AN INTRODUCTION TO KALE CHIPS
Kale is a green, leafy vegetable that is considered to be a variation of cabbage. There are multiple types of kale, but all types feature green or purple leaves and are able to grow during winter. When dehydrated or baked, kale takes on a texture similar to that of potato chips. These kale chips are fairly easy to create and can be seasoned to match individual preferences.
Numerous recipes for kale chips can be found that feature a wide range of cooking methods and varying flavors. However, many people prefer to buy pre-made kale chips in packages similar to potato chips. Kale chips are known to sometimes feature a mild sweet flavor depending on how long the kale used for the recipe was exposed to frost conditions. The combination of salty and sweet flavors makes kale chips a delectable snack for many people.
Kale itself first became popular in several European countries. Nations such as Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal have been using kale in recipes for centuries. In recent decades the popularity of kale has rapidly spread throughout the world, and now kale chips are becoming increasingly popular just about everywhere.
WHY ARE KALE CHIPS SO POPULAR
Kale chips are popular primarily because most people love the nutritional benefits they provide over other snacks. Potato chips have long been a popular snack for people of all ages, but potato chips often feature high amounts of preservatives, salt, unhealthy fats and calories. Meanwhile, kale chips feature flavors and textures similar to potato chips, yet they're made with heart healthy fats and contain far less calories and salt. Therefore, people can indulge in a crunchy treat that does not carry the same health ramifications as other more traditional salty snacks.
In addition to health benefits, kale chips are known to be quite easy to make. Compared to homemade potato chips that may require arduous deep frying, kale chips can be made via simple baking or dehydrating processes. Kale chips are also a very cheap snack to make. Baking or dehydrating a batch is inexpensive compared to deep frying or buying potato chips. None of the ingredients needed to make kale chips are very costly, and kale itself can be purchased in large quantities at low prices. These positive features of kale chips have made them popular among dieters, health experts and raw vegans.
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KALE CHIPS AND THE NEXT GENERATION OF SNACK FOODS
KALE CHIPS AND THE RISE OF RAW VEGANISM
In recent years, more people are deciding to join the raw vegan movement that encourages the consumption of fresh produce in its raw form. Raw vegans only consume essentially uncooked foods because many of the enzymes in food that aid in digestion have been found to be destroyed at about 118 degrees F, or 47 degrees C, according to some studies. Additionally, some studies have found that heating food to high temperatures can destroy some of the vitamins and minerals found in them.
Although kale chips are commonly made by baking kale, they can also be made by dehydrating kale leaves. Therefore, raw vegans can dehydrate kale leaves at very low temperatures in order to enjoy a healthy, raw snack. The dehydrated kale chips will also not spoil as fast as most raw foods. As the raw vegan movement continues to gain popularity, kale chips will continue to gain popularity as well. Although the raw vegan movement has not swayed everyone, many dieters and other health advocates are starting to employ many raw vegan ideals within their own high nutrition based eating habits and lifestyles.
THE INFORMATION AGE AND HEALTHIER EATING HABITS
With a health craze taking the world by storm, people are spreading information about healthy eating habits faster than ever. Countless Internet bloggers and popular health experts are providing articles and studies that inform people on how to live much healthier lives. Given that these individuals are consistently looking for new health topics to discuss, it is no surprise that they have started talking about delicious kale chips.
The Internet continues to become more user friendly and more accessible for everyone. Nearly anyone can now find heaps of information regarding all health topics, which includes health foods such as kale chips. As health information ranging from diet to illness treatment becomes more available and more accessible on the Internet, kale chips will continue to receive praise as a great snack for anyone looking to live a healthy, wholesome lifestyle.
A NUTRITIONAL OVERVIEW OF KALE CHIPS
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF KALE CHIPS
The health benefits of kale chips are astonishing. For example, kale chips are very beneficial for the eyes. In fact, one cup of kale contains over 200 percent of the daily recommended value of beta carotene. Beta carotene is known to help fight blindness and macular degeneration, and it helps remove impurities from the eyes that can hinder eyesight sharpness. Additionally, vitamin K in kale chips helps prevent blood clots, and the monounsaturated fat in olive oil used in many kale chips recipes can help lower bad or LDL cholesterol and fight heart disease.
Numerous antioxidants ranging from vitamin C to vitamin E can also be found in kale chips. These antioxidants help fight signs of aging and help reverse cell damage. In addition, vitamin C is well known for its benefits to the immune system, so eating kale chips can help fight illness. However, many people consider the biggest benefits of kale chips to be their ability to help with weight loss.
KALE CHIPS ARE LOW IN CALORIES
Kale chips are a great alternative to processed snacks such as potato chips, flavored popcorn and pretzels. When compared to other snacks, kale chips can sometimes feature more than 200 fewer calories. In fact, one cup of fresh kale contains just 34 calories. If one third of a tablespoon of olive oil is used on that cup for kale chips, then that batch of kale will total only 70 calories. Due to their excellent nutritional profile, kale chips can be eaten in larger quantities than other snacks while providing more vitamins and minerals and far fewer calories.
If someone were to eat a one cup batch of kale chips three times per week as a replacement for a 200 calorie snack, that person would lose about ten pounds in one year. People can indulge in kale chips without racking up high amounts of calories or low quality fats, and the nutrients in kale chips will easily curb any cravings in between meals. Given the easy cooking methods associated with kale chips, even a kitchen novice can whip up a quick batch.
THE TWO MOST COMMON WAYS TO MAKE KALE CHIPS
Kale chips can be made by using a variety of cooking methods. One method involves dehydrating kale leaves using a basic food dehydrator. To make kale chips using this method, one bunch of kale leaves must first be washed and dried. The leaves can be dried by placing them in a clean paper towel or by putting them in a salad spinner. From there, the leaves should be placed in a large bowl. Next, about one to three tablespoons of olive oil and half a teaspoon of salt should be added to the leaves. To help evenly coat the kale with olive oil and salt, the leaves can be gently massaged among the other ingredients with clean hands.
Once the kale leaves are prepared, they should be evenly spread out onto dehydrator trays. It is best for the leaves to not overlap, but slight touching is acceptable. The leaves should then be allowed to dry in the dehydrator for around 4 to 6 hours at 115 degrees F, or 46 degrees C. Once dry, the kale chips can be removed and eaten. The low temperatures used in this method allow the kale chips to remain raw, so raw vegans often use this method for preparing them. However, the fastest method to make kale chips involves simple baking.
Baked kale chips are easy to make and do not require very much baking time. Before preparing one bunch of kale leaves, an oven should typically be preheated to 350 degrees F, or 175 degrees C. To begin preparing the chips, remove the tough, inner stalk and thick veins from the kale leaves. The leaves should then be gently washed, and a paper towel or salad spinner should be used to dry them. The dry leaves should be placed in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and seasonings, but the leaves should not be saturated with oil.
To prevent too much or too little olive oil from being applied to the kale, try adding the oil one tablespoon at a time. If the leaves seem dry after one tablespoon, add another tablespoon, and repeat this process until the leaves are moist but not greasy or limp. Salt, pepper and other seasonings can be sprinkled to add unique flavors to the leaves once they've been oiled. The seasoned leaves should be placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in one layer. Generally, the kale should bake at the preheat temperature listed above for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Given that kale leaves can easily burn, it is best to check the leaves every few minutes as they are baking.
THE TWO MOST POPULAR KALE CHIPS FLAVORS
DEHYDRATED SALTED KALE CHIPS
Numerous types of kale chips recipes have been created to add unique twists to this popular snack. The most popular flavor, however, are simple dehydrated salted kale chips. These chips are popular among commercial manufacturers and home cooks. Dehydrated kale chips are often called raw kale chips as this refers to the chips being dried at a temperature equal to or lower than 118 degrees F, or 47 degrees C.
To make dehydrated salted kale chips, rinse and dry a bowl of prepared kale leaves and then stir in extra virgin olive oil and salt. Next, the leaves should be arranged on a dehydrator tray in a single layer and dehydrated for 4 to 6 hours at 115 degrees F, or 46 degrees C. At the fourth hour begin periodically checking on your dehydrating kale chips just to make sure that they don't over dry. As dehydrator efficiency can widely vary between appliance brands, we've made sure to list a two hour margin of final drying time for most of our dehydrated kale chips recipes.
Another highly popular kale chips flavor are baked cheesy kale chips. These chips are not quite as popular as simple dehydrated salted kale chips, but they are still frequently made by kale lovers around the world. Creating baked cheesy kale chips is more complicated than making the more simple flavored varieties, but the process can still be completed by nearly anyone.
To make baked cheesy kale chips, about three quarters of a cup of cashews should first be placed in a bowl with water for two hours. One bunch of kale leaves should then be washed, dried, and cut into chip size pieces. Next, you'll need to preheat your oven to 300 degrees F, or 150 degrees C, which is slightly lower than what a more simple batch of kale chips will bake at. Moving along, you will now want to add garlic, red peppers, olive oil, nutritional yeast and the soaked cashews into a food processor. For additional flavor, fresh lemon juice and soy sauce can be added to the mix as well. After processing the ingredients into a creamy consistency, the kale leaves should be evenly coated with this paste and then arranged in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow the kale chips to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they're light and crispy. During the baking process do be sure to check on them frequently just to make sure that they don't burn or char. The baked cheesy kale chips can be served after they have cooled for 5 minutes.
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