Question: I know that kale is healthy for you, but I’m having a hard time getting my kiddos to eat it. Got any tips?
Answer: You are correct: Kale is a very nutritious food! It contains vitamins A, C, B6, and K in addition to manganese, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Additionally, kale is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is high in antioxidants and rich in brain-healthy nutrients such as lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Research suggests leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collards can help slow cognitive decline.
“Kale is a healthy fall vegetable that can keep growing deep into cold weather,” said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
McDermott, who runs the Growing Franklin food production blog, recently posted a video that he and fellow OSU Extension educator Jenny Lobb produced on how to dry kale into a crunchy snack that both kids and adults can enjoy.
Kale, which comes in many shapes and sizes, including Lacinato, Red Russian, flat leaf, and curly leaf, is easy to grow from seed and can be started indoors under LED lighting or started directly in the ground, McDermott said. The seedlings can be transplanted outdoors after about a month of growing, and harvesting can start as soon as the plant has produced several true leaves.
The video demonstrates how to make kale into a crunchy snack, including tearing the leaves of a stalk of fresh kale into bite-sized pieces seasoned with olive oil and salt, and placing it in a single layer into a dehydrator for about three hours to dry into crunchy kale chips.
“In the absence of a dehydrator, kale chips can be baked in the oven using a recipe such as the one found at foodhero.org/recipes/crunchy-baked-kale-chips,” Lobb said. “Kale chips are a crunchy snack that are easy to make, are full of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber, and are a delicious way to enjoy your harvest.”
There are several other ways to enjoy kale, including adding it to a smoothie, salad, or soup; sautéing it with olive oil, garlic, and lemon; mixing it into your pasta; or boiling it with smoked meat. Any way you choose to make it, adding kale to your diet is a smart, healthy choice.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected]