Stem Kale Leaves in Seconds with This Common Kitchen Tool

published Apr 13, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whether you’re thinking about the best greens for making a salad or you’re looking for a quick side dish, kale probably comes to mind pretty quickly. Kale’s sturdy leaves can handle a lot of different preparations — from the ultimate kale salad, to sautéed kale, to a pasta with greens, or crunchy kale chips. No matter what you are making with kale, though, you probably know that the least exciting part of the process is removing the kale leaves cleanly from the stems.

Many people resort to the oldest kitchen tools of all time for removing kale leaves from the stems — their hands! You can also use a knife to cut the leaves from the ribs. While either of these methods definitely gets the job done, there’s one more tool you might want to try out. Before you go running to the store, though, check your kitchen drawers first — chances are you probably already have the key to easy kale leaf removal.

To strip the kale leaves off of the stems, run them through the loop on the end of a pair of tongs. Yes, tongs are helpful for tossing tasty salads and flipping grilled chicken (and they are also surprisingly useful for cleaning … blinds). But they also make stripping kale leaves much less of a hassle.

This hack comes to us from The Modern Nonna, who used this trick in an Instagram video making Adele’s favorite salad, appropriately called “The Adele Salad.” Many pairs of tongs often come with a small loop on the end (the part of the tongs you pull in and out in order to lock or unlock them).

More on This Hack

I had to try out this hack for myself, and I have to say that the results were interesting. The trick was perfect when it came to stripping the leaves from varieties of kale with slender stems. There is one caveat for this hack, though: For kale leaves with thicker stems, you might have some trouble getting the stem through the loop, depending on the width of the loop or the thickness of the stem.

With that said, I do still think this hack can be useful in the kitchen, especially if you’re a major kale fan.