Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Food: Kale

Last year I tried kale for the first time. I didn't like it. 
But I decided to give it a second chance. 

Turns out that kale was an extremely popular veggie until the Middle Ages in Europe. Kale was easy to grow and could withstand cold temperatures, making it quite useful. It's one of the many varieties of cabbage (Brassica oleracea). Other varieties you might be familiar with include broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens,  and brussel sprouts.

I decided I would try kale the same way as I had the first time: kale chips. I found an easy recipe on Basically you take one bunch of clean kale, cut (or rip) it into small pieces and put on a baking sheet, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt, then bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. This is what you get:
 Kale chips sort of melt in your mouth. They don't have much flavor. Although the recipe said to remove the stems, I liked them quite a bit. And the leafy parts were okay this time. Maybe I'm warming up to kale. I want to like it. Kale is high in lots of good things: beta-carotenes, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, sulforaphanes (cancer-fighting chemical), and more.

I would eat it, but I still had the big question: would my kids eat it? Time for the test.
 I gave Desert Girl a little kale chip. I try to introduce my kids to a new food at least every couple of weeks, so they are used to getting new foods. That doesn't mean they're thrilled to try them, but usually they will with a little cajoling.

She's trying to decide if she likes it or not.

 Hmm..not great, mom, but maybe okay.

I call that a win. I have to admit that the kids liked the other vegetable I put on the same baking sheet with the kale quite a bit better:
Baked Cauliflower! Who would have guessed! It was also easy to cook: slice clean cauliflower into thin slices, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Neither cauliflower nor kale will probably ever be my favorite vegetable, but it's nice to know that we'll eat them once in awhile. Besides, kale is eaten worldwide: in addition to still being a favorite in parts of Europe (Germany holds kale festivals and crowns kale kings and queens), it is eaten in eastern and southeastern Africa and drunk as a kale juice in Japan.

Have you tried kale? If you have, what did you think?


G. Robison said...

I LOVE kale! I braise it with garlic and olive oil (after removing stems and chopping). It's also very nice in Tuscan potato-kale soup and Portuguese caldo verde.

phil said...

we went to the east coast with the souza's a couple of years ago and ran into a festival that featured kale soup. It cost 4 dollars to get in and then you got to sample all th different ways to prepare kale soup..All were tasty a few better than others.

Anonymous said...

So funny you have a kale post. Ru-ru and I bought kale a couple of times in the last couple weeks (after watching Hungry for Change...need more greens) have made kale chips and sauted kale with chard and loved both. We added 1 tbsp of olive oil with some garlic and mixed the cut kale so it was evenly coated. We heated a pan for 5 minutes and baked the kale until done (stirring once). It was great to eat alone. I also put it in my mushroom soup, yum! He sauted some kale and chard (again with olive oil, garlic, white wine, tomato, salt/pepper) and it was extremely yummy. Popeye would so eat kale ru-ru made over a can of spinach!

Desert Survivor said...

Thank you for all the other ideas of what to do with kale! It's not our favorite yet, but we're going to keep trying!

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