Kale is tremendously nutritious. It's got fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and a veritable alphabet's worth of vitamins: A, C, K, plus folate, a key B vitamin.

Hale kale is also a sturdy veggie that stays for days in the fridge, much longer than salad greens or even spinach. To be fair, kale has an advantage over frail leafy greens in that it is actually a hearty cruciferous vegetable, cousin to cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Of course, over time nutritional value begins to deteriorate for even the sturdiest veggies. Fortunately, there are a few tricks that can help you keep kale in top nutritional form, whether you're preparing it fresh from the garden or enjoying it after it's vacationed in the fridge for a week.

Mediterranean Kale
Photo by KGora

1.) Chop Your Kale Right Before Eating It

When you slice or chop kale, you break open the plant's cell walls, which opens the door for oxidation to begin breaking down nutrients. Of course, this is a matter of small degrees. Even chopped up and left in the fridge for a few days, kale would still be a very healthy, nutrient-rich ingredient.

2.) Consider Sautéing Your Kale

Raw kale salads are super healthy, of course. But combine kale with a little olive oil and a hot pan, and magic happens. Technically, science happens. The interplay of olive oil with kale on a hot skillet breaks down fibers and may help nutrients get absorbed into the body and may even help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Of course, raw-versus-cooked kale isn't an either/or proposition, it's an enjoy-'em-both-ways proposition!

3.) Store Your Kale in the Fridge

Storing kale in the fridge retains vitamins longer than storing kale at room temperature.

4.) Buy Kale at the Farmer's Market

Nutrients begin to break down the moment fruits and veggies are plucked from the ground or picked from the tree. When you buy kale at the farmer's market, you're choosing an ingredient that was down on the farm until very, very recently, maybe even that same day. Grocery-store produce, meanwhile, may have travelled several days to get there.

Chef John's Raw Kale Salad

Watch Chef John make a crunchy kale salad with a tangy-sweet dressing.

Get the recipe for Chef John's Raw Kale Salad.