How to Use Kale

A picture of a large kale leaf

How to Store

Keep kale in a plastic container or bag lined with paper towels, which will help soak up moisture and prevent spoilage. Wait to clean until right before using. Store in the produce drawer of the refrigerator because the higher humidity will help prevent wilting. If in good condition and stored properly, kale may keep up to a week or even longer in the refrigerator. Cooked kale should be refrigerated and consumed within 4 days.

To freeze, blanch clean kale in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Cool in ice water, drain, package in freezer bags or containers, and freeze.

How to Clean

Clean well before use by separating and rinsing leaves individually. To help loosen any attached soil, immerse or swish leaves in a clean bowl of cool water for a few minutes. Use a salad spinner or blot dry with paper towels to remove moisture, if desired. The midribs of kale leaves can be quite tough; you may want to remove them before using the leaves.

Five Tips for How to Use

  • Chips – Make kale chips in the oven or microwave. Get creative with seasonings, trying different combinations of your favorite spices.
  • Pasta – Sauté kale and onions to add to your favorite pasta.
  • Soups and stews – Kale adds color and nutrition to stews with sausage and potatoes, chilis, vegetarian soups, and more.
  • Toast – Sauté kale in olive oil with garlic, red pepper flakes, and your favorite herbs and spices. Serve on toast and top with a fried egg.
  • Veggie bowl – Top brown rice or another grain with sautéed or roasted kale and other vegetables.

Hint: To improve the texture of raw kale in salads, massage it briefly until it just starts to wilt and soften.

Sautéed Kale

Serves: 4


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch kale
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


  1. Peel and slice the garlic. Coarsely chop the kale and discard the stems, if desired.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it shimmers add the garlic. Cook until soft, being careful not to burn.
  3. Add kale and the stock. Mix, turn on high, and cover for 5-7 minutes, or until soft but still green.
  4. Remove the cover and continue cooking until liquid has evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and vinegar and mix. Serve hot.


  • You can use water instead of stock, although you might need to add more seasonings to taste.
  • Kale stems are a good addition to dishes, but they take longer to soften than the leaves. You may want to add them before the leaves and cook slightly.