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spazita Jun 15, 2011 08:20 AM

Hi all. Can the stems on kale be cooked and eaten, or are they always really tough and inedible?


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  1. cowboyardee RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 08:53 AM

    They can be eaten, but they'll always be the toughest part of the plant. Most recipes remove them, though when I'm cooking just for myself, I often don't bother - my tolerance for toughness and chewiness is unusually high, it seems.

    Braising kale for a long time as you would with collard greens leaves the stem tender enough that I'd bet most people would eat it without complaint. It seems to be more common to braise kale for something like 10-15 minutes and remove the stems though.

    1. s
      small h RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 10:29 AM

      I recently had pickled kale stems at a restaurant. They were pretty good, so I put that in my mental "try this at home" file.

      1. ttoommyy RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 10:47 AM

        I recently made a pasta sauce with kale and removed the stem part below the leaf but left the rest of the stem that ran through the leaf. it was fine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy
          uwsister RE: ttoommyy Jun 15, 2011 10:31 PM

          That's what I do as well.

          1. re: ttoommyy
            twilight goddess RE: ttoommyy Jun 17, 2011 09:11 AM

            What kind of pasta sauce??? curious!

            1. re: twilight goddess
              ttoommyy RE: twilight goddess Jun 17, 2011 11:39 AM

              I sauteed diced pancetta with some hot pepper flakes then added chopped shallots and garlic. When they were sufficiently sweated I added the chopped kale and cooked until tender to the bite. Then I added some pasta water to make a bit of a sauce; tossed with the al dente pasta and some grated grana padano. It was delicious.

          2. j
            joonjoon RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 01:55 PM

            I always eat the stems, I find them to be deliciously crunchy. And I don't bother boiling/braising it, I just add a little water to the pan and do a quick pan steam/saute. If you think it's too much to chew just cut it into tiny pieces.

            1 Reply
            1. re: joonjoon
              cowboyardee RE: joonjoon Jun 15, 2011 02:48 PM

              Plenty of people would still call that a braise, at least as far greens go.

            2. arktos RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 03:00 PM

              I always 'do' Kale Brazilian style. That is, fold over the leave, slice out the stem, stack the folded leaves atop each other. Then tightly wrap them into a slender cylinder, much like rolling a cigar, then cutting them chiffonade-style 1/8" thick. In Brazil, there are big baskets of already chiffonaded kale for purchase at markets.

              1. scubadoo97 RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 05:36 PM

                When chopping kale I will chop very fine when I get to the stems but use nearly the entire stem. I cook the leaves and stems together. When chopped fine the stems cook very quickly. The stems have great flavor and texture. They don't come out tough or stringy. Just chop them very thin.

                1. Will Owen RE: spazita Jun 15, 2011 09:32 PM

                  There are so many greens recipes that call for removing the stems and cooking those first, so that one can actually chew them. Mostly for chard, which does have tastier stems, but if the kale is not too tough and old I'll see how they cook. It's not that much trouble, and if they turn up edible why not? Just more stuff to eat!

                  1. o
                    odkaty RE: spazita Jun 16, 2011 08:22 AM

                    I always cook & eat. The only tough ones I've come across are in those supermarket mega-bags of pre-washed greens.

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