Friday, November 11, 2011

Bagged Kale?

The kale pickins have been awfully slim around my neighborhood, so I recently resorted to buying bagged kale from Trader Joe's.  It looked fresh and the quanity seemed equivalent in price to a loose bunch, so I figured I'd give it a try.

The first thing I noticed was that it wasn't organic.  The last organic bunch I'd bought was filled with- well, you know, so I wasn't too upset about that.  But then I noticed that it said "greens for cooking" and "cut, cleaned & ready to cook".  Why no raw love?  Perhaps because the kale leaves had been chopped with the stems?  Nevertheless, I washed the leaves thoroughly (only one or two cootified pieces per bag) and made my salad using Domestic Affair's dragon dressing, as recommended by Food Feud.

The stems are hiding; they know they're not wanted.
After the first two bites containing stems I knew this wasn't the solution to my kale drought.  And, even after I'd picked out the stems, the leaves were still inexplicably, overly bitter- despite my mildly sweet dressing.  I couldn't face another lunch of bitter grossness so I unpacked my prepared lunch portions, picked out the zillions of stems, and cooked the pre-dressed kale with chick peas, raisins, Braggs, and lots of Garam Masala.  Then I re-packed my lunches and hoped for the best.  It was nervy expecting cooked kale to be tasty at room temperature, but compared to the previous day's atrocity it was a gourmet meal.  There was still something off about it- it was too tough and sat in my stomach like a boulder, but as long as it was edible I didn't want it to go to waste.

Perhaps the bagged kale would be convenient for cooked recipes, but I'm still not sold on the taste; I'm going to stick with the fresh variety, de-stemmed.  Please note: try this at your own risk.  Sharing is not recommended; this kind of kale could turn someone against it for good!  I wonder if I am the only one who has had such a negative experience with bagged kale, or am I simply the only one who has ever purchased it?


  1. That's too bad about the TJ's bagged kale :-( I was hoping for a better report!

    The organic kale and my supermarket (Wegmans) has been absolutely exceptional this year and I made this amazing salad with raw kale and cooked grains:

    I am also a huge "dried fruit in my savory food" fan, so I put dried cranberries in the above salad!

    Boo to no organic kale at TJ's. Boo!! Here's to hoping I can keep getting my organic kale fix at Wegmans!


  2. Come to think of it, I bought a bag of this stuff this past summer, and didn't buy it again. All those chopped stems were off-putting, and it seemed strangely tough and gnarly. The manager was all excited that TJs was finally carrying kale, but maybe they need some advice.

  3. Hm, I definitely don't trust TJs on produce so I'm not really surprised. I hadn't attempted to buy kale from them because I find greens in bags get slimy very quickly anyway and also I read a review of TJ's three-greens mix (or something? It has collards, spinach, and something else) which was a terrible idea since collards take longer to cook than the other two. Yuck.
    And you were trying to be so good!

  4. cooking kale helps to increase it's nutrition value.

  5. I have had the similar experience with the bagged kale. Every since then I have only gotten organic fresh kale.

  6. I've always been bummed that TJ's doesn't sell organic kale or collards. It meant that even though at one point TJ's was walking distance from my house, I still had to regularly drive to Whole Foods.

    Pre-chopped and bagged produce just never tastes as delicious as buying the whole, fresh vegetable (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, spinach). I can see where it's a convenience for people and it's certainly better than not buying vegetables at all, but I think they're ultimately missing out on the optimum flavor. It sounds like the TJ's bagged kale is no exception. Too bad!


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