Once you start making green juices with dark leafy greens like kale and spinach you will tend to have a preference. Some people like kale and don’t add any spinach, and others refuse to use kale. I tend to like Kale, but I will add spinach occasionally.
The question I see a lot is: Is there a “best” leafy green to juice? Should you focus on Kale as opposed to Spinach? Or vice versa?
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to exclude one if you juice the other. There is nothing wrong with mixing kale and spinach, or any other leafy greens such as collards, cabbage and mustard greens.
Let’s take a look at Kale
Kale is a favorite of people who are into health because it has so much nutritional value. It has loads of vitamin C and Vitamin K. It also has calcium. If you are a vegans or vegetarian, then Kale can be a really important part of your diet. The calcium you get from Kale is going to be healthier than the calcium you get from dairy. It is much better to eat a kale salad or drink a green juice that has kale in it then to eat cheese. The kale has calcium but doesn’t have the saturated fat.
When you get kale you have a second benefit: it lasts. Unlike spinach, kale will last a while in your refrigerator. I have found that spinach tends to get moist and soggy very fast. If you are juicing spinach you need to juice it that day or within a couple days at the very latest. The longer you wait the higher the chance the spinach has to get soggy and rot.
There are several different types of kale you can juice. Many people use dinosaur kale. You will also hear this type of Kale called Lacinto Kale, Tuscan Kale or cabbage kale. The reason it is so popular is that it is the basis for many Italian dishes. It also holds up very well in your refrigerator.
This is the type of kale I use most when making juices. I like it because it is hardy. If you are using an Omega juicer, or a Greenstar, then you can also juice the stems. Many people buy kale and throw away the stems. You don’t have to. You can process them in an auger juicer.
Another type of kale is curly kale. This is the other popular type. You will see it all over the supermarket. It is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It was famous in Rome, partially because it is easy to grow and contains a huge amount of nutrients.
Another type of kale you can juice is baby kale. You see this sold a lot in health food stores and the organic sections of the supermarket. You will even see this at Costco. People like to eat this in salads. One reason that some people like to juice baby kale is that it does not require much work or precutting. It is very small and you can wash it and put it right into the juicer.
I actually prefer to make green juices using kale. Kale has less Oxalic acid than spinach. This means that the calcium in Kale is more absorbable than when you drink spinach juice. Kale also lasts longer.
Kale also has more protein, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Copper, as well as a lot more Lutein and Zeazanthin.
Spinach in Green Drinks VS Kale
Well, with all that said you might think that you would never drink spinach juice or add it to your green drinks. That’s not the case. There are areas where spinach has more nutrients—specifically in the mineral category. Also, spinach has a different flavor. Many people prefer the flavor of spinach in their drinks as opposed to kale. Kale can be an acquired taste for people new to juicing leafy green vegetables.
When you get spinach you can get either baby spinach or regular spinach. I like getting the bags of spinach leaves. They are much easier to juice. Just wash them and then put them right into the chute. In this way they are faster than kale. You don’t have to chop them up, just wash and put into the juicer.
Spinach has lots of Vitamin A, C and K. It also has much more Folate than Kale. Spinach juice will also have a lot of magnesium and manganese.
Spinach will wilt, so you can’t keep it as long as kale. One trick is to put a piece of paper towel in with it while you store it in your refrigerator so that it can absorb the excess moisture.
Recommendation: Variety, Heavy on Kale
My personal recommendation would be to mix both kale and spinach. You don’t want spinach to be the only leafy green you juice because of the problem with oxalic acid. Kale has a higher nutrient density for some of the powerful flavonoids and it also lasts longer.