The most common greens eaten in the South are collards, mustards and turnips. All of these are greens in the cabbage family that do not form a compact head. Southerners love their greens and in the South a large quanity of greens (enough to serve a family) is commonly referred to as a 'mess o' greens'. The exact quantity that constitutes a 'mess' varies with the size of the family.
The traditional way to cook greens is to simmer them slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a few hours until they are tender. Typically greens are served with freshly baked corn bread to dip into the potlikker, which is the highly concentrated vitamin-filled broth left over in the pot. According to folklore, collards served with black-eyed peas and hog jowl on New Year's Day promises a year of good luck and financial reward.