By Nancy Smorch
Kale is all the rage lately in the health, fitness, and nutrition world. It seems people can’t get enough of this “superfood!"
I remember only a few years ago when I did my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that every single week we had kale in our box. At the time, I had never tried kale, didn’t know much about it, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it to make it taste good. So each week when I would pick up my CSA box, I was always disappointed to see it filled with more darn kale.
I’m sorry, kale, I had no idea what your story was! My ignorance at the time prevented me from experimenting and learning just how nutritious and delicious you could be!
Now I grow an abundance of it in our garden and make everything from sautéed kale and sweet potatoes with brown rice to sautéed kale and onions in eggs, to even sautéing it to add to various lettuce salads. I even found a flat leaf kale here in Ocala that was actually sweet enough to eat plain! And I've been known to tear up some of this sweet kale, and put it into a glass container along with some lettuce and red pepper and carrot slices as a snack to take in the car when I’m in a hurry and need some nutrient-packed food!
What are some of these nutrients packed into kale? It’s loaded with calcium, iron, Vitamins K, A, C, B1, B2, and B6. It’s also very high in chlorophyll. For the amount of calories, it’s a nutritional powerhouse.
Kale does, however, contain naturally occurring substances called goitrogens, which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland when present in high amounts, or when it is eaten in high quantities and there is an iodine deficiency. Cooking helps to inactivate these compounds. That’s why you may hear of some people recommending that you don’t juice your kale. If you have any of these issues, do not juice your kale, and as a rule, you should alternate juices anyway. Not using kale repetitively can help you avoid problems, and you should check with your doctor if you suspect any thyroid or iodine issues.
Even with my new found love of kale, I have to admit, kale chips were just not my thing. I kept hearing about how great they were, but all of the packaged kale chips I bought tasted disgusting (well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but they weren’t good at all!). Then I had people telling me how easy they were to make and how I had to try them. As added motivation, I kept seeing recipes for kale chips everywhere.
So the other day when another friend was talking about kale chips again, I thought, you know, it’s my duty to give these kale chips a try and to make them myself.
So this morning, that’s what I did. And I have to admit, everyone was right - they were delicious!
I know there are a ton of different recipes out there for kale chips, but here’s what I did:
Separate the kale leaves from the hard stem
Tear up the leaves into bite size pieces (1 big bunch will do) and put them in a large bowl.
Drizzle about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over the torn kale
Add 1 garlic clove (finely chopped) and sea salt to taste
Use your hands to toss it all together and make sure to "massage" the olive oil into the kale, covering all the surface area.
Put the kale on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and making sure the pieces weren’t overlapping
Bake it in the oven at 170 degrees F for about 1 hour
It didn’t take long for them to disappear! I usually buy the flat leaf kale, but now I will be buying extra curly leaf kale because this is a super easy snack to make, and tastes especially good if you are having cravings for something a little crunchy and salty.