Should you be drinking pot liquor?

Should you be drinking pot liquor?

Wait! Before you toss your pot liquor — the juice left-over from cooked collard, kale or turnip greens — think again. You could be throwing away the most nutritious part of the dish.

At first glance, this heavily-seasoned, sometimes bitter by-product of boiled greens (or green beans) may seem inedible. But, like the leafy greens that give this broth its dark green color, pot liquor is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and iron. And while old-timers used to chug it as a tonic, some of today’s modern Southern chefs use pot liquor to elevate the flavors of other dishes.

“While there isn’t much scientific research on the health benefits of pot liquor, adding low-sodium versions of this vitamin-rich broth can boost the amount of nutrients in your cooking,” says Dr. Senora Nelson, a family medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, Ill.

Boiling vegetables over high heat can strip away nutrients, which leach into the water. A good way to recover these lost nutrients is to first strain the liquid and save it for later by refrigerating in a container or freezing in ice cube trays. Then, add this flavorful liquid to soups or sauces.

“Although it’s easier to get the proper mix and amount of nutrients you need by taking a multivitamin in pill-form, supplements cannot replace food,” Dr. Nelson says. “The nutrients in whole foods are usually absorbed better than manufactured supplements. So, it’s better to get nutrients through foods as often as possible.”

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  1. I think you should be calling I pot liquid. Pot Liquor sounds too much like marijuana liquor. My parents always tod me this 75 years ago.

    • Pot Liquor is a common term used in the South and those who make Soul Food. No one, no one, confuses this with weed or alcohol. It is the tasty, satisfying, healing liquid that is in the bottom of the POT and tastes so good, it will satisfy you like LIQUOR. We’ll continue using this term, thank-you-very-much.

  2. In the Caribbean it is customary to drink the water from boiled vegetables and starches such as potatoes and yams. We call it pot water.

  3. I agree with Shirley. My first thought was Marijuana liquor.

  4. Pot liquor and hoe cakes. I grew up on it as did my parents and theirs.

  5. Shanya Fullerton-Ingram November 29, 2020 at 9:32 pm · Reply

    It’s called Pot Liquor/Licker/Likker

  6. I do a lot at a time how long can the liquor last on the counter?

  7. Ummmm…Black people have named the liquid “Pot Liquor!” It’s ours…we know what we mean…

  8. Ken Hunnicutt July 5, 2022 at 1:41 pm · Reply

    Wait, are people actually complaining that the name should be changed? Do they think the article came up with the name “pot liquor?” It’s been called that in The South for centuries. They’re saying, “excuse me but your culture is wrong.” It would be like complaining that hot dogs should have their name changed, because somebody might think they’re made out of dogs… Also, I am sipping on some collard pot liquor as we speak – I’ve started using it as an after-workout tonic. Way better than Gatorade!

  9. I can’t believe some people are acting confused like they thought it meant marijuana liquor. That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. These people are not from the south and should just appreciate other cultures.

    As far as pot likker goes, it’s wonderful. I like to add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes to the greens. Makes for a yummy broth. Since this liquid is high in vitamin K it was given to those with wounds because it helps with the clotting. Just a fun little fact.

About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.