Zeke, ONIE Project Dietitian: How did you get started? Talk me through it.
Kale: Well, I come from a big family of cruciferous vegetables. A lot of people don’t realize it, but I’m actually related to cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, and brussels sprouts. I’m a big icon in the vegetable world, and it can be a lot of pressure. I’ve been around for a long time and people were really quick to label me as weird or gross, but I’m ready to make my comeback.
Z: What is one thing you can’t live without?
K:Well, if you’re trying to keep me around for as long as possible I require a few things, but I promise I’m not high maintenance.
I definitely need to be kept cool at all times. The produce drawer in the fridge is my happy place. I last longer if you leave me whole, up to one week! But if you chop me up, then you’re gonna want to put me to use within 2-3 days.
Z: What would you like to be remembered for?
K: When people think of me now, they often think of me as plain, boring, or gross. I want people to remember that I can be nutritious AND tasty. I have so many beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, folate, potassium, and magnesium!
There are also so many ways to prepare me. Usually, people go for raw kale in a salad or sauteed because it’s quick and easy, but if you have the time, roasting me is a great way to bring out my flavor and crisp up my edges. I’m really easy to go with any type of dish, too. Rice, pasta or breakfast dishes and even sheet pan dinners, you name it and I’m there!
Z: What’s your favorite season?
K: I might be biased, but October through April is a great season… it’s when all kale is at its peak! You’ll know how to pick good leaves of kale during these times by looking for kale with a deep green or purple color with a firm stalk or stem through the leaves. If the stalk feels limp or you see yellowing, then it’s starting to head downhill.
Z: What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
K: I’m actually a lot tougher than I look. My rib is so tough, it’s inedible so you have to remove it before eating. My leaves can be tough too but I use olive oil to loosen them up.
Z: Sweet or savory?
K: Definitely savory. You can find a whole list of recipes with kale included from ONIE here.
Z: If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be and why?
K: Cauliflower, hands-down. Cauliflower has had quite a time acting as rice, pizza crust, crackers, and who knows what else these past few years. Everyone is so accepting of cauliflower, but they would never look twice at a kale pizza crust! What’s wrong with a little green?
Z: We went on social media and found some posts that mention you. We would like you to respond.
@oliviathechef says “Avoid a kale-amity when baking kale chips: set the oven to 325 F, instead of 350 F.”
K: Kale chips are delicious! The best part about them is being able to flavor them the way you like. I love them with olive oil, garlic, and chili pepper for a kick!
Z: @DadJokes135 “I’m trying to eat more kale because it’s healthy. But when I see it on my plate, I ask myself… Do the ends really justify the greens?”
K: Haha you’re kale-ing me! Have you tried sauteing kale and adding it to your favorite pasta dish or homemade pizza? There are so many tasty ways to enjoy greens!
Z: Thanks so much for joining us today Kale! Where can folks find you?
K: Thanks for having me! You can find me whole or pre-cut at any grocery store or farmers market! Also, check out my social media takeover on the ONIE Project Facebook and Instagram @onieproject or follow the hashtag #GreenMakesItGreat!