Kale also contains the nutraceuticals lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration, and indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer. It is an exceptional source of chlorophyll, calcium, vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, etc. Furthermore, kale is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol.
Do NOT wash your greens until you are ready to use them. Store them in a plastic container or bag in your refrigerator, as you would lettuce. Greens are most nutritious if used within a few days of picking although they do keep well for a week or so refrigerated. Wash leaves submerged in cold water before using them. These vegetables tend to retain grit from the ground they were grown in and some may require two or three washings.
Another tip for storing greens: wash and shake dry. Wrap in waxed paper, put in plastic bag and close.
Food Fun Facts:
Kale has a mild cabbage flavor and comes in many varieties and colors. Most kale has the characteristic frilly-edged leaves, but there are flat-leaved varieties as well. The color of the leaves commonly available in the United States is deep green, although there are ornamental varieties in gorgeous shades of lavender and purple. There is also a flat-leaved Russian purple kale becoming increasingly popular. Kale is extremely nutritious. For less than 50 calories per cup, you receive twice the RDA of vitamins A and C. It also contains significant amounts of calcium, fiber, and iron and is believed to have cancer-preventing power. It's best to use kale within a few days of harvesting, because after a few days is will develop a stronger flavor and may become bitter.
Unlike some vegetables, kale's nutrition seems to increase in value when cooked. The noted herbalist Susun Weed maintains that kale offers the most nutrition when cooked for 40 minutes.
Simple From Scratch:
Massaged Kale Salad
Remove stems and thick veins- add to soup or compost
Cut leaves into ribbons
Mix with a dash of oil
Massage until all greens are soft
Add a dash of vinegar- rice vinegar is very good
Add a dash of salt
Dress it up with: seeds, cracked pepper, sprouts, or orange slices.
The massaging gets rid of the bitter taste. This is my favorite way to enjoy kale!
The Best Salad I've Ever Had!
Esalen Kale Salad
My boss made this for my office at a holiday party. I've never had such a great salad. Don't be scared away by the seeds and sprouts- I think the kale would be good with just the dressing!
Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flax seed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 pound fresh kale
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
Combine the Bragg or soy sauce and lemon juice in a blender or whisk in a bowl. Slowly dribble in the oil as the blender turns or as you whisk vigorously. Slice the onion into half moons and marinate in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.
Toast the seeds in a heavy bottomed pan (cast-iron is the best) over medium heat until seeds are just golden and fragrant. Toast each seed type separately as their size requires varying roasting times. Cool to room temperature.
Destem the kale. Slice kale leaves into 1/4 inch ribbons (very important!)
Toss the seeds, spouts, and kale with the onions, and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completely dress the kale. Thoroughly massage the kale with your hands.
From the Esalen Cookbook- contains many other great recipes.
Easy Stir-Fry Greens
2 lbs greens
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts or sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbs. chicken or vegetable broth
tamari or sea salt, to taste
Wash the greens, remove the large stems and slice the leafy part into bite-sized pieces. Hear a large skillet or wok. Add the oil and nuts or seeds and saute until golden. Add all the other ingredients. Stir, cover, and cook 2 minutes, until greens are barely tender. For kale or some of the tougher greens you may need to cook them a few minutes longer.
(credit: "An Endless Harvest" by Betty Levine)
Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 med carrots, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 medium tomato, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
3 cups stemmed, chopped kale
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon tepid water
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup cashewpieces, optional
Heat oil in a large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Sauté carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers and sweet potatoes 3 minutes. Add thyme and turmeric; combine well with vegetables. Add tomatoes and broth; simmer 20 minutes. Add corn, kale, salt and white pepper simmer 5 minutes. Season with cayenne pepper. Thicken either of two ways: Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon tepid water. With soup simmering, stir in cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir and simmer 3 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Or, if using cashews, place nuts in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add cornstarch mixture and 3/4 cup warm soup broth; blend or process to combine. Return mixture to simmering soup, continue to simmer, stirring often, 3 minutes
Flash-Cooked Kale Or Collards With Lemon Juice Recipe
1 1/2 pound kale or collard greens
3 tablespoons peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Separate the stems and leaves of the greens. Chop the stems into 1-inch sections and shred the leaves: stack them, then roll them up like a cigar and cut into thin strips.
Put the oil in a large skillet or wok, well-seasoned or nonstick, over high heat. When the oil smokes, toss in the stems. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until they begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the greens and begin to brown, fewer than 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add about 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately or at room temperature.
White Bean and Kale Salad
1 cup great northern beans, soaked overnight in 1 quart water
½ medium sweet onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
¼ cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cups coarsely chopped kale
2 tablespoons currants
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
Ground black pepper to taste
Drain beans. Add 6 cups of water and cook over medium heat until tender, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Sauté onion in large pan in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
Sauté kale in large pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir while cooking to avoid sticking.
Just before removing kale from pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Set aside in a medium-sized bowl.
When beans are tender, remove from heat, drain, and place in refrigerator to cool.
Once beans have cooled for 10 minutes, toss them with kale, currants, lemon juice, salt, chili pepper, and sautéed onion. Add black pepper and additional salt to taste.
Need some healthy crunch? just tear the kale leaves off into bite size pieces, spread on a cookie baking sheet, drizzle w/oil, salt and any other spices you might fancy. Bake (or broil) at high temperature (400 -500) for just a few minutes, 3-5 or so, watching carefully to know when they have dried enough to be crunchy for your taste (and not to set off the smoke alarm as I have done:) Experiment and ENJOY!