Vegitales: Kale

dino-kale

Kale a day keeps the doctor away

Did you know? Kale is considered to be the most nutritious vegetables in the world! It is very high in vitamins A, C, K, lutien, folic acid, calcium, and iron. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and like broccoli, it appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

Kale is an ancient – 2000 years old – member of the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Its name is thought to derive from the Dutch word boerenkool (borecole) meaning farmer’s cabbage. In the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe; especially in Northern Europe, where it has been a staple crop for centuries. Different varieties of kale are eaten around the world: in Portugal, kale is a main ingredient a traditional soup called caldo verde; in Brazil, kale is cooked with shredded dried beef and served as a side dish; north-western towns in Germany host annual kale festivals where kale is eaten with sausage and schnapps; in Denmark, Sweden, and Holland, curly kale is traditionally served with a Christmas ham; the traditional Irish dish Colcannon is made from kale and potatoes; and in Scotland, “to be off one’s kail” is to feel too ill to eat, as kale is part of their daily diet. 

Kales can be classified by their leaf type: curly leaved or Scott’s kale, plain leaved, leaf and spear, and Cavolo nero (also called Tuscan, Lacinato, and Dinosaur kale), each varying in colour, texture, and flavour. Kale will grow in warm climates, but does especially well in cooler temperatures, in fact, many varieties get sweeter after the frost.

No matter the variety, all kale turns a rich, dark green when cooked. Kale can be steamed, sautéed, braised, baked, added to soup, and eaten raw in salad. Use kale as a substitute for broccoli, spinach, and cabbage – it is so versatile, you could have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!