All About Kale
Kale is a nutritional power house. But many people are confused about how to store it or use it.
Is it just for salads? Nope. Kale is a lot more versatile that just throwing it in a bowl as a salad.
This article will answer many questions people have about this very popular green.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and has become quite popular. You are sure to find some in your CSA delivery.
Kale can be eaten raw or cooked and is quite versatile. The stems can be quite tough and woody though. If you do not like the stems, simply de-stem the leaves and just use the leaves.
How to De-stem Kale
If you do not like kale stems, or just want to separate them so you can cook them separately, here is one way it is done:
- Wash and dry the kale
- Fold the leaves in half, exposing the stem
- Cut where the stem and the leave are attached
- Remove the stem
- In the fridge: To make sure your kale keeps well:
- Separate the leaves and rinse to clean off dirt and any bugs that are hitch hiking.
- If you do not like the stems, remove them before storing in the fridge.
- I like to use a salad spinner to dry the leaves (don’t overcrowd the spinner).
- Place the leaves on a paper towel and roll the towel closed.
- Transfer rolls of leaves into a zipper bag, remove the air and seal. Store in the fridge.
- This technique works for most lettuce-type greens.
- Freezing: Kale can be frozen raw or blanched. But, if you want to make sure that the flavour and colour is retained, it is best to blanch it before freezing.
- Wash and de-stem the kale before blanching.
- The leaves need 2.5 minutes in the boiling water but the stems need 3 minutes. Be sure to place in an ice bath after boiling to shock and stop the cooking process.
- Once blanched, store in an airtight freezer-safe bag or container.
- Label with the name and date.
Uses For Kale
Kale can be used in so many dishes, either as a main ingredient or just an add-in. Here are some ideas:
- Sprinkle a bit of raw kale onto a main salad.
- Make a salad where kale is the main ingredient.
- Add chopped fresh or frozen kale to smoothies.
- Sauté kale with garlic, salt and lemon as a side dish.
- Add kale to soup or stews.
- Kale Pesto
- Sauté with other vegetables to add to a frittata.
- Add kale to a stir fry.
- Bake leaves in a hot oven to make kale chips (eat as a snack or add to salads, etc).
- Substitute kale for recipes calling for spinach or chard.
Bonus tip: Do you find kale leaves too tough or chewy? There are two ways to make kale leaves tender:
- Message Your Kale: Yup, give it a good rub down. Simply wash and de-stem the kale and then gather the leaves and slice into ribbons. You can now place the kale in a bowl or leave it on your cutting board. It is now time to message. Knead and press the kale until it starts to feel softer and more tender. This can take from 3 – 5 minutes. Some recommend messaging kale with a bit of salt added. This is completely up to you. It will work with or without salt.
- Give it a Warm Bath: If you are not inclined to message your kale, but you still want it tender without cooking it, this is a great option. Wash, de-stem and slice the kale. Then place it in a bowl. Cover the kale with warm tap water – not hot. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Once softened, dry the leaves in a salad spinner and then use a paper towel to remove any leftover water.