When you have a bag of kale….

When you have a bag of kale….

And I mean a BIG bag of kale! I went for a walk with a friend earlier this week and she greeted me by saying, “Oh, I have some kale from our garden for you!” *Delighted* I anticipated perhaps a small bag, maybe even a couple of bunches, but then she pulled this out of the back of her car:

bag of kale

Yes, that’s a full-sized garbage bag. My friend laughed a little at the look on my face – delight now mixed with a LITTLE dismay…the wheels were spinning – “What am I going to do with all that kale?!” and then she added, “the roots are in the bag too, so it’s not as much as it looks like. It was still A LOT of kale.

Luckily, I love this vegetable! So with more delight than dismay, I took it home and proceeded to look up ideas for using up large quantities of fresh kale – because this WAS fresh! Beautiful, tender leaves, barely blemished…I didn’t want to waste a bit. I thought about kale chips, but I wasn’t really in the mood…I really wanted a way to save it so that I could use it in smoothies, which is one of my favorite ways to consume this nutrient-dense green. So, to fortify myself for the work ahead, I made myself a smoothie:

kale smoothie
1 cup almond milk, 1 orange, large handful kale, 1 cup-ish of frozen blueberries, water to thin, and 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

…and I got started. I cut off the roots, and proceeded to stem, wash, chop and dry all the kale. Then I froze it on baking sheets to avoid having a big clump of frozen green stuff in my freezer – not good! This is what it looked like:

kale ready for freezing

I had to do this in batches, so I put the sheets one at a time in the freezer for a few hours (they didn’t take long to freeze), and then I put the pieces in ziploc bags, pushed out the air, and it worked like a charm! In the meantime, I made myself a massive kale salad with ranch dressing from Mark Reinfeld’s new book Healing the Vegan Way (pictured at the top of this post) – YUM!

I saved the last of the batch for my cooking class on Wednesday night, and amazingly that was it. I have about 3 bags of frozen kale all ready to go for those days when we have run out of fresh greens.

Some interesting kale facts you might be interested in:

  • cooking this green increases the absorption rate of some nutrients (like magnesium), but decreases others (like folate, which is heat sensitive), so it’s a good idea to include both cooked and uncooked kale in your diet
  • it is absolutely LOADED with nutrients. One cup of chopped kale has more vitamin C than an orange, and is a good source of calcium and essential fatty acids (greens in general are THE most nutrient dense food there is)
  • kale is one of the vegetables that is heavily sprayed, so buy organic or grow your own (as this post shows that’s not so hard to do…the reason my friend had so much kale to share is because it seeded itself in her garden and volunteers popped up all over the place!)

What’s your favorite thing to do when you have a great batch of kale?

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