Organic Kale Powder: Benefits, Uses & Buying Tips
If you are an avid follower of health and nutrition news, you probably have already heard of the health benefits of kale. Unfortunately, however, fresh, raw kale is not always available in grocery stores. But not to worry – when kale is out of season, you can always buy a pouch of powdered, freeze-dried kale leaves, even in organic quality if you like. Available through the online retailer Amazon here ( for US shoppers) and here ( for UK residents), this green superfood powder makes a great addition to smoothies, shakes, pasta dough, soups, salad dressings, sauces, dips and more.
A member of the Brassica family of vegetables, raw kale is loaded with antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, quercetin and kaempferol. It is also a top source of many other nutrients and phytochemicals, including chlorophyll, glucosinolates – which are pre-cursors to cancer-fighting isothiocyanates – and vitamin K. When kale leaves are dried to make powder, the water content of the leaves is drastically reduced, which makes dried kale leaves an extremely concentrated source of nutrients. A study published in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, for example, found that a 100-gram serving of fresh, raw kale leaves contained 121 milligrams of chlorophyll, 28.1 milligrams of carotenoids and 5.77 milligrams of beta-carotene, while the amounts of chlorophyll and carotenoids in a 100-gram portion of air dried leaves were 646 milligrams and 158 milligrams, respectively. Compared with air-dried leaves, the average amounts of chlorophyll and carotenoids in freeze-dried kale leaves were even higher. However, it is important keep in mind that, leaf for leaf, some nutrition is always lost through drying.
Why Go for Freeze-Dried Kale Powder?Conventional dehydration methods often involve exposing vegetables and fruits to air and elevated temperatures for relatively long periods, which can impair their nutritional value. Freeze drying, or lyophilization, by contrast, involves freezing the food and then removing its water content in a vacuum chamber. Although the machinery needed for freeze-drying can be pretty expensive, many producers of so-called superfood powders have made the investment because in comparison with air-dried products, freeze-dried products are generally considered superior in terms flavor, color and nutrient content. Plus, freeze-dried vegetables and fruits typically require no preservatives or other additives, so those who are looking to buy pure kale powder that is free of additives, including artificial colorings and preservatives, should definitely first check out the freeze-dried kale powders sold online and at health food stores.
Why Buy it in Organic Quality?
As explained above, freeze-drying retains much of the natural color, flavor and nutrient content of kale, which is of course great news. Unfortunately, however, removing moisture from vegetables – whether it is done through air-drying or freeze-drying – also concentrates the amount of pesticides in the food. While that may not be a big problem for vegetables that also grow well without unnatural fertilizers and pesticides, it is something you should definitely consider if you are buying freeze-dried vegetables that are known to contain significant levels of pesticides and/or fertilizers when not organically grown. Kale is a prime example of the latter. Every year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests common vegetables and fruits for pesticide levels and the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides when conventionally (i.e. not organically) grown. For several years, non-organic kale has had a spot on this notorious list, which highlights the importance of going organic as far as kale is concerned.
Where to Buy Powdered, Freeze-Dried Organic Kale?
If the health food stores in your area don't stock kale powder, don't worry – you can always order it online! The online retailer Amazon, for example, sells several brands of kale powders:
If you live in the US, check out this powder – it contains pure, certified organic kale powder and nothing else (no preservatives, fillers or other additives), and the leaves have been freeze dried to capture their nutritional potential. If If you live in the UK, check out this powder.
6 Ways to Use Kale Powder
There are tons of different ways to cook and eat fresh kale, but there are at least equally many ways to use organic kale powder made from freeze-dried kale leaves. Here are some ideas:
- In smoothie recipes, you can use kale powder as a substitute for dehydrated and powdered wheatgrass, nori, spirulina, chlorella or pretty much any other superfood powder. Just don't exceed the recommended daily dosage printed on the package.
- You can also add kale powder to sauces and dips. When used in sauces, it is best to stir the powder into the concoction towards the end of the cooking process in order to protect the nutrients it contains.
- You can also use this extraordinary superfood to add color and nutrients to omelettes and scrambled eggs. Simply add a spoonful of organic kale powder to the egg mixture before cooking it on a frying pan.
- Yet another great way to sneak this green superfood powder into your diet is to add it to salad dressings. Or, sprinkle it directly on a mixed salad before serving.
- Eating powdered kale in pureed soups is yet another great way to incorporate more of this superfood into your diet. To protect its heat-sensitive nutrients, add it to our soup only at the end of the cooking process.
- If you have one of the trendy fully automatic electric pasta makers, take note: powdered kale can also be used to boost the nutritional value of homemade pasta dough!
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