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Kale

Give your dinner a health kick with these tasty preparation tips

Best to buy
Kale is available year-round, but it shines as a cold-weather crop and is at its most flavorful and tender in the winter months.

Cut & clean
Thoroughly clean kale by dunking it in tepid water several times and then rinsing under cold running water.

Power food
Kale is an excellent source of vitamins C and A.

Quick & easy recipe
Sauté kale in a little olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Turn down the heat and add garlic, fresh lemon juice, and toasted sesame oil; stir for another 5 minutes.


Preparation, uses, and tips

Wash kale well by dunking it in a bowl of tepid water several times and then rinsing under cold running water. Small kale leaves can be used whole. The larger leaves should be stripped or cut from the center rib. The rib can be chopped into small pieces and cooked with the leaf or discarded. To shred the leaves, place them in a pile, roll up, and then thinly slice them.

Baby kale can be used raw mixed with other greens in salads. Mature kale must be cooked, as it is too tough to consume raw. It can be steamed, but tastes best when boiled or simmered in vegetable broth.

Kale can also be added to soups and stews. It is especially good in soups that contain potatoes, barley, or beans. Kale with white beans and sausage is a traditional Portuguese soup. Good ways to flavor kale are to add any of the following: garlic, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, cinnamon, caraway seeds, currants, or toasted pine nuts.

To boil

Traditional ways to prepare kale call for long cooking—about 40 minutes—until it is very soft. However, kale can also be boiled quickly, about 5 to 8 minutes, until it is just slightly crunchy.

To sauté

Boil the kale first for about 5 minutes to enhance its flavor. Then sauté in oil with onions and garlic for about five minutes.

To microwave

Place the kale, with just the water clinging to its leaves, in a covered microwave-safe dish. Cook on high for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes. Let stand, covered for 3 minutes before serving.

Buying and storing tips

Kale is available year-round, but it shines as a cold-weather crop and is at its most flavorful and tender in the winter months.

Look for dark bluish-green or dark leaves that are not wilted. Avoid those that are yellowing. Store kale in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper and use it within a few days.

Varieties

Kale is available as mature or baby leaves. Although the most common type has curly leaves that are deep green with a tinge of blue, Russian kale has purple-red stems and a less curly leaf. Kale is also available frozen. Flowering kale consists of ruffled heads of green kale tinged with ornamental pink, purple, and white. The taste and texture are not as good as leafy kale.

Nutrition Highlights

Kale (raw), 1 cup (67g)
Calories: 33
Protein: 2.2g
Carbohydrate: 6.7g
Total Fat: 0.47g
Fiber: 1.3g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (80mg), and Vitamin A (5,963 IU)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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