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How to Cook Kale

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Shopping Tips

  • For optimum nutrition, buy kale in season. A light frost sweetens kale, so depending on where you live, fall or winter is the perfect time to enjoy it.
  • Choose kale from organic, biodynamic or responsible local growers when possible. Greens grown in better-managed soils help you net maximum flavor and nutrition and minimize exposure to pesticides.
  • Whenever you shop for kale, buy lots of it because it cooks down dramatically.
  • Keep blanched or precooked leftovers on hand to add to the week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Kitchen Tricks

Washing: Avoid washing kale until just before use, since it will hasten spoilage.

Cutting: To make cutting easier, remove any thick stems (just hold the kale upside down by the stems and pull the leaves off), then stack large greens on top of one another, roll them into tight bundles and slice into desired widths. The stems, finely chopped, can be used in soups.

Blanching: Blanching reduces bitterness and softens thick greens, which is useful if you want to follow up with a quick saute or freeze the greens for later use. To blanch kale, stir leaves into boiling water for a minute or two, drain, then immediately run under cold water.

Braising: Braising tenderizes and adds flavor. To braise, slow cook 1 pound of greens in a to cup of seasoned cooking liquid (chicken or vegetable stock or wine) or water for about 20 minutes or until greens are tender and ready to eat.

Sneak-It-In Strategies

  • Blend a few chopped-up young kale leaves (but not the stems) into fruit smoothies. It’s a great way to get more greens into the diets of the veggie-averse, especially kids.
  • Chop, cook and mix kale with grains to add nutrients and flavor to dishes like barley risotto or rice pilaf.
  • Blanched and frozen kale can be crumbled into soups, stews, beans and pasta sauces.
  • Substitute sauteed kale for cooked spinach in spanakopita, on pizza, or wherever you typically use greens.
  • Whip up a quick summer kale saute with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and basil.
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Read more: Food, Health

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

75 comments

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12:51PM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

thank you

2:18PM PST on Nov 22, 2013

I absolutely love kale. I love in a rural area and so I am lucky enough to often be able to buy vegetables that have only been harvested a few hours ago, I'm convinced that they often have a better flavour than those from the supermarkets that have been hanging around for several days.

1:31AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

Thank you :)

12:39PM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

Thanks

4:37PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Hadn't heard of kale before, but will be trying it. Thanks for the recipes :)

3:41AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

on the "Kale, Mushroom and Cream Cheese Scramble" in the list of ingredients you seem to have left out the cream cheese! Can you correcti?

3:40AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

On the Kale, mushroom and cream cheese Scramble - on the list of ingredients you seem to have forgotten the cream cheese! Can you correct?

5:20PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I'm growing kale for the first time this year. The plants need to be thinned, and I'm wondering in anyone knows....are there any outer type of leaf on the plant that you don't eat??
Thanks to anyone who can help :)

5:05PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Love the recipes! I used to hate the time it took to cut the ribs out of the kale until I tried grabbing the bottom of the stem with one hand and taking the leaf off by sliding the other hand up the stem. The stem breaks off where it starts to get tender. Easy and super fast!

12:20PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

how to cook very simple without add ok thanks let me know stingray

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