Purple Kale Ice Cream! Yes! OK, you’re going to have to trust me. No, it doesn’t require an ice cream maker – and alright, ‘ice cream’ might be a bit of a stretch. But have you ever had a banana whip, like at Banana Joe’s in Kauai or The Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ? The ones that come out of a Champion juicer the precise texture of luscious soft serve, and you can’t believe that the ONLY thing in it is one perfectly ripe, frozen banana? One of these days I’ll share the banana whip story, and you all can see for yourselves, but I digress … Where was I?
Oh right. So speaking of The Bent Spoon – did you know that March is Eat More Kale Month in Princeton? And that there is a seasonal ice cream flavor called kale-kumquat? And that it is actually really really good? Since we are not living in Princeton this year, we don’t get to partake. But it got me thinking – I have no ice cream maker. I have no ice cream making experience. But could I get my blender to make something close enough to ice cream that Jacob and Lucas would buy it? And more importantly – could I do it with kale?
Kyle makes a smoothie most mornings, so Jacob is savvy about frozen berries and bananas and yogurt being pureed into deliciousness. He likes to pick out which bag of berries should be used, and he tastes each creation enthusiastically – some he will drink, and some not. His experience in this department meant that I would need to be sneaky if I wanted to convince him that we were making ice cream, and not just another smoothie, albeit a really thick one. We started at the grocery store, where he hand selected a bunch of kale — the sign said Red Kale, but the color was a dusky purple, fading to green, with a silvery cast to it, so we agreed to call it Purple Kale and some smaller inside pieces Green Kale. At any rate. He knew it was going to be made into ice cream and he was already super excited. Riding through the check out line he gushed to the clerk about his ‘ice cream kale’ — she laughed uncertainly– and then he took the bunch from her and held it until we got to the car, unwilling to let it be bagged. I took this as a good sign.
Once home, we washed it and ribboned it, put it into the blender with some frozen fruit, cream, and a touch of sugar, then blended it.
And it was ice cream! Or rather — it was close enough to ice cream that the boys totally bought it, and even my beloved and somewhat kale-averse husband conceded that it was “pretty good for what it was,” despite not being sold on it as ice cream. My dad, over email, was dubious (“Really? I don’t know. What did the taste testers think?”) but next time he is here we will make another batch and he can see for himself. Here is another shot, still in the blender, so you can see the texture (really! like soft serve!). The recipe, which I suspect could be easily modified in many ways, is below.
Just trust me and make some. No, really.
Purple Kale Blender Ice Cream
1 bunch purple (or red) kale, washed, stems removed, leaves ribboned
1 10 oz bag frozen cherries
1 10 oz bag frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
Plus 1- 2 Tablespoons milk, for blending
Put the kale and berries into your blender, followed by the cream and sugar. Blend everything until smooth but still thick – this took us a good minute-plus of blending. If you are having a hard time getting things to move/incorporate, add a tablespoon or two of milk. You are basically making a really thick smoothie, so you don’t want to over-blend or add too much liquid — you should be able to eat it with a spoon. This made enough for 4 bowls, with a bit left over that we blended into our smoothie the next morning.