When my daughter has friends over to play after school, I offer them one of their favorite treats—dark, leafy green kale. Yes, that’s right, the curlier the better.
Are you surprised? You might expect a seven-year-old to be mortified by a mom who serves kale as an after-school snack. Me too, but I made a wonderful discovery last year and I will share it with you.
My secret recipe
Kale, as you know, is one of the most nutritious foods available on this planet. Nonetheless, it can be a tough sell. Kale is thick and fibrous, bitter, and prickly if it is very curly. It is hard to enjoy it raw in a salad (for me), and it is hard to cook it down. So what do we do with it?
This question became a quest. I decided that puree of kale was the way to go, and I destroyed two $100-dollar blenders trying to dismantle these rugged leaves. One blade broke right in half. But I was determined to add this food to my diet, so I plunked down the money for a high-end blender, 2 hp, 4-inch blade, and tried again.
So, it can blend iPhones, yes, but even this blender convulsed across the counter the first time I filled it with kale. (I had overloaded the blender, used the wrong setting, and did not use enough liquid.) Anyway, I learned. Fill the blender loosely with fresh, washed kale leaves, stems removed, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and pulse it slowly, pulse and pause, adding just a few leaves at a time. As it breaks down, add more kale. Don’t pack it too tightly. It worked!
This was progress. So then, what to do with pureed kale and lemon juice? I pour this concoction into 2-cup plastic storage containers, filling each container to about 1.5 cups to leave room for expansion, and freeze it. Each morning, I pull out one container and let it defrost until it is soft but still chilled. Then I make this.
- 1.5 cups pureed kale with lemon juice
- 2 whole apples with skins (cored), or 1.5 cups cinnamon applesauce (no sugar)
- 2 or 3 bananas
- 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. whole chia seeds
- Optional: 1 cup of fresh pineapple, 1 cup of fresh blueberries, or a handful of raw organic cucumber slices with skins
Blend everything but the seeds, pour into a cup, and sprinkle the chia seeds on top. This is my morning drink, and my daughter loves it too, but this is not what I serve the kids after school.
There is one more crucial step: Pour the leftover smoothie into Groovy Pop molds (BPA-free, Tovolo) and freeze them. Kids love popsicles, and deep green popsicles are a rad, bad, triple awesome treat. That is my secret. My daughter now loves kale, and so do some of her friends. We serve this all year round, even on chilly fall or winter days. Will it work at your house? Try it and let me know.
One cup of chopped, raw kale gives you 10302 IU of vitamin A (that’s about 206% of what you need each day). It gives you 80.4 mg of vitamin C (about 134%). It gives you 547 mcg of vitamin K (about 684%, wow). It is loaded with chlorophyll and other phytonutrients that science is just beginning to classify and comprehend.
Kale has a great omega ratio of 121 mg/92.4 mg of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids. Kale is alkalizing, and it is strongly anti-inflammatory, with an IF of 257 for one cup of chopped kale. This makes it one of the best anti-inflammatory foods available.
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Disclaimer—The articles here are not intended as medical, nutritional, or other professional advice. The ideas presented are my own, unless otherwise noted, and are for informational purposes only. Please use this information with discretion.