Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts and is one of the most nutritionally dense foods you’ll find. Kale is often called a “superfood” because it is packed with nutrients such as calcium, potassium, betacarotene, and other antioxidants. Kale shines as a cold-weather crop and is at its most flavorful and tender in the colder months – the winter frost only makes it sweeter. There are many different varieties of kale, including the popular, hearty winterbor, red and white Russian, and lacinato (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale).
Kale is an incredibly versatile green, and can be used raw in salads, sautéed/steamed/braised, or roasted into crunchy kale chips. The tough stems and ribs should be removed before the greens are cooked. Kale can be substituted for spinach in most dishes (with longer cooking time). Try it in soups, pasta sauces, stir-fries, omelets, or sautéed as a side dish. Blend this nutrient rich green in a smoothie with fruit—the kale flavors doesn’t stand out, but you still get all the benefits!
Kale is a so-called “super food” because of its myriad health benefits. A single serving (one cup) contains more than a day's worth of vitamin A requirement, which is important for eye health and the immune system. It is also full of vitamins K, C, and B6 as well as manganese, copper, calcium, and magnesium. One cup of cooked kale contains 1000% more vitamin C than one cup of cooked spinach! It also has a significant amount of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer. Kale can reduce inflammation, being able to fight athritis, asthma, and other inflammatory illnesses. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and has zero fat! Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. To get the full health benefit of kale, it should be eaten with a fat source, like olive oil, which improves the absorption of the nutrients.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: Kale's curly leaves provide multiple traps for dirt, so it should be cleaned carefully. Wash kale in a deep bowl of cold water, stirring it a bit to release the grit, then lift it out. Pour out the water, and refill the bowl with fresh water. Repeat until you no longer see any grit in the water.
Storage: Kale will last up to 1 week if wrapped in a damp towel or plastic bag and placed in the hydrator drawer of the fridge. You may notice the flavor increase in bitterness with longer storage, especially when it's stored after 5 days. Only wash the kale when you are ready to use it as washing before storage will promote spoilage.
Freezing: Wash and remove any damaged pieces. Drop into boiling water for a few minutes, cool the kale immediately in ice water, drain thoroughly and place in freezer bags. Remove air from the bag (to prevent freezer burn) and place in your freezer.
Tips: Kale is incredibly versatile, and can be used in all kids of recipes. You can kale by itself or with other vegetables, prepare it in a salad, blend it in a green smoothie for an extra healthy kick, or even bake it into a snack.