How to Cook Kale

Growing up in the South, I knew exactly three kinds of cooked greens: cabbage, turnip greens and collard greens. Today, though, the produce aisles of the stores I shop are overflowing with a huge variety of greens, many of which were exotic to me until fairly recently. Kale, for example.

Actually, though, kale is just a form of cabbage--but one in which the leaves do not form a head. In this it resembles wild cabbage. More surprising to me was learning that collard greens are a type of kale. So in a sense, I've been eating kale all my life.

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The plant sold as "kale" in the stores, though, is somewhat different from collards, and can be enjoyed for its own distinctive taste. It is a hearty rather than a delicate taste, and can be used to add intensity to salads, among other dishes.

Thanks to its hardiness, kale freezes well, unlike some other greens. You might find that freezing, even if just for overnight, will make it sweeter and tastier.

Before cooking kale, be sure to remove and discard the plant's tough center stalks. Even without the stalks, kale will be chewy. Thorough cooking is necessary to keep it from being too chewy.

Two easy ways to cook kale are by boiling and sautéeing.

To boil kale, wash the leaves and then rip them into bite-sized pieces. Put them in a saucepan with a half cup of water and a quarter-cup of vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook until the kale has turned a bright green. Remove from heat, drain off the liquid, and serve. For extra bite, sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

To sautée kale, wash the leaves and rip them into small pieces as above. Add the pieces to a frying pan in which you have sautéed a couple of cloves of minced garlic and some minced ginger in a little red wine or vegetable broth. Add 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce and continue cooking until the kale is a bright green. Remove from heat and serve. For extra crunch and taste, sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

However you choose to cook and serve it, you can feel good knowing that you are providing yourself and your family or guests with a food that is packed with nutrition. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid, as well as carotenoids, the precursors to vitamin A.

How to Cook Kale

Sarah Sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium. Have you ever wanted to be able to exactly duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah's article where she reveals her secret source for the most mouth-watering restaurant recipes in America:

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