How to Choose and Use Your Kale

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Which Form of Kale is it? What’s the Difference?

Baby kale or regular kale are usually packaged differently. Baby leaf kale comes from younger plants and the leaves are harvested when they are smaller and more tender. At Green Hart Farms, we only use certain varieties to get an especially tender baby kale product. The result is a more tender kale that still can be cooked or steamed, but is especially suited for use in salads where its special qualities can really shine through.

Regular kale is most often sold in bunches held together with an elastic band or a large twist tie. This is the more widely available form. While it can be consumed raw, it is best to tenderize it by massaging the leaves before adding them to salads. Being from more mature plants, this kale tends to be stronger flavoured than the baby leaf product.

What to Look for When You’re Buying Kale?

Whether you’re looking at Baby Leaf or Regular Kale, you’ll want to have leaves that are free of brown patches or any yellowing. Kale should be firm and show good colour, according to the variety, whether green, red or black. If you plan to consume your kale raw, remember that smaller leaf sizes are often more tender than larger ones.

There are many varieties of kale, each with its own unique flavour and appearance. Try several. You may find that you prefer one over the others.

How to Keep Your Kale Fresh

  1. Avoid washing the kale prior to storage as moisture will shorten its storage life.
  2. Place kale in a clean plastic storage bag.
  3. Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible.
  4. Close up the bag.
  5. Store in the refrigerator .

It will keep for 5 days in a cool refrigerator. With longer storage, kale tends to bitterness.

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Remember This…If You’re Putting Kale in Smoothies

One of the most popular ways to consume kale these days is in a smoothie. Smoothies can be a wonderful way to take in a lot of vegetable based nutrition in a very short time. They’re quick to prepare and good for you.

If you plan on adding a leaf of raw kale or two to your smoothie, be sure to chop or blend the kale a little longer to ensure that your smoothie is indeed smooth. While the high fiber content of kale has its benefits, it does make it a little more difficult to digest in the raw form.



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More Quick and Easy Ways to Prepare Kale

  • Chop some kale and slice up a few apples fairly thin. Braise them together in a pan. Before serving, sprinkle the kale and apple mix with balsamic vinegar. Top with a few chopped walnuts.
  • Try substituting kale for some or all of the romaine lettuce in your next Caesar Salad. Baby leaf kale is an especially good choice for this dish, but if your using regular kale, be sure to massage the leaves first to make them more tender. Either way, putting a little kale in your Caesar salad will give it a substantial nutritional boost.
  • Cook up your favourite pasta noodles or elbows and drain. Take some finely chopped kale and some crumbled feta cheese. Add these to the warm noodles and stir together. Drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil. If you like you can even add a few chopped nuts.

With all of these simple quick ways to prepare your kale, it really shouldn’t be standing all that long in your refrigerator, but if it is then here’s what to do

2 Ways that You Can Store Your Kale Even Longer

if your kale is getting to 5 days and you still haven’t consumed it you could throw it out,but that’s such a waste. Instead why not freeze it or dry it?

How to Freeze Kale

  1. Wash it in cold water.
  2. Shake out all the water you can or run it through a salad spinner.
  3. Then cut up the leaves in small pieces as for steaming.
  4. Put the kale into a clean freezer bag.
  5. Squeeze out the air, seal and put it in your freezer.

It will keep this way for several more months. When you thaw it, it will look more like steamed kale than fresh, so it works best cooked. It’s still very high in nutrients.

How to Dehydrate Kale

  1. Wash and dry as you would for freezing.
  2. Remove stems but otherwise leave the rest whole. (The stems will take much longer to dry than the rest.)
  3. Put into a dehydrator.

Once the kale becomes nice dry and crunchy it can be easily crushed and stored as flakes or powder in an airtight container. Add a little to soups, spaghetti sauce and even smoothies.

A Warning About Kale and Other Coles

If you have an underactive thyroid or suffer from hypothyroidism then you’ll want to be careful of how much Kale and other cole family vegetables you consume as they can exacerbate the condition.

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