Kale leaves come in a variety of shapes and colors. Discerning palates might be able to taste a difference between them, but to me they all taste the same. I find the real value of the different varieties is aesthetic. Kale plants are very cold hardy. Like other plants in the Brassica family, they taste better after a light frost. The plants produce sugar compounds to act as an anti-freeze for their cells under cold conditions, giving them a sweeter taste. We can grow kale all winter long. This adds a nice touch of fresh greens to our winter share.
I like to add kale to many of my winter dishes for added nutrients and color. Even if you aren't a big fan of its taste and texture, when put in other dishes it often slips into the background.
Kale stores for a couple of weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
- Remove leaves from stems and break or chop into smaller pieces before cooking.
- Saute with olive oil and onion, then add a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar for a quick side dish.
- Add to soups, stir-fries and burritos. When adding to other dishes, add kale toward the end of the cooking time. About 4-5 minutes will cook the kale while still retaining its bright color.
- Toss with olive oil and salt, spread thin on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 until crunchy.
- Steam 4-5 minutes until softened but still bright in color. Add to mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, pasta salad and potato salad, or season and have as a side dish.