I swear that this site is not sponsored by kale farmers! But kale is just so dang fun and easy and healthy (does this make me a hipster? Please get back to me on that as soon as possible).
Healthy smoothies are totally what’s hip these days; these can include a variety of fruit, dairy and leafy greens. Instead of jumping to smoothie recipes right away, I wanted to break the components down to two of the showcased ingredients: kale and fruit.
Today’s question: Which fruit and kale combination is the best?
The fruits we tested:
Raw kale, while super healthy and good for you, is very bitter and unpleasant to most people. Most people not acquainted with kale smoothies will convey their disgust in some form or another.
But that’s what people said about my black bean brownies! They laughed at me. Well, look who’s laughing now!
Back to science. No laughing.
In order to test which fruit kale goes well with, I needed to isolate just those two ingredients.
Before you send angry snail mail to me: I am aware that (tasty) healthy smoothies contain more than a leafy green and a fruit. There is usually a combination of fruits, ice, plus milk or orange juice, yogurt, and perhaps vanilla extract. I would never offer a smoothie concoction of just pureed kale and a fruit to a friend (or foe). The testers kept this in mind while tasting.
I took one cup of kale, ripped from the stem and washed, and added one cup of fruit. I added 1/4 cup water to help with the pureeing. After I put these ingredients in the food processor and smoothied (a new hip word I just invented) the dickens out of them. I poured the liquid into a glass jar, thoroughly washed the food processor, and repeated for the other fruits.
The color of each smoothie easily gave away the type of fruit that was used, so this test wasn’t completely blind ( I had no opaque cups available at the time). However, my team of taste scientists (aka: my friends who happened to be around that night) went into this test blind and were not told which fruits were being tested!
My girlfriend (who has helped with multiple taste tests) and my friend Adam and his totes preggers yet incredibly beautiful wife (who have also helped with previous tests) were the taste testers.
In the chart below, I indicated which fruit was in which test jar – mind you, during the actual experiment, all of the testers but me had no idea what they were drinking.
I encouraged the testers to comment/describe/rate the drinks any way they wanted. Below in the table you’ll see a range of “expert” opinions.
Adam used this bizarre system of rating the kale taste and the fruit taste, 1 being very little taste and 4 being the most taste (he’s in med school, what can you do).
|Me||Some bitterness, very good consistency.||Great consistency, most sweet, masks the bitterness the best.||Way too watery, obviously watermelon, not a strong fruit taste, yet only some bitterness.||Worst tasting, watery, definitely taste the kale.||Good consistency, cannot taste the kale too much, but some bitterness.|
|The GF||No comment||Best one.||Almost gagged.||Almost gagged.||No comment|
|Adam||Kale – 3; Fruit – 2||Kale – 2; Fruit = best||Kale – 1; Fruit – 3||Kale – 2; Fruit – 2||Kale – 1; Fruit – 4 most fruity|
|Preggers||Very sweet, favorite.||Sweet.||Too watery||Sour and sweet, very bitter.||A bit sour, thick, better.|
We taste testers took into account the following factors: overall taste, masking of bitterness and kale taste, and consistency. The mango/kale mixture was by far the favorite one. It had a wonderful consistency, was sweet and tasted like mango; it masked the kale taste and bitterness very well.
The pineapple and the blueberries were second-favorites. The fruity, sweet taste was more evident and did a better job of masking the bitterness. However, there still was some bitterness. The consistency (not too watery) was very good as well.
The terrible consistency of the watermelon and strawberry mixtures hurt their rating. As my GF eloquently put it: she almost gagged. There was nothing else to say. Drinking something that was mostly pureed leafy green in a watermelon/strawberry flavored water was not appealing to the palete.
The watermelon did a BETTER job than the strawberry in masking the kale taste and bitterness, however. I think…excuse me, I hypothesize that when you make a normal fruit smoothie with kale and you use watermelon (by adding another fruit, say banana, and yogurt or ice) it will taste pretty good. However, for this experiment, we were looking at just the fruit/kale combo.
To say that a mango and kale fruit smoothie is the best combination is inaccurate. In this test, mixing just kale and just mango (with some water) tasted the best and had the best consistency. Will adding yogurt completely change how we feel about these kale smoothies? The real results will be discovered when we make the COMPLETE smoothie: kale + fruit + yogurt + vanilla extract (and maybe the smoothie secret ingredient…banana. Great taste and perfect consistency in any smoothie).
Send me your best kale recipes to test out.