At the Orchard

3 Ways to Enjoy Kale

Fresh kale is a delightful green, available from summer until heavy frosts here at Pietree. More robust than beet greens or spinach, kale packs a nutritional punch and big flavor. A cup of raw kale delivers just 33 calories, 2 g. protein, and 2.4 g. dietary fiber, 100 mg. calcium, 329 mg potassium, and 80 mg. vitamin C. (Source: USDA National Nutritional Database ).

Kale growing in the field. Photo by M. Whitworth

Kale growing in the field. Photo by M. Whitworth

Kale Chips

Kale chips have been a staff favorite here at Pietree for the past two seasons. 

Preheat an oven to 375 deg. F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Wash one bunch of kale thoroughly. Tear the kale leaf off the rib into large pieces. Compost the ribs.

In a bowl, toss 2 tsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt with the torn kale pieces.

Place the kale onto the parchment paper. Bake in hot oven until crisp, 10-15 minutes.

Kale Salads

Kale salads are a hot food trend right now, in part because the sturdy flavors of kale match and marry so well the intense food flavors in vogue right now and that tend to be favored in the summer. Kale salads, like coleslaws, are not bowled over by rich barbeque sauced entrees, are happy to accompany smoky and spicy foods, and stand up to wilting temperatures.

For one large salad or two side salads, wash one bunch of kale thoroughly. With a knife, remove the rib from each of the kale leaves. Stack the kale leaves on each other, then roll into a large, tight cylinder of kale. Slice thinly from the short end of the cylinder, making long narrow ribbons of kale (congratulations! you've just chiffonaded the kale!).

Wash and prepare the other vegetables you would like to include in your salad. Sugar snap peas and snow peas provide a satisfying crunchy contrast and a burst of green sweetness. Small broccoli or cauliflower florets emphasize the bold brassica flavor. Diced golden or green zucchini provide a toothsome, soft contrast to the kale and bring a slight sweetness to the salad. Make a salad into a main dish by adding 1/2 cup cooked beans (kidney or chickpeas are our favorites) per salad or 3-4 ounces grilled mushrooms, tempeh, chicken, or other protein.

Make a simple mustard vinaigrette (we love Raye's Maple Horseradish here for a salad with broccoli or cauliflower in it, Raye's Winter Garden for a salad with sweeter component) by whisking together: 2 TB olive oil, 3 TB balsamic or apple cider vinegar, 1 TB prepared grain mustard, 1 TB water, 1 minced clove of garlic or 1 TB dried or fresh chopped chives, a dash of salt and a pinch of coarse ground pepper

Simple Kale Side Dish

Kale, like most of the great robust leafy greens, is terrific treated just like spinach or beet greens, sautéed and dressed with a little vinegar.

Wash one bunch of kale. Tear the kale of the ribs into medium sized pieces. Compost the ribs. 

In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale pieces and a pinch of salt. Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes if you like things spicy. Wilt the kale until limp and dark green, stirring constantly. Dress with apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar to taste, 1/2-1+1/2 tsp. Enjoy!

There are lots of ways to enjoy this tasy, nutritious leafy green! Try kale today!