By C J Sommerfeld, Contributor
Kale is the king of crunchy salad material.
A subculture in modern day health and fitness enthusiasts has been created for your highness: Kale chips! Kale bread! Kale-infused soda water! Kale granola! Cruelty-free fair-trade organic 98 per cent kale chocolate! However, when finishing off my bowl of kale salad I’m left with one question—why? Okay I get it, kale bathes your body in vitamin E, lutein, and is great for your bones; but is it just me or does kale salad make your stomach feel like an acidic green planet full of foreign green matter? Why are we so obsessed with this crunchy leaf? But, I’m sure plenty of other hard-to-chew plants can supply our bodies with similar benefits. Our markets are stocked with this crunchy leaf so we might as well scavenge to find a way in which we can eat it and reap its benefits.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered a life buoy to rescue you from drowning in this acidic green planet: Kale ceviche salad. No, it did not come from the coast of Peru, and no, there is no fish involved. My theory for this salad is this: Use the same chemistry which cooks fish in ceviche to break down the cellulose that makes kale so fibrous and unappetizing. Now am I just super hip or am I actually on to something?
4 stalks of kale (any kind you prefer!)
1/2 organic California lemon
1/2 tbsp Himalayan pink salt
1 large Hawaiian papaya
1 tbsp Canadian hemp seeds
Wash the green beast with tap water until all dirt and invisible pesticides have been washed down the drain. Use scissors to cut the kale into bite-size pieces into a bowl, and don’t worry about removing the stem. Squeeze the half lemon into the same bowl until there isn’t a drop of lemon juice left beneath the peel. Evenly sprinkle the Himalayan sea salt throughout the lemon juice-soaked kale. Once your tablespoon is empty begin massaging the lemon juice and salt into the kale with your hands. Massage for a few minutes before placing the bowl in the fridge. Wait 15 minutes. During this waiting period the lemon is undergoing a chemical process called denaturation which tenderizes the leafy green. Denaturing the cellulose in the kale means that your body does not have to perform this process once ingested. This means your body excretes less enzymes, making your stomach feel less acidic post-kale salad indulgence.
While this denaturation process is happening, prepare the Hawaiian papaya. Skin it and cut it lengthways, use a spoon to scoop out the peppery papaya seeds—we will not be using these nor the skin. Cube the papaya flesh, mixing the orange cubes into the refrigerated bowl of denaturing kale. Sprinkle the hemp seeds atop the softened kale deliciousness and enjoy!