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Raw wilting

Thursday, May 02, 2013

So, yesterday I discovered something sort of amazing, but of course it's probably something that raw food enthusiasts already know about: raw wilting!

This actually came about completely by accident. As anyone who's worked with kale before knows, it is a little bitter and also a very coarse green to work with. I personally feel that it's better suited to cooking than to eating raw, for these reasons, because it removes some of the bitterness and makes its texture better when cooked in some manner (either by baking, to make it crispier like a chip, or by sauteeing, to make it softer).

Well, I had planned to have some for lunch yesterday, so while I was doing morning food prep, I went ahead and put some kale leaves (which I had torn into pieces) into a pan with some melted butter and olive oil. I figured then I could just quickly sautee it when lunch time came. I also added a little pink Himalayan salt to it, and then stirred it a bit to coat the leaves.

About once per hour for the next 3 hours, I came to the kitchen to get a drink of water, and I stirred the kale some more, just to make sure it was all coated.

Lo and behold, by midday, the kale resembled completely a pan of kale that had already been lightly sauteed. Amazing! And the best part is twofold:

1) I probably retained most of the nutrients in the leaves by not cooking it; and
2) Many sources say that you should not cook with olive oil, because it transmutes some of the healthy ingredients into unhealthy ones (sorry, I forget the specifics). Well I didn't end up heating the oil at all.

Now, I'm sure just being out in room temperatures played a large part in what I am calling the "wilting," but of course dressing it also helped (don't leave out the butter; it helps you absorb vital nutrients from the kale), in terms of wetting it down a little... unscientifically speaking. :)

While it wasn't a "hot" dish, that didn't detract at all from the flavor nor texture of the finished kale product. I am absolutely going to start doing it this way every time, and I guess a third bonus is that you save a little bit of energy this way, as well!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think the salt idea makes sense... it's something I'd never thought of, though. Sounds interesting. I think I'll give it a try.
    1782 days ago
    Well, I guess it could. I only used about 1/8 t. for 1 c. raw greens. But I know salt sucks moisture out of things, so that may well be ... it would collapse the cell walls and soften it a bit. Good thinking!!
    1782 days ago
    Interesting! I wonder if it has anything to do with the salt?
    1782 days ago
    That's a good idea, about the spinach! I hadn't thought of that. I told my mother of my kitchen adventures, and she responded with yet another option from her own experiences, as well:

    "We grew up on wilted lettuce, which is really yummy! Mama cooked bacon in a skillet, removed the bacon, and to the drippings, she added a mixture of salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar. When she got it all hot, and the sugar dissolved, she poured it over chopped lettuce and green onions. Oh Yum! It just doesn't get any better than that! And it has to be at room temp, for if the lettuce is cold, it's really greasy and yukky. But warm, oh my goodness! Delicious!"

    Edit: I should note that their lettuce back then wasn't any form of iceberg lettuce. It was closer to curly-leafed varieties such as endive.
    1782 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/2/2013 12:48:38 PM
    Well now, isn't this interesting. I am pretty well versed in the kitchen, so this is a surprise. I will keep that in mind for spinach!
    1782 days ago
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