Do you eat Kale? Well, you should!
But most people either don’t know what to do with it, or don’t like it. One of the Bountiful Basket volunteers told DH that she feeds it to her rabbits! Wow! Her rabbits are eating healthier than she is!
Kale is loaded with nutrition that your body needs. Three and a half ounces of raw kale contains 13621 IU of Vitamin A, 72 mg of Calcium, 10 mg of Magnesium and 228 mg of Potassium! And that’s just for starters. It’s also a great source of Vitamin K, C and lutein. It is one of the foods that blocks the growth of cancer cells.
The reason a lot of people don’t like to eat kale and other similar greens (mustard greens, broccoli rabe) is because they can be bitter. That was my problem with them. I would eat them stir fried, with garlic and vinegar. But to eat it raw, I would cut it up in small pieces to add to a big salad so that I could hide the flavor.
Then the latest issue of Eating Well magazine arrived. And I learned a new trick! One that transforms raw kale into tender, tasty salad greens that I couldn’t get enough of!
Here it is: Squeeze Your Greens! (The article is on page 14 of the September 2012 issue.)
Yep, that’s right, give them a good massage.
I tried it, and it worked great! We ended up eating half of it when I was done. I was amazed at how good it tasted. DH said it tasted like a really nice lettuce, not kale!
The other half I turned into Kale Chips in the dehydrator to see if that would work. My chips came out like this.
And they were fabulous!
Here’s what I did.
Dehydrator (see notes below if you don’t have one)
1 bunch of kale, well cleaned and dried with a towel
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
seasonings of your choice (I used garlic powder, Mrs. Dash Table Blend, onion powder and smoked paprika)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Tear the kale leaves off the thick stems and put the pieces in a large bowl. You don’t have to remove every single stem and vein, only the thick ones, since they inhibit drying.
The amount of olive oil you will need depends on how much kale you have. You don’t want a ton for this, you’re not making salad! Start with 2 tablespoons for one bunch of kale. If you need more, you can add it later.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings together in a small dish.
Pour over the greens.
Make sure your hands are clean, and start squeezing the kale and spreading around the olive oil. You’re massaging and squeezing the greens, spreading around the oil until the volume is reduced by about half. When you are done, it should look like a well dressed salad, with each leaf being shiny and coated, but not soggy.
Check the bottom of the bowl. If there is a puddle of oil, sop it up with a paper towel.
If you really need more oil, you can add it, but you’ll be surprised how far a small amount will go when doing this.
Note: Too much oil will interfere with the drying process, and your kale chips won’t come out crispy!
Spread the leaves out on the dehydrator grids. It’s all right if they touch a bit, they don’t have to be perfectly arranged. They will shrink during drying.
Dry at 125 degrees for 4-6 hours. Check every hour or two and rotate the trays.
They are done when they are dry and very crispy. When you put one in your mouth, it should almost melt.
They will appear shiny and are actually glazed with the dressing. Mine looked like this.
Store the dried chips in an air tight container. I’m sorry, but I don’t know how long they will last. I ended up with two containers full, and the first one was completely gone in less than 24 hours. DH loved them and neither of us could really stop eating them.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you might be able to do this in your oven. It depends on how low you can set it. If it will go down to as low as 150 degrees, or there about, try it. Keep an eye on them. You’re trying more to dry them out, than to roast or bake them. Shake them once in a while so they move around and aren’t always resting on the same spot.
You can use whatever seasonings you like. I plan to try making cheezy ones by adding nutritional yeast, and I want to make BBQ flavored chips! You’ll have to experiment a bit with seasoning amounts. Keep in mind that the flavors will be more concentrated in the dried product, so don’t get too wild.
Why does this work? According to the article, it’s because the squeezing begins breaking down the cell walls which releases enzymes that split apart the bitter-tasting compounds.
I’m now excited about kale! I want to run out to the store immediately and get more so I can try more flavors.
Note: Eating Well is the only food magazine that I buy a subscription to. I’ve learned a ton from reading it. It is not all vegan or vegetarian, there are good, healthy recipes in it for all types of eaters. And the hints, tips and nutritional information is fabulous!