3 Ways to Remove Tough Stems from Leafy Greens

published Jun 23, 2016
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(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

Not all greens are created equal. Some, like spinach, arugula, and chard, are tender and delicate, ready to be eaten as is. Others, like kale and collards, come bearing a tough and fibrous center rib that’s best removed before eating. There are three easy ways to tackle this task; ready to see which one is right for you?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1. Strip the leaves off with your hands.

If you’re all about keeping things simple and fast, and don’t mind if there are a few stragglers left behind, then this is the approach for you. No gadgets or tools necessary. Start at the bottom; grip the thick, bare end of the stem and pull the leaf on either side upwards, one at a time. Some bits of leaf might be left behind on the rib, but you can just tear them off.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

2. Remove ribs with shears or a knife.

If you want a more precise approach, consider using a knife or kitchen shears to cut out the center rib. Lay the leaves upside down on a cutting board, then use a paring knife or shears to cut along both sides of the center rib, removing it from the leaf. If you’re working with similar-sized leaves, you can stack a few together to make this method even faster.

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(Image credit: Kristin Appenbrink)

3. Embrace tools and gadgets.

If kitchen gadgets are your thing, then this is the approach for you. There’s a tool for just about everything, and removing the tough stem from leafy greens is no exception. This type of tool is a unitasker (although it might also work with fresh herbs), but it’s small enough that it might make a worthwhile addition.