Are Kales With Bugs Safe To Eat?

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Last Updated on August 30, 2022 by Griselda M.

Kale is a nutrient-rich, healthy plant to eat – for us – and a lot of bugs! Are kales with bugs safe to eat? I tend to believe any plant with bugs is safer to eat than one that has no bugs – view a bug as a small tester – it tests your plant for you to see if it is poison! If somebody has sprayed their kale with horrible pesticides, it will be free of bugs.

In my experience, kale always has a few bugs on it somewhere – and if it does not, I am worried. Find out how to wash the bugs off, and how to enjoy this delicious plant.

About Kale

Kale is a leafy vegetable with a crunchy, mild flavor that comes in different varieties. It can be eaten raw or cooked. One of the health benefits of kale is that it is high in fiber and contains nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Kale is an excellent source of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene.

It is also a great source of vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Kale is rich in nutrients such as lutein, folate, vitamin A,  potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and copper. Kale is also a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

Kale is a vegetable that you can have a love-hate relationship with. I go through patches of craving it, and other times when it gets a bit much. Ideally, try to pick the younger leaves – these taste better.

Frilly kale seems to be more palatable as well. Sometimes, you will want to eat it, and sometimes you will want to cook it and dump it in the trash.

About Kale
Are Kales With Bugs Safe To Eat? 10

Are Kales With Bugs Safe To Eat

I actually specifically grow kale to always have bugs on it! I need something that can keep a small reservoir of aphids and whitefly alive so that a nucleus population of my introduced biocontrol predators can survive the winter. Hence my kale always has a few crinkled leaves with aphids in it.

If these get too numerous, feed these to your chickens or cook them up in dog food. I find the leaves with aphids taste a bit bitter, hence I don’t like them.

If you find a snail or a locust or caterpillar on your kale leaves, just remove these and feed them to your chickens. My Mom actually makes snail sandwiches – she collects snails in a bottle, then empties these onto a big kale leaf, stomps in it to kill the snails, and then gives the snail sandwich to her chickens! You get great eggs this way, as the snail protein is great for the chickens and the kale is rich in carotenes that help make for orange egg yolks.

I eat leaves that have had big bugs on them – and aphid leaves for the chickens due to the bitter taste.

If you wish to control bugs you could use neem oil, as listed below. I would tend to not use this, as the bitter flavor of neem takes a long time to go away from kale. If aphids are worrying you, you can normally hose them off with a jet of water.

Bonide 023 Neem Oil Insecticide, White

Kales With Bugs Safe To Eat

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Summary – Kales With Bugs Safe To Eat?

Is kale with bugs safe to eat? Yes. I would be rather worried to eat kale that does not have bugs! This reminds me of once when I was in Mozambique, I found this guy who had the most amazing garden.

Mozambique is hot and humid – and full of bugs! This guy’s plants were insect free – beautiful and strong. I asked him what his secret was and he took me to a shed filled with drums of DDT!

He was using this like water on his plants – DDT is a very horrible pesticide. It has actually been banned for half a century in most of Africa! Hence, my original saying – if vegetables do not have bugs on them or evidence of bug damage – be very worried! Poisons are way scarier than bugs.


Can I eat kale with aphids?

Yes, just wash them off. I find leaves with aphid infestations tend to taste a bit bitter. You can also feed these to chickens, or cook them in dog food. For these uses I would not remove the aphids - they are added nutrients.

Can you eat kale that has cabbage worms?

Yes, try to remove the worms. If you find one in your salad, either remove it, or just ignore it and eat it! Cabbage worms are nutritious from what I can understand. A bit difficult to adjust to, but once you learnt to ignore them, and eat them, it makes it much quicker to prepare kale!

Can I eat kale with whitefly?

Yes. Just wash them off under a strong jet of water. Or if they do not worry you, fry them up and eat them with the kale. Whitefly is non toxic and rich in protein and just vanishes into the background kale gravy!!

How do you remove bugs from kale?

Generally bigger bugs can be removed by hand, and smaller bugs by rinsing with a strong jet of water.

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