Hi friend! I hope you’ve been having a beautiful week. Here in Saskatoon we’ve had a run of 26-30C days so I’m planning on hitting the beach Thursday afternoon after my classes. I may even take a plunge into the river! Today’s recipe makes perfect use of all the leftover kale stems you have from making delicious kale chips and turns them into a nourishing and healing fermented food.
I’m a big fan of using every part of the plant or animal that I consume, whether that’s by making bone broth, veggie stock, or juicing leftover bits. I’ve been eating a ton of kale lately and had so many stems in my fridge I decided I needed to get a bit more creative with how I used them. Lately, my fermentation classes have become incredibly popular so I thought, “I bet I can pickle these too!” and thus this recipe was born!
A lot of people are starting to reconnect with traditional ways of preparing foods as a way to increase digestibility, nutrient bioavailability, and add immune supporting compounds to the diet. One such tradition is the practice of fermentation.
There are many different types of fermentation some of which require a starter culture, such as a SCOBY to make kombucha, while others rely on lacto-fermentation and brine, such as sauerkraut. Today’s recipe makes use of apple cider vinegar for its starter and requires very little effort to create something so nourishing.
Fermented foods are great for digestion because the friendly bacteria have already started the process of digestion, making them great foods for people with tummy troubles. They are also incredibly rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which are great for improving digestive and immune function in the body.
You can literally pickle anything and use this base recipe for tons of different things. I’m working on a pickled green bean and asparagus recipe that I will be sharing with you soon. Enjoy!
- 1 bunch of kale stems cut into two inch pieces
- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp. coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp. chili flakes (optional)
- ¼ tsp. peppercorns
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
In a small saucepan bring kale stems, water, sea salt, mustard & coriander seeds, chili flakes, and peppercorns to a boil.
Once boiled, remove from heat and cover with saucepan lid. Let sit for about 20-45 minutes until room temperature. If you have especially tough stems, you may want to low boil for about 2-3 minutes before removing from the heat.
When mixture is room temp add apple cider vinegar & maple syrup and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a sterilized (you can boil it and then rinse in vinegar water) 500ml mason jar. Cover top of jar with parchment paper then seal with lid.
Let sit in warm place out of direct sunlight for at least 1 week. You can leave it for up to 4 weeks before moving to the fridge.
Refrigerate once open and always use a clean utensil when removing stems from the jar to consume.
Well friend here is one of my tried and true way to reduce food waste and deliciously heal your gut from the inside out at the same time!
And if you’re looking for some more plant-based inspiration in the kitchen you can try out my FREE Build Your Own Buddha Bowl Cooking Class right here! You’ll receive a recipe guide, shopping list, & equipment list plus a demo on how to make Turmeric Coconut Rice, Glory Bowl Dressing, & Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas. Get the class here!
As always, thank you for your love and support. Please stay safe and take care of one another!
Would it be ok to boil the items you list EXCEPT for the kale stems? I don’t like the idea of losing some of the nutrients in the kale stems by boiling them. Very interesting recipe, thanks.
Thanks for reading! The reason I suggest lighting boiling the kale stems is because without this step they are incredibly tough to chew and most people wouldn’t want to eat them. Since we are saving the boiling liquid we are retaining most of the minerals that may be lost. There is going to be a little bit of vitamin degradation, but the fermentation process will provide us with other excellent vitamins and health benefits. Enjoy!
Since the contents aren’t being vacuum-packed, is it necessary (or even effective) to sterilize the jar? Are you using the parchment with lid and ring or just the ring?
I use both the lid and ring with the parchment. And I don’t sterilize, but I generally either run my jar through the dishwasher or do a nice big soapy wash in the sink. Fermentation is a little different than canning in that we want there to be some naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts to help the process. The salt is designed to kill off the pathogenic bacteria and all you want to look out for is any mold growing on the top 🙂
Is this recipe for lacinto kale stems, the ones in the photo? I used curly kale stems, which are circular and tougher than lacinto kale stems. So I boiled the stems in the liquid for a minute and the the pickled stems are crunchy. Next time I will boil for 2 to 3 minutes for a softer crunch.
The flavor is peppery and tasty and I’m glad I didn’t need to compost the stems.
Thank you for this recipe.
Yes they do work better for the lacinato stems; that information on the curly stems is great! I will update the recipe with some extra boiling time for those tougher stems 😀