Kale chips?

party_music50June 16, 2014

Hi -- I *finally* tried making kale chips..... I followed the instructions I found on-line and removed all large/tough ribs, massaged with some olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and baked at 450F for about 15 minutes. The kale chips ended up being *extremely* thin and so brittle that the slightest pressure (or bite) would crush/crumble them into tiny bits.... IOW, the resulting texture was a lot like dried catnip leaves. :)

What didn't get eaten immediately (lots :) was stored in an airtight container. The next day I wanted my friend to try some, but when I tested they seemed to be the texture of slightly under-dried catnip leaves with just enough moisture in them so that they wouldn't crush and were unpleasant to chew... and even the tiniest rib/vein part in any leave was hard and sharp enough to be dangerous to eat! I tried warming them quickly in the oven and the result was that they were again brittle/crumbly but with sharp dangerous riblets. :p

Is that really the way that kale chips are supposed to be or was the 15 min. bake time from the instructions way too long? For those that make kale chips, how do you do it?

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I've read the 450 temp but I use much lower...at 450 they cook way too fast.
Also make sure the leaves are very dry before massaging with just a small amount of oil. very small amount.
Works best with a very thick hearty kale.
I also make sweet potato and red and golden beet chips at the same time...
separate trays because of timing, but like the combination of different veg chips.
(needs to be evenly paper thin by using a mandolin)...and very small amount of oil, just enough to barely coat with fingers...

Cooked at such a high heat, some leaves will near crisp to a burn, while thicker bits will hold onto moisture and be chewy...keeping a bit of moisture so they will not store well...

To make sure you get full dehydration, turn your oven down to the lowest setting about the time they seem dry....for another 10 min, then turn the oven off and leave them in for another 1/2 hour or more while it cycles down. Takes a few tries to get the perfect timing as all ovens are a bit different. Try starting off at 350-375 and add a bit more time.

Too much oil and you will also get a chip that turns to a dust. And go easy on any salt or spice as it gets very concentrated when they dry and shrink down...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:16AM
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I have made them with various combinations of heat and seasoning and I simply do not see the point. No one in my house will eat them, and I do not enjoy them at all. I even tried purchasing prepared ones. No one cared for them.

Edited to add that I don't mean to sound harsh. Just expressing my frustration with something I really wanted to like because I do use a lot of kale. However, I prefer it in salads, casseroles, soups, or steamed, rather than in chip or smoothy form.

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 10:42

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:22AM
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My daughter makes these all the time (I hate them) and loves them. She sprays cooking oil (in the can) on them, then puts them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. She tosses them around halfway through. Kale......vile weed. lol

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:26AM
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yikes! I'm glad I didn't go with the 475F temp I saw with one recipe. lol!

Even though these were *parched*, I'm afraid I may be on the same wavelength as kitchendetective... kale chips is something I really want to like because I love kale and it's a good healthy snack alternative. I should have mentioned that I used full/curly kale, not baby kale. Thanks for the replies! I'll give it one more try on a lower temp. when I'm able to find kale again.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:05AM
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I love kale chips and don't have the problems you mention when I make them. Maybe it's your baking temperature that is causing problems. I bake mine longer at a much lower temperature (about 300). I flip them over after 10 minutes, and check them every 10 minutes or so until they are done ... time varies by batch. I make sure the kale is completely dry before beginning, and tear the leaves into large pieces ... they shrink a lot when they bake. I coat them VERY LIGHTLY with olive oil ... a little goes a long way. Then salt them lightly. Again, a little goes a long way with the salt, too.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:27AM
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Seems a love or hate thing, : )
I don't care for the purchased ones with all the gunk spice...some use a thick coating of nutritional yeast...

I've made kale chips at both family gatherings and most love it and one sister was just disgusted where my dad and others loved it. Made a batch every day to keep up...
Both families are in the south with great roadside kale for sale in the fall.
Everyone loves the beet and sweet potato chips if i get the timing correct and they are thin, light, and crisp.
Carrot strips and apples work well but need a much lower temp and longer bake time...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:23PM
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I love kale, but don't care for kale chips. I was very enthusiastic when I first read about them and tried various ways of making them, finally gave up. Don't like them and neither does hubby.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:25PM
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It depends on the kind of kale and how thick and moist it is. I will throw a handful of baby kale on top of a pizza and get that wispy effect you've described, which is great on pizza. A delicate crunch while you're chomping through the crust.

Good kale chips, in my mind, are thin, however, and not toothsome like potato chips. Pop them in your mouth and crunch. Don't give them a chance to rehydrate with saliva. Also eat one at a time for the same reason. They keep best in a smaller, fuller container. Less air means less moisture. If you have a lot of humidity, more than 60%, it's probably not worth your bother, however, as they're going to moisten up.

I learned the exact opposite way--low temperature. I almost always use curly kale--I prefer red kale for the color--and never, ever dino kale. I've tried different ways and it never comes out nicely. From the curly kale, I remove the all the main spines. It's tedious. I'll sit with it, in front of a good TV show, and cut with my herb snips. Each piece is about 1-2 square inches and has some curl on it. I just clip up along the spines and back down again, then cut in pieces. The pieces are irregular sizes and shapes so they can have that bit of the curl.

I always use parchment paper on a baking sheet with sides (fits my oven, works like a jelly roll pan). Mound the cut kale in the middle, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with S&P. Fluff around to combine and repeat. Then I spread them out so they're more or less in one layer. Some overlap, but nothing buried.

Convection bake at 240ð F, for 20 minutes, then use catering tongs to kind of flip them over. This is just going through the sheet, spiff spiff spiff, turning over the amount I can catch. It's more about releasing the steam from underneath than about which side is up, and doesn't require perfection. Then another 20 minutes or so. Forty minutes total is usually enough, but if the bunches were big or if it's particularly moist kale, it might take another five minutes. I just test a piece. Just one. Really. One. Very tempting right out of the oven...

I use pint disposable containers, mostly. Our normal humidity is in the 50% range. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:28PM
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We used to have a little organic cafe that made kale chips and sold them hand over fist for $5/sandwich bag (!). They used curly kale and massaged with a little olive oil, sprinkled with seasoning salt and ground sunflower seeds (which everyone thought was parmesan) and threw them in the dehydrator for a couple of hours. They were tasty...maybe fresher tasting than baked? I've never had them made in an oven.

I grow Blue Scotch, which is thick and curly, and made chips a few times (sans sunflower seeds). They were good, but no one at my house got real excited about them. Fun to serve to company, though. Most of the people at work wouldn't even try them, lol.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:05PM
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I like kale a lot, can as much of it as I can so I can eat it all winter, and put fresh stuff in various things, like soup.

However, I'm very ambivalent about kale chips. I've made my own with varying degrees of success and I've purchased commercially made ones. Eh. I don't love them, I don't hate them, but they aren't worth the effort to me.

I find that batches vary, probably depending on the moisture level in the leaves. Some are dry and crumbly, some are chewier. None store worth a darn, at least not any way I've tried to store them. (On the counter, open and in Lock N Locks, sealed up air tight, both get soggy)


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:05PM
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    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Tried them when the recipe first appeared, meh. Never made them again. I just read that Kale is so 2010, that the new hip veg is Kohlrabi. Now what sorts of lunacy do you suppose they will come up to do with that stuff?


    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:12AM
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The thing about kale chips is that, if done right, they taste good! They crunch and are wispy and light. And no guilt. I don't know how many vitamins are lost in the cooking, but they're not sugary, and there isn't much oil, and one can watch the salt.

But they're yummy! You don't have to like them but some of us really do. I promise you, I wouldn't work that hard for meh.

You do have to eat them right, though. They have to be chomped to get all the pleasure from the crisp. If you suck on them, they'll rehydrate and turn into stringy greens.

Kohlrabi had a bump but never made the big time, really. Collards are still hanging in as the greens du jour. :-D

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:00PM
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My flirtation with kale is finished. I have always liked most varieties of greens and hopped aboard the kale bandwagon a few years ago. Gradually, I realized that I would rather buy and prepare other greens that had (to me) a better flavor and texture.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:31PM
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I like kale chips, too, but I'd never go through all the bagging and massaging and all. I just tear up curly kale (the only time I prefer it to Lacinato), mist it with a little olive oil, sprinkle salt/seasonings and put it in the oven. The trick is to find the temp that dries it quickly without burning it, and it has to be completely dry before it goes in.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:35PM
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Kale has always been one of my favorite green vegetables.
Many many moons ago, (40s & 50s) growing up on a farm
where we raised almost all of our food,
We had lots of kale.
One of our favorite ways of eating it was cooked
with ham and potatoes.
Back then, my Mother, like almost all hard working farm wives,
simmered the dickens out of vegetables.
She cooked the kale, potatoes and ham all together
in a big pot.
After it simmered for several hours,
She drained it and run it through a food grinder.
You know, the 'old fashioned' kind that clamped to a table or counter edge,
and you cranked it by hand.
This made a sort of soupy glop, thicker than soup,
But thick enough to be eaten with a spoon.
We all loved it!
I never knew why she run it through a grinder,
Nor did I ever ask.
And I have since learned that cooking those three things together
produces that same wonderful flavor,
But it doesn't need to be cooked very long at all,
Nor does it need to be ground up.
So I really don't think of kale as "so 2010",
I've eaten and loved it all my life!
But every time I buy some with the intention of trying kale chips,
I end up cooking it instead!
I love the baby kale is green salads, too.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:34PM
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