Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kale Cubes. Add vegetables to your fruit smoothie!

I mentioned on FB a few weeks back that I was making "kale cubes" to add to my frozen fruit smoothies.   I don't think most people found it to be a very appetizing thought!  However, you really can add a bit of this ultra-good-for-you power food to your every day routine with just a little bit of prep work.

In my on-going quest to add vegetables to my kids' daily menu, I had started adding Spinach leaves to a batch of frozen fruit smoothies that we would have for afternoon snack.  It was easy to grab a bag of the pre-washed baby spinach and add a handfull to each batch.  However, I would find that I didn't use the whole bag quickly enough, wasting some of the spinach.

I then started thinking about freezing spinach, dropping in some frozen cubes into the blender.  My neighbor suggested trying this method with Kale instead.  Kale is what you may call a "super food".  The nutritional value for Kale is impressive, to say the least.  Calcium, Iron, Magneseum, Vitamins A, K, and C are all packed into these leafy greens.

So I bought a bunch of Kale, and having never preppared it before, found a great tutorial on how to blanch kale for freezing.  You could follow the recipe as-is and just keep the leafy parts frozen, ready to drop into your blender whenever you want to add a bit to a smoothies.

However, I wanted to take it a step further and turn it into "kale cubes".  So after I put the Kale leaves in a cold water bath, I put a handfull into my blender.  (Do not put too much into your blender at once - unless you have a very powerful blender. The smoke smell that started to eminate from the base of my blender indicated I may have over-loaded it at first....)

Also, you will notice the cold-water bath will turn a lovely green color as the kale is leached a bit in the process.  Add one or two cups of this water into the blender with the kale leaves, and blend into a slush.

Pour (or use a spoon to scoop) the blended kale and water into ice cube trays.  I recommend only filling them about half way.  The smaller cube size will make it easier on your blender as you add them into your frozen drinks.  Depending on the size of your freezer and the number of ice cube trays you have on hand, you may have to do a couple batches at a time.  Store the blended Kale in the fridge, and as the kale cubes freeze, pop them into a freezer bag and make some more!

One "batch" of Kale made about 4 dozen cubes. 

Fruit smoothies are great because you can use whatever you have on hand - peaches, bananas, frozen fruits, any kind of juice.  This combination was one of my favorites, and the dark berry colors masked the kale color very well.

Fruit Smoothie with Kale Cubes

One large or two small bananas
One handful of frozen blueberries or frozen mixed berries
4-5 (small) Kale Cubes
1 1/2 to 2 Cups V8 Fusion Drink (we like the Pomegranate Blueberry)

Blend until smooth! 

My kids did see me drop the green cubes into the blender a couple of times and asked what they were...I just said they were part of the fruit!  They shrugged and drank it anyway :)

(and yes...I did take a photo of my Kale cubes.  I think they're pretty!)

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