At Oak Spring Farm, we love our greens! They’re an important source of key nutrients — easily overlooked in the standard American diet — yet so easily incorporated into practically any dish.
Whether spinach, arugula, chard, collards, endive, mustard, beet and broccoli greens, microgreens, tatsoi, or escarole, we grow greens with their own culinary charm and dietary benefits.
THE SUPERFOOD THAT PACKS A PUNCH!
Kale is one of the greens we grow that’s a staple in our farm shares every year, and for good reason.
Whether tender baby kale, giant flat leaf lacinato (dinosaur/Tuscan) or curly kale, did you know this green contains more vitamin C than any other leafy green? It’s partly why you hear it referred to as a superfood.
But one cup of kale is also chock full of vitamins A and K, beta-carotene, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, fiber, protein and magnesium. It contains anti-cancer properties and B vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin.
Maybe best of all, eating kale can keep you young — Kale Yeah! Oxidative stress is thought to be one of the strongest causes of aging. Kale is rich in powerful antioxidants that can help combat this oxidative stress.
STICK IT IN EVERY RECIPE
It’s so versatile that it can be:
- sautéed and added to practically any entree,
- massaged and cut into ribbons for use in quinoa/bean salads,
- frozen for later use in soups and stews,
- substituted for lettuce in tacos,
- blended into sauces for pastas,
- incorporated into stir fries and fajitas,
- blended into smoothies,
- hidden in baked goods… The options are really endless, so there’s no excuse not to use them up!
We love baby kale in our OSF signature “spicy” salad mix. You can’t find this mix anywhere else. We toss Salanova lettuce with parsley, cilantro, tatsoi, baby kale and mizuna. It’s perfectly paired with our signature dressing recipe (included in our Lettuce Love Blog).
IT’S HOME, NOW WHAT?
Check out the tips below to make the most of your bunch of kale. Don’t be shy. Once you get used to adding kale and other greens to your favorite recipes, you’ll realize something’s missing when you don’t!
To store: Place kale unwashed, wrapped in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. It’s best used very fresh but will last for a week or more.
To prep: Wash leaves in a basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. If your greens have thick stems, you must remove them. Fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem. Then stack the leaves up and slice them diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips or shred into chunks. Lisa’s quick method: Hold the bottom of the stem and with your other hand slide finger and thumb up the stem- freeing the leaf from the stem. Easy Peasy.
To use: Saute in olive oil. Use in soups, spaghetti sauce, pesto, quiche, stir fry, or bake kale chips for an easy snack or garnish. You can also eat the stems or dice and throw them into your soups or stews. When cooked, kale tends to have a mild, cabbage-like taste.
If you want to eat curly kale raw, such as in salads, first break down the stiffness of the leaves. It will make it easier to chew and digest but will also yield a more tender, sweeter taste. Lisa’s quick method: after prepping, throw the kale in your stand mixer and use the coated white flat beater to do the work for you. Start slow and increase speed as it becomes more tender. Traditional method: coat with a little bit of oil (lemon juice optional) and massage any hard kale leaves with your hands or smash with a large spoon to break up the stiffness of the leaves.
To freeze: Lisa’s quick method: pack a freezer bag with leaves, press down to remove air, seal most of the way except for a straw sticking out, suck out the remaining air and seal it up! Done. Traditional method: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Stems can also be frozen.