How To Massage Kale? 5 Tips To Soften Your Greens Like A Pro

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If you’re a fan of healthy eating, then you’ve probably heard of kale. It’s a wonderful leafy green that’s packed full of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to any diet. However, if you’ve ever tried to eat raw kale straight out of the packet, you might have found it a bit tough and bitter.

That’s where massaging comes in. Massaging your kale is a technique that helps to soften it up, making it more tender and palatable. But how do you massage kale like a pro? In this article, we’re going to share our top 5 tips for working your magic on those greens.

“Kale enthusiasts swear by this preparation method to take the bitterness out of the leaves and transform them into something delicious.” -Real Simple

We’ll cover everything from choosing the best type of kale, to washing and drying it properly, and the art of massaging itself. We’ll also give you some ideas for tasty flavour combinations, so you can enjoy your kale in all its glory.

So whether you’re a kale newbie or an experienced cook looking for some fresh ideas, read on to discover how to massage your kale to perfection.

Why Massaging Kale Matters

Improves Texture and Taste

Kale is a tough, fibrous leafy green that can be challenging to chew and digest. However, massaging kale breaks down the tough fibers and tenderizes the leaves, making it easier to eat. When you massage kale with olive oil or dressing, it infuses flavor into every crevice of the leaf, transforming it from bland and boring to flavorful and delicious.

“Kale has a very earthy taste – some people might even say dirty – but I love that because it reminds me where it was grown.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

Massaging kale is especially important if you plan to consume it raw in salads, smoothies, or as a garnish. The massaging process not only makes the kale more palatable, but it also brings out its natural sweetness and crunchiness.

Increases Digestibility

If you’ve ever had trouble digesting kale, you’re not alone. Its high fiber content, coupled with natural compounds called glucosinolates, can make it difficult for some people to break down and absorb nutrients properly. But there’s good news: massaging kale can increase its digestibility.

A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that massaged kale had significantly lower levels of indigestible fibers than un-massaged kale. This means that massaged kale may be easier on your gut and less likely to cause bloating or discomfort.

Enhances Nutritional Value

Kale is often touted as a superfood, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And while it’s true that kale is incredibly nutrient-dense, massaging kale can actually enhance its nutritional value.

“When kale is massaged or cooked, some of the tough fibers, called cellulose, break down into simpler carbohydrates, which are easier to digest,” -Dr. Barbara Olendzki

Massaging kale activates an enzyme called myrosinase that helps to break down glucosinolates into compounds like sulforaphane, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Massaged kale also has higher levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene than un-massaged kale, according to research published in the scientific journal Food Chemistry.

Reduces Bitterness

Bitterness is a common complaint when it comes to eating kale. Some people find that raw kale can be too bitter, while others simply prefer a milder tasting green. Fortunately, massaging kale can help to reduce bitterness.

By rubbing olive oil or dressing into the leaves, you’re essentially ‘cooking’ them with acid, breaking down some of the bitter compounds and producing a sweeter flavor. And if you add a pinch of salt during the massage process, it can further enhance sweetness and balance out any remaining bitterness.

“Kale is bitter by nature but can taste sweet when prepared properly.” -Jesse Lane Lee

If you’re not a fan of raw kale but want to reap its nutritional benefits, try massaging it before cooking. Sautéed, roasted, or grilled massaged kale make great side dishes or additions to sandwiches and wraps.

Massaged kale is an easy and delicious way to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet. Whether you enjoy it raw or cooked, massaging kale can improve its texture, taste, digestibility, and nutritional value while reducing bitterness. Try this simple technique today and see how much better your kale dishes can be!

Choose The Right Kale

Curly Kale

Curly kale is the most common variety found in grocery stores. It has tight, curly green leaves and a chewy texture. To prepare it for massaging, remove the leaves from the tough stems by holding the stem with one hand and pulling the leaf away with the other hand.

This type of kale has a slightly bitter taste, which can be balanced out by adding sweet or acidic ingredients to your salad. It’s also perfect for making kale chips! Just massage the kale with olive oil, salt, and any spices you like, then bake them at 350°F until crispy.

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan kale goes by many names including dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, and black kale. It has dark green, smooth leaves that are less curly than curly kale, and its flavor is more mellow than curly kale. This kale has much thinner stems, so there’s no need to strip the leaves before massaging.

The flavor of Tuscan kale pairs well with garlic, lemon, and parmesan cheese. Try massaging this type of kale with an acid-based dressing such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to tenderize the leaves and bring out the sweetness.

Red Kale

Red kale has red or purple leaves with pronounced frilly edges. It has a heartier texture and earthier flavor compared to the other types of kale. Red kale needs a bit more work to prepare, as you will need to remove the thick central vein running down the center of each leaf.

This type of kale adds beautiful color to a salad and can stand up to bold flavors like blue cheese, bacon, and balsamic vinegar. You can also use red kale to add a pop of color to smoothie bowls or juices.

When choosing your kale, look for firm leaves with no yellow spots or signs of wilting. Avoid kale that has brown spots or is slimy/mushy to the touch. Organic kale is always the best option when available, as it’s free from harmful pesticides and chemicals.

  • “Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king.” – Dr. Drew Ramsey
  • “Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, K, A, calcium, and iron.” – Dr. Josh Axe
  • “Massaging kale boosts its nutritional value by making important nutrients more bioavailable to our bodies” – Kelly LeVeque, Celebrity Health Coach
“Kale is my go-to leafy green vegetable because it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.”- Michelle Obama

Prepare The Kale

If you are looking for a healthy and delicious way to add greens to your diet, massaged kale is an excellent option. It’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K as well as fiber and antioxidants. But before you start the massage process, it’s essential to prepare the kale correctly.

Wash and Dry Thoroughly

The first step is to give your kale leaves a good rinse under cold running water. Remove any dirt or debris on the greens by gently rubbing them with your fingers. Next, dry the kale thoroughly using a salad spinner or clean kitchen towel. If the leaves are wet, they won’t massage properly, and you’ll end up with a soggy mess.

You can also remove excess moisture from the leaves by laying them flat on a paper towel or drying rack. Once they are completely dry, transfer them into a large bowl for massaging.

Remove Tough Stems

Kale stems are edible, but they tend to be tough and fibrous, which makes them challenging to chew. To make the leaves more tender, it’s best to remove the stems entirely. Here’s how:

  • Hold the stem at the base of the leaf and run your hand along the stem to pull off the individual leaves in one swift motion.
  • Once you have separated all the leaves, gather them together, stack them neatly on top of each other, and slice thinly across the pile.
  • Discard the leftover stems or save them for another use like adding to vegetable broth or stir-fry.

With these simple steps, your kale is now ready for the next stage: massaging!

“The massaging process breaks down and softens the tough fibers in kale, making it more tender and easier to digest.” – Ashley Melillo

Massage The Kale

If you’ve ever eaten raw kale before, you know that it can be quite tough and hard to chew. Massaging the kale helps break down its cell walls, making it much easier to eat while also enhancing its flavor. Here’s how to massage kale:

Rub Gently for 3-5 Minutes

Start by cleaning your kale leaves under cold running water. Remove the stems from the kale and chop or tear the leaves into small pieces. Place the chopped kale in a large bowl.

Next, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil onto the kale. You can also use other types of oils such as avocado or coconut oil if preferred. Use your hands to gently coat each piece of kale with the oil.

Now comes the massaging part! Take handfuls of the oiled kale and rub them together between your fingers until the leaves start to feel softer. Keep this up for 3-5 minutes, or until the kale appears darker in color and has significantly reduced in volume.

Add Salt and Acid

After you’ve massaged the kale, sprinkle salt and acid on top. The salt helps bring out the natural taste of the kale and the acid cuts through any bitterness. Lemon juice is an excellent choice as it adds a bright freshness and acidity to the dish, but feel free to experiment with vinegar or another citrus fruit.

“If I were stuck on an island and could only have five foods… I’d definitely need kale, salad dressing — an organic one made with quality ingredients — pasta (preferably brown rice fusilli), avocado, and dark chocolate.” -Jenna Dewan

Let Sit for 5 Minutes to Soften

Let the massaged kale sit for about 5 minutes after adding the salt and acid. This allows the flavors to develop even more, making your dish extra delicious!

From here on out, you can use your dressed-up kale in so many different ways: as a side salad, mixed with grains or legumes for a hearty meal, or simply added to any recipe that could use a nutritious boost of greens.

“If you want to live longer, eat more leafy green vegetables.” -Dr. Rhonda Patrick

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to take tough, bitter raw kale and transform it into a tasty, tender bite that’s loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals. So go ahead and try massaging your kale today!

How To Massage Kale?

If you’ve ever tried eating raw kale in a salad, you know that it can be tough and chewy. But by massaging the kale with some olive oil and lemon juice, you can transform it into a tender and delicious base for your salad.

Massage the Kale

To start, remove the stems from the kale leaves and tear them up into bite-sized pieces. Put the kale in a large bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the kale for several minutes until it starts to soften and turn bright green.

“Massaging kale is key as it breaks down the toughness of the leaves and releases nutrients,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Kelly Jones.

The pressure from massaging causes the tough fibers in the kale to break down, making it more palatable and easier to digest.

Add Dressing and Toppings

Now that your kale is softened and ready to eat, it’s time to add the dressing and toppings. You can use any dressing you like, but a simple combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper works great. Add in some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or crumbled cheese for extra flavor and texture.

“Kale pairs really well with bold flavors such as garlic, ginger, shallots, avocado, feta cheese, pine nuts, and raisins,” suggests chef Rachel Beller.

Massage Again to Incorporate

Once you’ve added all your toppings and dressing, give the kale another gentle massage to incorporate everything together. This will help distribute the flavors and combine all the ingredients evenly.

Let Sit for 5 Minutes to Marinate

After massaging the kale, let it sit for about 5 minutes to marinate. This will allow all the flavors to meld together and make the kale salad even more delicious.

“Marinating salad greens like kale is a great way to boost their flavor and texture,” advises chef Stacy Fraser.

Serve and Enjoy!

Your kale salad is now ready to serve! Enjoy it as a side dish or add some protein like grilled chicken or tofu to make it a satisfying main course.

“Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and fiber,” says registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix. “It’s also low in calories and can help keep you feeling full.”

So not only does massaging your kale make it taste better, it also makes it healthier and more nutritious. Give it a try and see how easy it is to turn tough raw kale into a delicious and healthy salad!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prepare kale for massage?

Start by washing the kale leaves and removing the tough stems. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and some lemon juice or vinegar to help break down the fibers. Massage the leaves with your hands until they wilt and become tender, about 5-10 minutes. Rinse the kale to remove excess salt and acid before using it in your recipe.

What equipment do you need to massage kale?

To massage kale, you only need your hands. However, using a mixing bowl or a large Ziploc bag can help contain the mess and make the process more efficient. A wooden spoon or a spatula can also be helpful to scrape any leftover pieces of kale from your hands or the bowl. Other than that, you don’t need any special equipment to massage kale.

What is the best oil to use for massaging kale?

When massaging kale, you want to use an oil that is mild in flavor and won’t overpower the taste of the greens. Some good options include olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil. You can also use flavored oils like garlic or chili oil to add some extra kick. Avoid using strongly flavored oils like sesame or walnut oil, as they can be too intense for kale.

What are the benefits of massaging kale?

Massaging kale helps to break down the tough fibers and make it easier to digest. It also helps to remove any bitterness from the leaves and enhances their flavor. Massaged kale is more tender and delicate than raw kale, making it a great base for salads, smoothies, and other dishes. Additionally, massaging kale can help to release its nutrients, making them more bioavailable for the body to absorb.

How long do you need to massage kale for?

The length of time you need to massage kale depends on the variety of kale and your personal preference. Generally, massaging kale for 5-10 minutes is enough to soften the leaves and make them tender. You can massage the kale for longer if you prefer a more delicate texture. Keep in mind that massaging kale too much can turn it into mush, so be careful not to overdo it.

What are some recipes that use massaged kale?

Massaged kale is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. Some popular options include kale salads with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, kale smoothies with banana and almond milk, or kale pesto with parmesan and garlic. You can also use massaged kale as a base for soups, stews, or stir-fries. Experiment with different combinations and flavors to find your favorite way to use massaged kale.

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