Why, When and How to Massage Kale
Did you know that dark leafy greens are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet?
One of the healthiest dark leafy greens is kale, and it also falls under the family of cruciferous vegetables.
As far as greens go too, kale is one that doesn't easily wilt so you can buy it and still eat it a couple days later. It's easy to pick up at the grocery while doing other shopping, even if you won't prepare it on the same day.
Why massage kale
We love to eat kale 'massaged' since it really improves the texture and ease of chewing it - your jaws do not tire out! The curly kale and Tuscan kale are two popular varieties that also are tougher to chew. This mouthfeel could usually overtake the flavors in a dish, as you're so focused on chewing!
The texture of the food we eat contributes to variety too - think mashed potato and baked, peanuts and peanut butter. Massaged kale breaks down the toughness, and gives the texture a slight bite, like an al dente noodle...in it's own way :)
It's also a good way to infuse flavor directly onto the leaf before you put it with other items, or to even eat on it's own. We like to massage ours with lemon juice, Florida Citrus Spice and Aleppo Pepper Flakes from The Spice House, followed with just a touch of extra virgin olive oil.
As you'll see, it magically reduces the quantity, similar to the way cooking would, but it's still a raw food, with nutrients undestroyed from over cooking.
When to massage kale
If you plan to cook your kale, it doesn't need to be massaged. It's only when eaten raw that you would want to take some time to massage it.
There are also times when you might want to thinly slice your kale, which also makes it easier to chew, but this is a different texture than massaged kale. Again, it's about variety which another technique adds, and what possibilities that new technique opens up.
Post and pre-massaged kale - same quantity of each!
How to massage kale
First wash and dry your kale. Then remove the largest and toughest part of the stem by running your hand along it and taking the leaves off. Be sure to keep the stem for any vegetable stock or paste that you may want to make. It can be frozen for later use, so you don't need to use it right away.
Next, stack the leaves on top of one another and slice into bite size pieces.
Put into a large mixing bowl, glass or ceramic is preferred. For 2 large bunches of kale, you should have about 10 cups worth. Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, half tablespoon of oil, any spices you'd like to use and massage for 2-3 minutes with clean hands. If using pepper flakes you should use gloves.
Your kale is ready to be added to a plate with legumes, veggies, on pasta, with quinoa, mixed with a creamy sauce or added to a pizza. Enjoy!