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How to Cook Kale

Updated on May 19, 2012

Kale is a wonderful vegetable that is nutritious and easy to cook. When cooked correctly it can be delicious. If you never tried kale, it is definitely worth a try.

Kale comes in bunches at the supermarket. All the leaves should be dark bright green. None of its egdes should be yellow or brown. When you feel the kale is should not be limp, but somewhat stiff.

Kale is classified as both a dark leafy green vegetable as well as a cruciferous vegetables. Hence it has the anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables. And it has the antioxidant properties of dark leafy green vegetables. It also has the essential mineral magnesium as well contain many as other healthful compounds. Read more about the health benefits of kale.

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Steps for Cooking Kale

1. Wash

As with all vegetables, you have to wash it first. This is to eliminate any pesticide residues. Preferably, get organic kale if you can.

2. Cut

After washing, cut the leaves into pieces with a knife. They can be about one-inch in size -- not too small. Alternatively, you can rip it the leaves into tiny pieces under running water while washing it.

3. Garlic

Crush or cut up some garlic and place into wok. So garlic and kale would make a extremely healthy dish. Put the amount of garlic to your preference. But the more garlic, the more health benefits.

Garlic has antibiotic and anticancer properties as well as many other health benefits. However, some of its benefit is destroyed by heat. To get the full health benefit of garlic, consider throwing in chopped garlic after the saute or saute only very lightly.

4. Saute

Saute the garlic and kale quickly with low heat until the kale is just slightly soft. You do not have to saute for long. The shorter, the better -- and certainly no more than a minute or two. Remove from heat immediately as soon as soft.

A stainless steal pan is preferred. Non-stick Teflon pans are not recommended.

I would recommend using a little bit of coconut oil to saute it, because coconut oil is saturated fat and is more heat resistance and less likely to oxidize from the heat. That is what I use.

If you do not believe in coconut oil or don't like it, you can get away with using olive oil. Although olive oil (being less saturated and more monounsaturated) is more easily damaged by heat than coconut oil, it might be okay in this case since we are using low temperature at short duration. But never use vegetable oil. Learn what oil is best for cooking.

Do not overcook the kale. Take it out as soon as it is just slightly soft. The color of the kale should come out of the pan the same color it went in with. If it changed color, you have overcooked it.

Alternatively, you can use the wet saute method where you put some water in the pan, turn on the heat, and stir fry. This avoid the use of any oil.

5. Season

You can eat it as it is. Or optionally, add salt or lemon juice. If you would like more of the healthy benefits of olive oil, you can drizzle some more olive oil on top of the kale. Olive oil is a good fat and is anti-inflammatory, and many people do not get enough good fats in their diet.

Do Not Overcook Kale

It is better to under cook kale then to overcook it. The only purpose of cooking kale is to soften its hard fibers so that it's easier to eat.

In fact both the kale, garlic, and oil can be eaten raw. People who eat kale raw as in a salad will soften the fibers with lemon juice. They might also cut the leaves into smaller pieces than when stir-frying. They may also softly massage the leaves with hands to partially crush its leaves.

If you overcook kale, it will not taste good. The color of the kale after cooking should be the same color as it was before cooking. If the kale has changed color, you have overcooked it. boiling kale will almost always overcook it and is not recommended. Also you will lose too much of the nutrients into the water when you boil it. If you cannot stir fry it, try steaming it. Although stir frying it will be tastier.


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