If you’re not already a kale lover, now is the season! Kale is one of the most cold-tolerant greens, and overwinters fairly reliably in Maine when provided with some winter cover. Therefore you’ll start seeing fresh kale in markets even in winter. By early spring, it’s easy to find fresh, local baby kale. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Baby kale leaves (usually just 2-3 inches long) are soft and mild enough to eat raw in salads.
  • Kale leaves hold up well to cooking: toss them in a stir-fry, and they will add flavor, body, and nutrients! Just strip out the thick stems. (Consider chopping them and cooking first, so they have a chance to soften.)
  • Large kale leaves also make great additions to salads! The key is to “massage” them. This is simple to do: just remove the stems, tear up the leaves to bite-sized pieces, then rub and squish the leaves in your hands until they are soft and pliable. The massaged kale will be tasty, soft, and the perfect texture to mix with other salad ingredients like beans, cheese, and herbs.