At the grocery store, you generally have two options when it comes to buying kale: Buying the leaves in bunches, or pre-cut in bags. Buying prepped kale might seem like the convenient choice, but when we took a deep dive into the bag, we found that the costs outweigh the benefits.
In the bags of kale we inspected, we found that the pieces were irregularly sized, ranging from large, 2-inch pieces to some that measured to less than an inch. These latter pieces pose an issue when cooking: Pieces that small wilt to almost nothing.
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We also discovered that the bags contained more than half their weight in inedible stem pieces, which needed to be sorted out and replaced. What’s more, some usable leaves had been cut crosswise, which left the stem intact and contributed an unpleasant woodiness to finished dishes.
All this to say, prepping your own leafy bunches is your best bet. When shopping, look for full bunches with greens running the entire length of the stem, so you can maximize the usable leafy portion.