how to cook kale

How to Cook Kale Leaves to Make It Taste Delicious?

If you are looking for health influencing vegetables, then kale tops the list! Kale is one of the most nutritious greens that you can opt for while dieting. It is extremely leafy and dense, and contains numerous healthy active components that boosts your wellbeing. Among all the edible plants on the planet, kale is definitely the healthiest with amazing medicinal values as well. To learn the various methods of how to cook kale, you need to know about the plant in detail first. It will help you explore your experimental culinary skills with different forms of kale. Kale has an abundance of several macro and micronutrients, along with vitamins and proteins.

How to cook kale without destroying its nutritional value? There are different methods to consume kale. If you are on a low carb diet, then kale is an excellent choice for you. Kale is enormously rich in nutrients, offering only six grams of carbohydrates and one gram of protein in each serving. There are loads of antioxidants present in kale, including the ones like kaempferol and quercetin.

When you consume 67 grams or one cup of raw kale, it gives you approximately 6 gm of carbohydrates. Kale also contains a very high concentration of vitamin C, which relates to improvement in your immunological activity.

Apart from boosting immunity, vitamin C also contributes to a healthy skin by combating free radicals released during cellular oxidation. Therefore, if you learn on how to cook kale efficiently- you can improve your immunity and slow down aging process.

How is different from other cruciferous vegetables?

Kale is a leafy, green vegetable that is dark in color and belongs to the cabbage family.  You can easily grow kale in any season, since it has the ability to tolerate low temperatures. The versatility, resilient and enormous nutritional value makes kale a unique member of cruciferous vegetables. In the world of healthiness, kale has gained wide range popularity that you can see expanding to various fitness stores.

Kale is an easy to reach vegetable in many European countries, USA, and parts of Africa, Asia and South America. You may even find kale available in different colors other than green like white, pink and even purple. How to cook kale in different ways? You can either eat kale in the form of salads, sautéed, in stews and soups or even stir fried.

How to identify kale?

When you are searching on the internet about how to cook kale, then you should know how it looks like. You simple cannot mistake any green leafy vegetable from the cabbage family for kale. When you go to the market for buying kale, remember that it looks quite analogous to a wild cabbage. The major differences are that the stalk of kale is a bit loose, and it has longer leaves than cabbage. Kale leaves have curved edges, instead of arranged firmly.

The two most commonly available kale in the market are baby kale and curly kale. However, you can even get other forms of kale depending on the area of your residence. You will find curly kale to taste a bit raw for salads. Therefore, it is better you cook curly kale into a nice green vegetable. For a delicious salad, baby kale is a great option as the leaves are quite tender. The softness of baby kale leaves add a different flavor to your salad.

When you add kale in soups or veggie mixture, it gives an atypical texture and color to your dish altogether. Kale is quite easy to cook and is inexpensive than other cruciferous vegetables. If you are on a healthy diet with limited budget, kale is the ultimate pro touch to your meals!

What are the benefits of kale?

Kale is the king of all green vegetables when it comes to health benefits and nutritional quotient. One normal cup of kale equals to 2.4 ounces offering up to 33 calories, with the nutrients including:

  • Vitamin A- with a percentage daily value of 206
  • Vitamin B6- with a percentage daily value of 9
  • Vitamin B1 or thiamine- with a percentage daily value of 3 or above
  • Vitamin B2 or riboflavin- with a percentage daily value of 3 or above
  • Vitamin B3 or niacin- with a percentage daily value of 3 or above
  • Vitamin C- with a percentage daily value of 134
  • Vitamin K- with a percentage daily value of 684
  • Calcium- with a percentage daily value of 9
  • Potassium- with a percentage daily value of 9
  • Magnesium- with a percentage daily value of 6
  • Manganese- with a percentage daily value of 26
  • Copper- with a percentage daily value of 10
  • Iron- with a percentage daily value of 3 or above
  • Phosphorus- with a percentage daily value of 3 or above
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Are you surprised with the DV percentage of vitamin K that kale offers? The daily value of vitamin K is as high as 684 percent, proving what an outstanding source kale is.

Vitamin Source

Vitamin K is an extremely essential nutrient, when it comes to managing blood clotting mechanisms in your body. When vitamin K activates specific proteins for binding with calcium in blood, it aids in effective clotting to prevent hemorrhage. Warfarin is an anticoagulant that actually works by stalling the mechanism of vitamin K.

Kale offers you seven times more vitamin K content than any other sources, as per daily consumptions. The form of vitamin K that you will find in kale is K1. K1 form is not same as K2 form, which you will majorly find in animal products and fermented soy items.

Kale is an excellent provider of beta-carotene, a type of antioxidant that can convert into vitamin A. Nutrients like zeaxanthin and lutein are also present in abundance in kale, which can protect your eyesight while aging. These two nutrients are carotenoid antioxidants, preventing two very common eye disorders like cataract formation and macular degeneration quite effectively.

Other advantages of eating kale:

Kale can help you reach serious weight loss goals without a doubt! It is a fat burn friendly food item that you can cook in numerous ways, but get the same result. Kale offers very low calories and gives you feels of hunger satiety, to prevent you from overeating in a day.

67 grams of raw kale contains approximately 3 gm of protein and one gram of dietary fiber. High protein and dietary fiber are two key ingredients, when it comes to planning low carb weight loss diet meal.

Kale also provides you with a good amount of essential minerals, which are mainly present in deficits in your body. An abundance of calcium content in kale ensures proper growth of bones and many other cellular functions. Kale provides quite a fitting percentage of magnesium that protect your from serious heart disorders and type 2 diabetes.

Potassium in kale helps in maintaining electric gradient across body cells. Optimum quantity of potassium in your body reduced the chances of sudden blood pressure escalation and heart diseases. If you have thyroid issues, then kale is a good choice to include in your daily diet. However, remember not to exceed the suggested everyday amount of kale consumption to avoid reverse effects.

Kale overmasters the beneficial range of other leafy cruciferous veggies in a key role, which is having low oxalate content. Many plants contain oxalate but in quite higher amount, than what your body requires. Kale meets the oxalate criteria in a befitting way, erases the risk of kidney stones, and ensures optimum mineral absorption.

Did you know kale has anti-cancerous properties?

Cancer is a difficult disease to fight, ensuring very low survival rate. How can kale benefit you in lowering down the risk of cancer? You already know that kale is extremely rich in multiple nutrients. There are certain active components in kale like sulforaphane that can give you shielding effects against cancer. Cancer is nothing but a major mutation that promotes uncontrollable multiplication of body cells.

Sulforaphane has the ability to combat the high rate of replication of cells, by interfering with specific molecular signals. Apart from sulforaphane, there is one more anti-cancerous component in kale called indole-3-carbanol with similar effects.

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How to cook kale in various ways?

Check out quick and easy ways to cook kale:

1. Blanching kale

What do you understand by blanching green vegetables? Blanching is dipping greens in a bowl of boiling water with salt, followed by subsequent cooling with cold water. There are a few plus points of blanching kale. Firstly, you can retain the green color of the vegetables by blanching. Secondly, blanching helps in wilting the leaves of veggies and make it tender for further preparations. Finally, you can remove the unwanted bitterness of kale by this process.

Kale has a very sharp bitter flavor, which might bother you while making different recipes of it. Blanching can tone down the bitterness in kale and impart a suitable flavor. Does blanching bleach vitamins out of kale? To some extent, yes blanching can strip off a certain percentage of vitamins from kale. However, not all the vitamins are lost during the process. You can still get an adequate amount of vitamin quotient in kale even after blanching.

2. Braising

How to cook kale by braising? When you braise veggies, you are actually cooking them under slow heat in a liquid (mostly water or some broth). Collard greens and kale respond excellently to braising, once you cook them in an enclosed utensil slowly.

Braising helps in appropriate absorption of ingredients from the broth, making kale leaves extremely tender and juicy.

You can put garlic, tomato, chilies and bacon as flavoring agents, and cook kale in a closed pot. Braising will help kale to soak up the amazing flavors in the liquid, and the outcome is a delicious meal!

3. Stews and soups

Adding kale to your soups is an awesome idea to make your regular soup look interesting and more delicious. Normally when you add green veggies to stews or soups, they add a different flavor.

Similarly, tender kale leaves can impart a unique flavor as well as nutritional value to your soups. You can even add sturdier greens turnip leaves and chards along with kale leaves.

What are other interesting ways of cooking kale?

Sauté

Sautéing is the process of frying veggies in a pan with very little oil over moderate or high heat. You can use either olive oil or butter for frying, if you are following a weight loss diet. However, any oil will work just fine when you are not on any diet.

Sprinkle little pepper powder and sea salt on the sautéed kale leaves while cooking. Do not forget to continuous stir it. When the greens become soft and wilted, it is time to put it down from heat. To impart some added flavor to your sautéed kale, you can put some crushed shallot or garlic. If you like it spicy, you can even add little amount of red chili flakes.

Stir fry

How is sautéing different from stir-frying? Stir-frying goes parallel to sautéing. However, one slight difference is that stir-fry requires higher heat and extra stirring than sauté. While learning on how to cook kale, remember not to mix up these two processes.

Stir-fry kale by trying out other ingredients normally present in Asian recipes like soy sauce, ginger, and fermented black beans.

Crisp fry

Do you love having chips in your free time? How to cook kale in the form of healthy crispy chips for snacks? Does it sounds interesting? Well, kale chips is an amazing snack that you can have in between your meals when you are hungry. You can make crispy kale chips at home in the healthiest way. All you require is a small pan with little oil and some parmesan cheese for topping.

Soak some kale leaves in a bowl of water to make it tender. After a considerable amount of time, dry the leaves and fry them in hot oil. Add little amount of parmesan cheese on the top and your crispy kale chips is ready!