritionists.

However, I think all this praise is due to the fact that most of these so-called expert nutritionists are from the North and would not know a good collard/turnip/mustard green if it bit them on the buttocks (like Forest Gump would say).

Next, many Fresh Certified SC Growers have done all the work and are waiting for you, as my mama would say, “to pick up your mess of greens.” You are deprived, missing out or just ignorant of Southern delicacies if you are not partaking of these winter delights. Many folks today seem afraid of traditional Southern vegetables. It’s like turnips (lions), mustard (tigers), and collards (bears), “oh my!”

Only Grandma had time to cook them, they will stink up my house, and they give me gas. A pressure cooker works well, quickly, and helps keep down the smell. And like my kids tell me, just take a pill.

Finally, there is a shortcut — just open a can. McCall Farms is canning superb Southern vegetables right here in Florence County. Already washed, cooked and seasoned, they are sold under the brand names Margaret Holmes and Glory and only need to be heated and served. Watch out, Grandma.

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