Can you juice the stems of kale?

Kale is an incredibly healthy and nutritious leafy green vegetable that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Both the leaves and stems of kale contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some people prefer to juice kale rather than eat it raw or cooked. This brings up the question – can you juice the stems of kale along with the leaves?

The Nutritional Benefits of Juicing Kale

Juicing kale provides a quick and easy way to consume a concentrated dose of nutrients. When kale is juiced, the insoluble fiber is removed, leaving behind the juice which contains vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals in a form that is rapidly absorbed by the body. Some of the main benefits of juicing kale include:

  • Increased antioxidant intake – Kale contains antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol which help fight free radical damage in the body.
  • Vitamin and mineral boost – Just one cup of kale juice can provide over 100% of the RDI for vitamins A, C and K.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – The antioxidants in kale juice help reduce inflammation in the body which can contribute to better health.
  • Supports detoxification – The nutrients in kale juice support the body’s natural detox processes.
  • Quick nutrient absorption – The nutrients are able to get into the bloodstream and utilized by the body quickly when kale is juiced.

Overall, juicing kale makes it easy to consume a large amount of highly bioavailable nutrients in one sitting. But what about the stems – can they be juiced too?

Are Kale Stems Edible?

Before juicing the stems of kale, it’s important to know whether they are even edible. The stems or stalks of kale are entirely edible and nutritious. The stems contain similar nutrients as the leaves including:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants like quercetin

The stems tend to be more fibrous and stringy than the leaves, but they are completely safe to eat. The stems make up approximately 30-60% of the total plant depending on the variety.

Some people prefer to remove the stems from kale before cooking or eating it raw in salads. However, the stems can be incorporated into soups, stews, juices, smoothies and other dishes. The nutrients in the stems are too beneficial to waste.

Challenges of Juicing Kale Stems

While kale stems are edible and nutritious, there are some challenges when it comes to juicing them:

  • Tough, fibrous texture – The stems are much tougher and stringier than the leaves. This can pose a challenge for some juicers in breaking them down.
  • Bitter flavor – The stems tend to have a more bitter and unpleasant flavor compared to the leaves.
  • Oxalic acid content – The stems contain higher levels of oxalic acid which can contribute to kidney stones when consumed in excess.
  • Low juice yield – The woody stems do not produce much juice compared to the leaves which are rich in water and nutrients.

Due to the fibrous texture, many juicers find that kale stems jam up their machines. The stems also dilute the flavor and nutrient content when mixed with the naturally sweeter, more palatable leaves.

Best Practices for Juicing Kale Stems

While juicing kale stems presents some challenges, it can be done by following a few best practices:

  • Use a slow juicer – They are best equipped to break down tough, fibrous stems.
  • Alternate stems with leaves – Fold up stems and insert them between leaves to help push them through.
  • Cut stems into small pieces – This makes them easier to feed through the juicer.
  • Drink stems soon after juicing – The higher oxalic acid content degrades over time.
  • Balance with sweeter juice ingredients – Apple, carrot or lemon juice can help mask bitter flavors.
  • Drink in moderation – Limit to 4-6 oz per day to avoid excessive oxalic acid intake.

Following these tips can help maximize the juicing of kale stems while producing a more palatable, nutritious juice.

Nutrient Comparison of Juicing Kale Leaves vs. Stems

To better understand the differences in nutritional value, here is a comparison between juicing just kale leaves versus juicing the stems.

Nutrient Kale Leaves (per 100g juice) Kale Stems (per 100g juice)
Vitamin A 861 mcg RAE (96% DV) 464 mcg RAE (52% DV)
Vitamin C 93.4 mg (104% DV) 45.3 mg (50% DV)
Vitamin K 831.4 mcg (693% DV) 217.3 mcg (181% DV)
Calcium 232 mg (18% DV) 165 mg (13% DV)
Potassium 469 mg (10% DV) 288 mg (6% DV)

As shown, juicing just the leaves provides significantly higher levels of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K as well as calcium and potassium. The stems still offer nutritional value but at lower levels compared to the leaves.

Should You Juice Kale Stems?

Juicing kale stems is possible with the right juicer and techniques, but it may not always be worthwhile. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Slightly higher calcium and fiber levels
  • Less produce waste
  • Maximizes nutrients from the plant


  • Lower yields of vitamins and minerals
  • Can provide a bitter, unpleasant flavor
  • Higher levels of antinutrients like oxalates
  • Can jam up juicers more easily

Given the challenges, juicing a few kale stems along with the leaves may provide some benefits but juicing only the stems is not recommended. Focusing mainly on the leaves will yield a tastier, more nutritious juice.


Kale stems are edible and contain beneficial nutrients, but they pose some difficulties when juicing. Their tough, fibrous texture can jam juicers and their bitter flavor diminishes the taste. Juicing the stems also leads to lower yields of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants compared to the leaves.

If you want to get the most out of your kale, it’s best to use the leaves for juicing and find other ways to incorporate the stems through cooking or blending in smoothies. Adding a few stems to leafy green kale juices can provide a nutritional boost without compromising too much on flavor or texture.

Focus your juicing efforts on the kale leaves, and consider the stems an added bonus. With the right techniques and recipes, you can still gain additional nutrition from the stems while enjoying a tasty, vibrant juice made primarily from the leaves.

In summary, the answer is yes – you can juice kale stems. But for the best results, moderate the quantity mixed with the leaves and be sure to use a slow juicer to extract the most nutrients possible.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *