My farmshare vege box is forcing me to confront my least favourite vegetables. I have disliked kale and collard greens when I had them previously because of their bitterness and tough texture. Are there ways of cooking which minimizes these? I have previously tried:

  • Raw in salad (too bitter, too tough)
  • Sauteed (still too bitter and too tough), maybe I did it wrong?
  • In soup, I tried kale as a substitute for spinach in a beef-noodle soup. Toughness decreased after I boiled it for an hour+, but my entire soup became bitter, which I resented.

I've heard kale chips is a possibly promising option -- does baking get rid of the bitterness? I would prefer other suggestions as I was hoping to have them as part of a meal (instead of as a snack).

In general I love a variety of different vegetables, and these two are the only ones I've struggled with, so I was wondering if it ultimately came down to my preparation method.

  • 1
    If you rephrase your question to ask whether or not (and how) the bitterness can be removed from kale and collards, that is question we can work with. Otherwise this question will likely be closed as we don't accept questions with many equally valid answers.
    – moscafj
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 22:09
  • Wouldn't that still give equally valid answers of "yes, here's how"? Is it possible to define 'best' answer as producing the least tough and bitter taste?
    – The Hagen
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 22:30
  • I cook a lot of winter greens in the cold months, and I have no idea how to answer this question, or even what the core question is. Please clarify.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 5:04
  • 1
    We already have a question on methods to remove the bitterness from all cruciferous vegetables, which includes kale and collard greens, so I made it a duplicate. As moscafj said, we don't take questions which ask for a list of possible dishes to cook with a given ingredient. The idea of defining "best dish" as producing the least tough and bitter taste is nice, but in practice, it is not possible to make predictions to such a fine degree, and it will still produce too many answers.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 8:15

2 Answers 2


Freeze the kale before preparing, as it gets sweeter from that. It will come out looking like before. Overnight is long enough.

Look for more recipes. I grew up eating kale regularly through the winters and where I live it is ripped off its stalks, cooked, cut more finely after cooking, vineger added and then mashed with/through potatos.

Not bitter but rather a lot of work. (Look for Dutch 'boerenkool' recipes, but check if they add vinegar as that makes a difference in the taste.)

I am sure there will be more 'foreign' recipes that will work for you.

  • I realized after reading your answer that I'd had Grünkohl in Germany, and really like it. It tasted totally different, so I didn't even realize that was kale!
    – The Hagen
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 22:13
  • 2
    I now remember we freeze the kale before cooking, traditionally by not harvesting till after the first real frost. These days we pop the kale as leafs in the freezer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 4:51

Wondering if some folks just taste more of the bitter, I came upon: https://www.wired.com/2016/11/edible-science-heres-secret-perfect-kale-salad/

"crushing the leaves breaks down the cell walls of two important chemicals naturally present in kale---the myrosinase enzyme and glucosinolates. When those walls deteriorate, the two chemicals interact and create a new, bitter compound that's biologically designed to fend off hungry enemies."

So there's something to avoid.

Caramelizing might disguise some bitterness.

  • 1
    If that’s the case, there might be a way to cook the chemicals so they don’t interact. (Like with onions). I also find that acid and salt helps. (I slice it into ribbons and put it on top of Filipino adobo in my instant pot, and it comes out well)
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 2:32
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    I'm thinking whole wilt leaves first, drain and then cook in fat. I have no evidence this reduces bitterness just my perception
    – Pat Sommer
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 16:19

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