Prepping kale with a new baby seems like a silly idea. And while you’re doing it—destemming, chopping, cleaning, and drying—it seems like a silly idea. But when a big batch lasts the whole week, at-the-ready in the fridge, like the trusty carrot or the onion, you keep doing it week after week and drop it into everything, like this Quick Chipotle Kale Slaw and these Crispy Kale and Chickpea Bowls and that Thai Mango Kale Salad and Kev’s Kale Protein Smoothie. Here’s my method to the madness for having crispy kale all week long (and only making a big mess prepping it once).
How to Prep Kale for the Week
Choose the sturdiest, crispiest looking kale at the store or market. Attend to it within a day or two for best results. Begin by quickly rinsing the kale to wash off any dirt or buggy remnants. (We’ll do a more thorough wash momentarily.) Then destem the kale by holding on to the end of the stem with one hand while using the other to strip off the leafy leaves.
Next roll the kale leaves like a burrito, as you would if you were to chiffonade basil. Then chop into thin shreds. Roughly chop once more to break those long shreds into shorter segments. (I prefer kale chopped on the finer side, especially for kale salads. Kale is naturally a touch bitter. When cut more finely, I find it to be less bitter and extremely enjoyable. With that said, chop size changes flavor. Imagine biting into a huge hunk of bell pepper in a salad versus taking a bite with finely chopped bell pepper. The same thing applies here.)
Throw the kale leaves into a salad spinner filled with cold water and ice cubes and soak for about 5 minutes. This will not only wash the leaves, but the cold water will also help to crisp the kale back up. Before spinning, agitate the kale with your hands to help remove any leftover debris.
Remove the interior basket from the salad spinner, and drain the water from the kale. Discard or reuse the water. (I like to use this leftover water to water the plants around the house.) Then spin the salad several times to sluff off as much water as possible. Drain the water and repeat two times more.
Place an absorbent dishtowel on the counter. Add the kale along the middle of the towel in a thin layer. Fold the long sides of the towel over the kale to create a burrito.
Then gently roll into a smaller burrito to sop up additional water. We want the kale as dry as possible before storing. Unfold and set out on the counter for even more drying, about 20 minutes or longer. During this time, you can prep another batch of kale, go on a walk, make dinner, you get the idea.
Store the kale in a large, airtight bag in the fridge. (I use this reusable gallon-sized bag.) Line the bag with a couple of paper towels or an absorbent towel to wick up any remaining moisture. Change the towel throughout the week when noticeably damp. Water is only a friend of kale when growing and cleaning. Enjoy little bits here and there throughout the week.