Why is it that sometimes the healthiest foods are the gassiest foods? Kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts should have warning labels – something like, “Eat too much of this and your jeans won’t fit.” or “Work up to a bowl full gradually.” or “Best not eaten on date night.”
Here are two ways we eat kale at our house to lessen its impact later:
1. We blanch or boil it first – then sauté in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for two minutes. Instead of eating a big bowl of kale in one sitting or plunking a mountain of it down next to the main course, we use use a small amount at several meals and work the remainder in during the week in omelettes or a soup.
2. We chop it up into small pieces. For those of us that don’t chew every bite of food 30 times (isn’t that most of us?), eating smaller pieces just makes it easier for the stomach acids to break it down.
Kale chips – I’m not sure if kale chips are easier on the stomach but I do know my entire family loves them. Use flat-leafed kale, (aka Lacinato, Dinosaur or Tuscan), not curly kale. To make chips in the oven, there’s a fast method and a slow method. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The slow method (without a dehydrator) involves setting the oven at its lowest possible temperature and drying the kale for a couple of hours either with the door cracked or by turning the oven off an on. I use the fast method and it goes like this:
~REMOVE THE STEMS: Rip the kale from the stems retaining the biggest pieces possible. Compost the stems.
~WASH & DRY: Wash the kale in a huge bowl of water, swish it around, lift and rinse. Discard the water or dump it on your compost. Place pieces on a lit free cloth or paper towel and roll up the paper towel to blot off excess water.
~PREHEAT AND PARCHMENT: Preheat oven to 350°F. ~prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
~SEASON & TOSS: Place the kale back in the big bowl and drizzle a SMALL amount of olive oil over the kale (@1 tablespoon). Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt). Toss and ensure each piece is barely coated with oil. Add more if needed. They should not wilt under the weight of the oil. If they do, you added too much. You can experiment with different seasonings.
~BAKE: Place the kale on the parchment like puzzle pieces, trying not to overlap.Bake for 10-14 minutes. Some pieces may start turning brown. Try to take the kale out of the oven before browning. A good rule of thumb is to take the tray out when the kale looks stiff and green and let sit outside the oven for a minute, then test to see if crispy to your liking. This way you’ll know what baking time works for your taste and your oven.
When kohlrabi is in season we make chips and love the taste just as much. The nice lady at the farm stand always asks us if we want to keep the tops and we told her that we make chips out of them. She was surprised and said she’s going to start sharing that with her customers.