Kale has a substantial
mineral content, providing manganese as well as some iron, calcium,
and potassium and the antioxidant vitamin E in the leaves as well.
Kale should be kept in a chilled display case in the supermarket, otherwise
it will wilt and become bitter if left in a warm environment. Choose
the small leaved specimens for tenderness and mild flavour, especially
if the greens are to be eaten raw; coarse, oversized leaves are likely
to be tough. Look for a fresh green colour; leaves should not be yellowed
or browned. Purchase only moist, crisp, unwilted kale that is unblemished
by tiny holes, which frequently indicate insect damage.
Kale stems are edible, so ensure that this part of the plant is plump
and moist, not withered or collapsed.
Kale develops a stronger flavour the longer it is stored, so use it
within a day or two of purchase. Wrap the unwashed kale in damp paper
towels, then place it in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
Whether serving it raw or cooked, wash kale before using, as the leaves
and stems are likely to have sand or dirt clinging to them. Trim off
any roots, then separate the leaves and swish them around in a large
basin of cool water. Do not soak. Lift out the leaves, letting the sand
and grit settle; repeat if necessary.
the stems are thin and tender, you can just trim off the tips and cook
the stems with the leaves. If they are somewhat thicker, but still tender,
cut them off, chop them, and cook a few minutes before adding the leaves.
If the stems are really tough, remove them, along with the midribs (the
part of the stem that extends into the leaf). You can easily stem kale
by folding each leaf in half, vein-side out, and pulling up on the stem
as you hold the folded leaf closed. If the stems are very tough, you
may need to trim them off with a paring knife.
possible, use the cooking liquid from kale in a sauce, gravy or add
it to a soup; a significant amount of the nutrient content of greens
is released as they cook.