Select kale with deep colored, crisp leaves with tight curls or ruffles and moist stems. Discard yellow, brown, or wilted leaves. Kale with smaller-sized leaves have more flavor than larger leaves. While kale is available throughout the year, it is at its peak from mid-winter through the first months of spring.
Always buy organic as kale is in the top ”Dirty Dozen Plus” list of produce with unacceptable pesticide residues. See EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
There are dozens of varieties. The most common are
- Dinosaur (Tuscan, cavallo, novo and black kale). Crinkly dark green leaves with a sweet slightly spicy flavor.
- Red Russian Kale. Blueish green leaves with a red rib tasting slightly sweeter than common kale.
- Common kale. Frilly-edged green leaves.
- Purple kale (salad Savory, ornamental kale). Edible, frilly purple-pink-magenta colored leaves.
- Unwashed and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, kale will keep fresh for 2 or 3 days.
- Washed kale slightly moist and wrapped in paper towels or flour sacks and refrigerated in plastic bags keeps for about a week.
- Kale can be frozen. Just wash, dry, chop in small pieces and store in a freezer-safe bag or container. Remove as much air as possible. Use within six months.
- Be aware that the longer kale is stored the more bitter its flavor will become.
- Wilted kale is past its prime.
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