Kale is a nutrient-dense, leafy green vegetable that is a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, C, E and K. Leafy greens could be a stellar addition to your lifestyle. Unfortunately many of us (children and adults alike) refuse to eat them. Why? Kale and other dark green vegetables (like broccoli and collards) have a bitter flavor and traditional cooking methods often do not improve meal-time appeal.
Read more to discover techniques that improve the flavor of kale and other bitter greens.
Blanch them to decrease bitterness and create a pleasing crunchy texture.
Cooks tip: How to blanche. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (pretend you are making pasta). Add dark leafy greens and cook until bright green and still crunchy. Drain and shock (stop the cooking process) by plunging them in an ice water bath.
Do not over cook your greens! Why? Texture is often a key factor in food preference. For example, a child who won’t touch steamed broccoli might eat an entire bowl of crunchy blanched broccoli with their favorite dressing.
Sauté. This method of cooking allows you to add layers of flavor and helps prevent overcooking.
Cooks tip: Try something new! Over medium heat sauté onions until soft, reduce heat and add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, kale and sliced kumquats (lime, lemon or orange juice works well too) and continue cooking until kale is tender.
Add citrus juice and zest at the end of cooking. Sour citrus juices like lemon and lime mask bitterness and don’t for get the zest to add another layer of flavor.
Dress them up with flavorful fats like avocados, nuts, seeds or your families favorite dressing.
Add a pinch of heat. Red pepper flake, sriracha sauce, ginger paste, cayenne pepper, black pepper…
Remember that children learn food behaviors from parents, siblings, and other role models. So ask older siblings not to make comments or faces at the dinner table.
Attention parents and guardians! If you want your children to be adventurous and try new, healthful foods, you need to be adventurous too!