Eating the whole kale

About 3 years ago, I tried kale chips for the first time. A friend had bought a bag of “cheese”-flavoured kale chips at a local health food store and invited me to try one. I’ll admit, the first and the second time I tried kale chips, I just didn’t like them at all.

Then, this summer, kale showed up in our CSA box a few times. We used some in stir fries but we decided to try making kale chips of our own. When my partner first suggested using the kale to make kale chips, I gawked. I hadn’t taken a liking the first two times I’d had them. What made anyone think I would like them the third time around?

Well, I stand corrected. I LOVE kale chips now!! They remind me a bit of the absolutely scrumptious Japanese nori (flavoured seaweed). Anyways, kale chips have won me over. All I do is destem the kale (separating the tough stems from the leaves, though I’ve read of people skipping this step when making their kale chips), chop or rip up the leaves into the desired size, washing them, then tossing in some olive oil (just enough to coat). You can toss with some salt at the same time as the olive oil or you can sprinkle some salt on after you lay out the oiled leaves on a baking sheet. Pop into the oven at 250F, mixing them every so often, until they get crispy (but not burnt!). Delicious!

Kale leaves and stems, separated
Kale leaves and stems, separated
Leaves have been washed and tossed in olive oil and a bit of salt, to taste.
Leaves have been washed and tossed in olive oil and a bit of salt, to taste.

Until last week, the stems of the kale just went into our compost bin. However, convinced that there must be something edible to make using the stems, I did a search online to see what others used kale stems for. I also asked my friends if they had any good recommendations. The smoothie option won out. On the weekend, I finely chopped up the kale stems and threw them in with my usual smoothie mix (soy milk, frozen fruit, bananas).

The stems have been chopped up extra fine and thrown into a smoothie.
The stems have been chopped up extra fine and thrown into a smoothie.
You can see some green bits in the finished smoothie; those are the kale stems.
You can see some green bits in the finished smoothie; those are the kale stems.

The little bits of kale stem were chewy and reminded me of eating broccoli stems. I’m not sure what nutritional value kale stems provide but this was a decent way of using the them. Yay for using the whole kale for the first time!

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