Kale Question

west_gardenerSeptember 13, 2012

I've only had one experience with Kale and found that I liked it, but I found the taste was intense, perhaps it was the way we cooked it.

DD brought over a bunch of fresh Kale. She cut the stems out, cut it into bite size pieces. We steamed it in a bamboo steamer. It retained it's color and looked fantastic. But as I said, the flavor was intense, almost bitter.

I have looked at recipes on the net, but I not found out how to mellow the taste.

Any suggestions?

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Country folks here usually added some cooked bacon crumbled up---even drizzled some of the bacon fat over it.
It's been a long time since I've had any---my best friend always made it when we were young Moms and we could bribe our kids into eating it! Guffaw!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:36PM
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gandle(4 NE)

We always wait until a light frost before harvesting kale. That mellows the taste. When you are buying kale I think it depends on the variety you buy as to the bitterness. Probably KJ is correct in using bacon and bacon fat to help. We use it in soups and stir fries.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:35PM
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I like it cut up fine and cooked with Italian sausage and onions and served over polenta, some gated Parmi or Romano cheese over it - yum!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Kale is one the best foods you can eat. It has a high "nutrional denisty". As a matter of fact, it's the food that has the highest nutrional density. That is, it's full of vitamins and minerals with a low fat, cholesterol, calorie, and sugar content. Many people use them in "green" drinks, shakes, etc. I'm actually trying to replace my morning coffee with this. I haven't found a recipe I love, but I am working on it! Soups are other way I tend to try it.

Here is a link that might be useful: nutrient density explained

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:16AM
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Can't have it till they fix me and get rid of the Coumadin, has the most vitamin K on the USDA list and is one of my faves.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:55PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

But wait until after it has frozen once or twice! That makes it tender and subdues the bite.

For right now, use only the smallest baby leaves (less than 3" long) in salad or quickly braised with a bit of minced garlic...

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I bought a bunch today.
The leaves are very large and somewhat bitter. I'll be experimenting the next few days.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 4:46PM
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There are a bunch of kale recipies in the October "Real
Simple" and also on their website.
I checked with an old cookbook, but there it was cooked in water and emphasized to make sure to drain well, not use the cooking water and if you need more liquid to use broth or even plain water, otherwise it would be bitter. But at that time nobody paid attention to vitamines and nutrients.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:31PM
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I love kale, Himself hates it because of the bitterness. To make it palatable to him, I steam it for much longer, drain it. Then I stir fry it with chopped garlic, and dress it with sesame oil. The longer steaming seems to remove the bitterness.

If I'm cooking it just for me, I don't bother steaming it at all :)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:40PM
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For my first experiment, I cut the Kale leaves into thin strips, and froze them overnight in the freezer.
The next morning I steamed them and a lot of the bitterness was gone. So it seems from my tiny little experiment, is that frost takes some of the bitterness out of Kale.

I then sauteed some onion and garlic in pure olive oil, added the steamed Kale, mushrooms, half a diced Roma Tomato, salt and pepper. It was delicious.
As I said before, the leaves were huge, but I may not have to steam the smaller leaves.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Genius! - I'd never have thought about putting it in the freezer. I'd always been told that kale, and brussels sprouts, are better after the first frost - something to do with the ice breaking down the cellulose? But it's certainly true that it's less bitter - the idea of the freezer is just brilliant.!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Yup, Sara, around here they won't even start harvesting the brussels sprouts until after a couple of good hard frosts. Same with kale, and cabbage benefits from it too. Love the idea of giving it the frost in the freezer. Smiles. Good going West!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:03PM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

Raw kale makes awesome salads, especially when paired with things like white beans, croutons, Parmesan shavings, avocado, and (of course) bacon. The trick to making it palatable is to heavily massage the leaves first. You'd never bruise and abuse lettuces this way, but it dramatically improves the texture and flavor. If you're tossing it with a light vinaigrette, you can actually massage the dressing into the leaves instead of giving it a light toss to coat.

This time of year we sell a lot of those aerosol sprayers for oil at the kitchen gadget store for folks who are looking to make kale chips too.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 2:41PM
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I learn from the collective wisdom of the folks here at the GP.
Mentioning kale chips. They seem to be a "thing" these days.
I saw a chef on a cooking channel that deep fried the kale into chips. He stressed that the kale had to be very dry before it was placed into the hot oil. I'm not into deep frying anything, so the question is, how does one make kale chips by spraying them with oil?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:57PM
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