Kale – Interesting Facts

The fast-growing cabbage is a robust winter vegetable that can weather temperatures as low as -15°C. Kale is traditionally harvested after the first frost of the winter, as the cold rids the kale of its bitter substances and helps to develop the typical sweet and spicy flavour. Kale is often used in hearty winter dishes that contain sausage and potatoes, but since the hype surrounding it reached Europe, kale can increasingly also be found on the ingredient list of salads, smoothies or even turned into kale chips.

 

Food Facts Food Facts

Kale

Class

Brassica

Calories

44 kcal per 100g

Nutrients

5.5g carbohydrates, 4.2g fibre, 0.9g fat, 4.3g protein per 100g

Season

November to March

Storage

store in the vegetable drawer of the fridge

Shelf life

up to five days

Kale – History and Purchasing Tips

The history of kale goes as far back as Ancient Rome, where it was a firm diet staple. In fact, the green vegetable was so popular that growing it was seen as a guarantee for wealth. The biggest modern areas of kale cultivation are North and Western Europe. Depending on how it is cultivated, kale has a deep green to green-brown colour. The curly leaves of kale look slightly like a small palm tree, which is why the vegetable is sometimes jokingly referred to as “the palm tree of the north”.

Kale is low in calories but rich in vitamin K, C and B6, as well as folic acid. It also contains calcium and secondary plant substances, so grab the curly-leafed cabbage whenever you see it on markets or in the supermarket. Just make sure that the tips of the leaves are not dry, and that the cabbage is firm and has a beautiful, deep colour. Fresh kale is the best option for salads or smoothies, but frozen kale works well for more traditional dishes.

Kale – Preparation

The reason kale so seldom makes an appearance on most of our meal plans is that many don’t know how to cook it. The truth is, there are many different ways to prepare kale. Traditionally it is stewed and added to hearty meals or stews.

Washing and preparing kale can be relatively tedious – first, it must be thoroughly washed with cold water to remove any remaining soil from the leaves and then the stalks must be removed. As kale reduces in size as it cooks, this often must be done for many kilos of the vegetable at a time. Buying frozen kale significantly reduces preparation time, as it is already washed and chopped, leaving only the finishing touches, like adding some onions and rapeseed oil, to you.

Blanching kale is even easier and retains more nutrients. The addition of a few baked potatoes and a dressing of your choice turn the winter vegetable into a tasty warm kale salad. Frying some ginger, shallots, coconut flakes and curry paste in clarified butter result in an exotic spin on kale. Serve with rice and tofu.

For green smoothie enthusiasts, kale is a great replacement for spinach. Simply put raw kale in a blender with some orange and mango for a tasty beginner smoothie. Kale chips are another tasty option and are easy to make yourself. Drizzle some lemon juice over the washed kale and roast in the oven at 180°C until crispy. Kale chips have significantly less fat than traditional potato chips, but make for an equally tasty movie snack.

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Kale Recipes

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