For years, I was put off from eating greens like chard and kale and mustard because of the cumbersome step of cutting out the stems. Don’t get me wrong, I loved–and still love–their grassy, earthy flavor. And the health benefits of leafy greens, from strong bones to a healthy heart, are legendary. But (insert whine) it took so much time.

And then one day, I honestly don’t remember if I’d read about the technique or was just feeling feisty, I held a big fan of Swiss chard in my fist and just zipped the leaves clean off. It was shocking how quickly it happened. Then I did it again and again, and before I knew it, the entire bunch was de-stemmed and laying in a neat little pile . . . all in less than 60 seconds. It was an easy way to save time and get those greens on the table for a weeknight meal.

Technique for “Zipping” Leafy Greens

  • Hold the stalk firmly in one hand
  • With the thumb and forefinger of the other hand, pinch where the base of the leaves meets the stem and tug gently to separate
  • Continue tugging up the line of the stem, zipping the leaves off as you go (you’ll get the hang of how much pressure you need)

Watch the video here:

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