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Thread: Why Kale Is the Koolest Vegetable

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    LB
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    Why Kale Is the Koolest Vegetable

    Why Kale Is the Koolest Vegetable
    By Abby Phon
    It's no secret. I love kale. I have received phone calls, emails, texts and messages from friends and family saying that they just cooked kale for the first time and thought of me; last week a friend called from the grocery store, just because she saw kale and was reminded of me. This is probably a good indication of how I feel about kale.

    During the winter months when other leafy greens are out of season, kale is in full bloom, in season, and richest in flavor. This leafy green, cruciferous vegetable is versatile to cook with and can be prepared just like spinach or any other greens.

    As one of the most nutritionally dense foods, Kale scores a perfect 1,000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (just like the giant banners say at Whole Foods Market). The ANDI score is a food rating system that measures nutrients per calorie. One cup of kale has only 36 calories but it’s chock full of Vitamins K (1328% RDA), A (192%), C (90%), and E (6%). Kale also has calcium (9%), iron (6%), manganese, copper, calcium, fiber (10%), vitamin B6, potassium, iron, phytochemicals and even Omega 3 Fatty Acids (10%).

    Here’s what Kale's nutrients do for YOU!:

    Fiber: Kale keeps you fuller longer. That will help keep your snacking and over eating at bay, which keeps your weight down (so kale helps you stay fit and trim!). Diets high in fiber-rich leafy greens, like kale, show decreased risks of cancers (such as colon, breast, prostate, ovarian, bladder and lung), as well as heart disease and osteoporosis.

    Phytochemicals: Kale lowers the risk of cataract and macular degeneration because it’s an excellent source of phytochemicals (lutein and zeaxanthin). For optimal eye health, the daily suggested dose of lutein and zeaxanthin is 6 to 15 milligrams. One half cup of cooked kale meets the recommended daily dose of these 2 phytochemicals. Along with lutein and zeaxanthin, Kale also has 45 other flavonoids—powerful antioxidants—linked to the protection against cancer.

    Vitamin A: An effective antioxidant, it boosts immunity and maintains healthy bones and teeth.

    Vitamin K: Necessary to produce osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Studies show that women with diets low in Vitamin K have significantly lower bone density. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke and is a key nutrient that regulates inflammation in the body.

    Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant in brain cells, protecting them from free radicals. This will help keep your mind sharp!

    Kale Preparation:
    Kale is not fussy. It doesn’t require much prep at all so it’s a really great food friend to have, especially if you’re a busy person on the go (and let’s face it, who isn’t!?). As with all veggies (and especially dark green leafy ones), make sure you wash each leaf in cold water thoroughly. While they are dripping dry, cut out the big stem in the middle. Or what I do is grab hold of the bottom stem and pull, tearing that stalk out! Viola! Your kale is ready to go! Here are some things to do with it, once you’ve got it in your hands.

    Kale Salad: If you’re a raw food purist or just in a warm climate and want something fresh, chop kale finely (amount is up to you!) . I recommend this lemon/tahini dressing: olive oil, a spoonful of tahini paste and fresh lemon juice; pour over the finely chopped green leaves and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The dressing will ‘marinade’ the leaves, softening them and soaking up the sunny goodness. Top with whatever veggies you like! Some of my favorites are yellow peppers, shaved fennel, avocado, pomegranate seeds and sliced cucumbers!

    Sautéing/Braising: My favorite way to make kale is to sauté it with garlic and coconut oil (great as a side dish or as part of a main dish!). I use 2-3 cloves of garlic and about 1 tbsp coconut oil to one big bunch of kale. Gently heat the garlic then add the washed and chopped kale to your frying pan. You want to cook it over a medium-low heat until the leaves soften and wilt. How long you sauté is a personal preference, but I like my kale to keep some of its bright vibrant green color and health benefits so I don’t cook it for more than five minutes (remember, even if you turn off the heat, food keeps cooking!). If you want to go without oil, try braising: simmer in three-quarters of a cup of veggie broth for 20 minutes to soften up the leaves , drain and serve.

    Steaming: Cover with a little water and cook until soft. Super healthy.

    Kale Chips: I made this for a holiday party. I put out an entire bowl, made someone a cocktail, turned around and the bowl was empty! It is a great alternative for grownups, in place of potato chips. Kids love it too! And it’s super easy. Make sure your kale pieces are thoroughly dried (otherwise you’ll wind up with steamed kale instead!). Toss with olive oil, put in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip the leaves halfway through. (And check them often; you don’t want the leaves to turn brown because they will become bitter.) When the leaves are crispy, sprinkle with sea salt and invite me over. J

    Also: I add chopped kale to soups, stews, grains (like millet and quinoa), mashed potatoes and pasta (about a cup but the amount is up to you!). Last year when I was on vacation in the Caribbean, I had the chef add it to my omelet (delish!) and at home on the weekends I often use it as a bed for poached eggs or toss it in a smoothie.

    Some tips:
    Avoid washing kale until just before use, since it will hasten spoilage.
    Kale will shrink during cooking, like spinach does but not as drastically.
    As with any fruit or vegetable, it’s best to buy kale in season. A light frost sweetens kale, so here in NYC, fall or winter is the perfect time to enjoy it.
    Fresh kale should have a bright green color. Avoid kale with yellow or brown leaves—that means it’s getting old.
    Varieties of kale:
    Green kale – the most common variety in the grocery store, has a firm texture and curly leaves.
    Red kale – similar in taste and texture to green kale, but adds a splash of red or purple to your plate.
    Dinosaur kale (also called Tuscan or Lacinato) – the leaves are flatter and more tender than the other types.
    Ornamental kale – tougher than other kinds, and available in green, purple, pink and white. Often sold as decoration for a garden or window box, it’s still edible and makes a great garnish. (I’ve been caught eating the “garnish” off of platters at family functions! They make fun of me but I’m the one feeling awesome the next day!)
    Have fun with kale. Eating more of this good green stuff will make you feel better, more vibrant and have increased energy. Now you have no reason, not to eat your greens!
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    Humbled CaribNVA is offline
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    Kale is king

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    LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaribNVA View Post
    Kale is king
    I am liking it more than spinach now. And it juices well.
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Love kale. I substituted it for collards a few times and no one knew Have plenty of both kale & collards in my garden...both kept growing all the way into Dec and growing back now even tho I've yet to touch the garden for the season.
    "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." -Plato

    "god is the deification of a culture."
    -Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan

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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by LB View Post
    I am liking it more than spinach now. And it juices well.
    Never juiced it myself but I've bought plenty protein shakes w/ kale in them...imo opinion it must have something like white grape in it for a lil sweetness but the again, I still don't like the taste of juiced veggies w/out something to cover it up.
    "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." -Plato

    "god is the deification of a culture."
    -Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan

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    Registered User LIONESS onda RISE is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by LB View Post
    I am liking it more than spinach now. And it juices well.
    girl..it juices really well and taste nice against strawberries..lol

    but try flash frying it. (i say fry, but its more like a saute)..cooks in bout 10 mins...DIVINE!!!..and it retains nutients becuase you are not cooking in water..

    i use olive oil, minced onion and celery w/ plenty garlic...smidge of real butter (no margaine..sorry)..lol...and your clean kale greens in the non stick pan and roll it a few times..WONDERFULL!!!
    BELLY FULL BUT DEM STARVIN'

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    Registered User LIONESS onda RISE is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacchanalDiva View Post
    Never juiced it myself but I've bought plenty protein shakes w/ kale in them...imo opinion it must have something like white grape in it for a lil sweetness but the again, I still don't like the taste of juiced veggies w/out something to cover it up.
    try a carrot, spinach and fresh beet..(w/ a bit of parsly) and see what you think
    BELLY FULL BUT DEM STARVIN'

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    Taj
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    kewl

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    LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by BABYLOC View Post
    girl..it juices really well and taste nice against strawberries..lol

    but try flash frying it. (i say fry, but its more like a saute)..cooks in bout 10 mins...DIVINE!!!..and it retains nutients becuase you are not cooking in water..

    i use olive oil, minced onion and celery w/ plenty garlic...smidge of real butter (no margaine..sorry)..lol...and your clean kale greens in the non stick pan and roll it a few times..WONDERFULL!!!
    yup! or with pears when juicing. I've done kale with strawberries and banana in a green smoothie that was surprisingly tasty :kick:

    Gonna try what u did above too. I do something similar with green onions, garlic and yes real butter but I toss it into my pot of quinoa afterwards and mix it together. One of my favorite things to eat.

    BD - we talked about how to cut the bitterness of greens when juicing in my "Jucier" thread in backchat. I mentioned lemons, ginger and a fruit like apples or pears to take the edge off it the bitterness is too much.
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    LB
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    yes I have a kale addiction :

    I massage the leaves with mashed avocado and sea salt and then add the stuff below. Really yummy

    ------------------------------
    Eat it raw.

    Eating a salad comprised solely of raw kale is a little tough to take. Kale has pretty intense flavor and a tough texture. But if you want to give your salad a nutritional shot in the arm, simply remove the leaves from the stem, chop them up, and mix with other lettuces, like romaine, leaf, or butter. The added flavor and texture will, ahem, (switch to fancy voice) dance wonderfully across the palate and create a unique mouth-feel. Wow, I watch way too much Top Chef.

    Massage it.

    Massaging is a technique used with raw kale in order to both tenderize it and remove a good portion of its bitterness. Remove the kale leaves from the stem, cut them into 1 inch wide ribbons, and place them in a large bowl. For one bunch of kale, add 1 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt, the juice of half of a lemon, and a touch of olive oil (optional), then begin to rub it all around the kale. You must continually massage the salt, lemon, and oil into all of the leaves for 2 to 3 minutes. After this time has elapsed, you will notice that the kale has wilted a bit and it will have a much milder flavor. Now it’s ready to become a salad. Add other veggies, fruits, and nuts and dress simply with a little agave nectar, and lemon juice and olive oil, if needed. Both delicious and energizing, a massaged kale salad always comes with a happy ending.

    Blanch it.

    Blanching is the process of boiling something for a very short amount of time. You need only bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and you’re ready to go. Depending on what veggie you’re using, blanching times will vary. To blanch kale, remove the leaves from the stem and roughly chop them. Submerge the kale in the boiling water and remove it after 20 seconds. Immediately cool the leaves by running them under cold water, or plunging them into a bowl of ice water, known as an ice bath. This keeps the kale from overcooking, and retains its deep green color. Drain it, and squeeze out as much water as possible. Now tender, with the bitterness removed, your blanched kale is perfect on a pizza, in a lasagna, or as a simple cold side dish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce or tamari.

    Soup it.

    Kale is a fantastic way to add a whole bunch of extra goodness to soups and stews. Remove the leaves from the stem and cut them into 1 inch wide ribbons. Personally, I enjoy the texture of the kale, so I add it at the very end of the cooking process, to keep it from getting soft and mushy. Finish cooking your soup or stew, then cut off the heat and stir in the kale. Let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes, then let the tongue scalding begin.

    Drink it. Whaaaaat??

    How the heck can I drink a bunch of leaves? Put it through your juicer, silly. With life-changing documentaries like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead approaching the mainstream, juicing has become more popular than ever. You, of course, could not eat an entire bunch of kale at once, but by turning it into juice, you can consume the powerful, supercharging nutrients of said bunch all in one shot! Start with a combination of kale (including the stems), carrot, celery and apples, then add other fruits and veggies for variety. Squeezing in a little fresh lemon juice will help your body absorb the iron that kale has to offer, and it will also balance out its bitterness. Super-mega juicing tip: Since it’s not as curly as green kale, lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur or black kale) is easier to cram into juicers that have smaller feeding tubes. You’re welcome. So, go ahead and juice that kale! You’ll be sporting a Jack LaLane spandex onesie in no time.
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    Registered User Problemjaydeess is offline
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    Thanks LB. Think i will Massage it to get rid of the bitterness before putting it my soup lol

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    LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Problemjaydeess View Post
    Thanks LB. Think i will Massage it to get rid of the bitterness before putting it my soup lol
    yup. its really nice. Doesnt take much sea salt to wilt it...I learned that the *hard* way. Wayyyy to salty the first time I did it. lol
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Hmmm, Loc & LB I'll try your suggestions. Been wanting to join the juicing craze but don't want the sugar of a ton of concentrated fruit. Btw I had complaints about sneaking kale into the fresh salad sunday. Guess I should have chopPed it finer but gotten so used to the texture myself
    "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." -Plato

    "god is the deification of a culture."
    -Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan

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    LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacchanalDiva View Post
    Hmmm, Loc & LB I'll try your suggestions. Been wanting to join the juicing craze but don't want the sugar of a ton of concentrated fruit. Btw I had complaints about sneaking kale into the fresh salad sunday. Guess I should have chopPed it finer but gotten so used to the texture myself
    Np. IF you are juicing vegetables and adding say, only one fruit like an apple then you should be good with the sugar content aspect. Only when I am making smoothies with fruits does how much sugar I am consuming come into play. But I figure its better than mainlining fructose syrup like you find in processed foods/carton fruit juices.

    yeh, chop it up more finely if others arent into the taste as much. Good that you tried though!
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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    Ganjalero Collie4Nyah's Avatar Collie4Nyah is offline
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