October 4, 2012

Who hasn’t heard about how healthy leafy greens are for you? Well, kale is no exception. With its crisp texture, bright color, and savory taste, this nutrient packed vegetable is well worth your time.

So what’s so good about kale?

Kale is very nutritious, providing several vitamins, including vitamins E, C, and B vitamins. Kale also contains minerals, such as manganese, calcium, iron, and copper. Kale is high in fiber, and low in calories. In addition, kale contains antioxidants (let’s fight cancer!).  Kale can also be added to your meals in many different ways to increase your nutrient intake, and to add variety.

What is kale, and where did it come from?

Kale is in the cabbage family of cruciferous vegetables. The kale most commonly known in the US is a dark green leafy vegetable with curly leaves. The stem is firm, so you may want to remove it, or cook the stems a little longer than the leaf, as it will need more time to be softened. It is believed that kale came from Asia Minor, and has traveled through Europe, eventually making its way to America with the English settlers.

How do you select and store kale?

Kale leaves should be vibrant green.  Avoid kale with limp, yellow leaves. Smell the kale to be sure that it smells fresh. There should not be a strong odor. Remember that kale, like many leafy greens, contains a lot of water, and will therefore shrink considerably when cooked. Be sure that you buy enough. Once home, keep kale refrigerated, preferably in the crisper. This is not always possible due to the size of the leaves. Store kale in a breathable bag, and feel free to wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel. Washing the kale prior to storage may accelerate spoilage. Kale does not last for a long time, and you may notice signs of decay after 5-7 days. If you want the best, least bitter taste, prepare your kale within 2-3 days of purchase. Be sure to wash the kale thoroughly prior to eating it. Cooked kale can be kept fresh in the refrigerator. Once cooked, kale should be eaten within a few days.

What can you do with kale?

Thumbnail (click picture for video of eggplant and kale dish)

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. Here are some ideas for using kale:
1) add chopped kale to a salad (raw)

2) add chopped kale to a fruit/veggie smoothie (raw)

3) sauté kale with garlic and onions

4) add chopped kale to soups (I tend to add it near the end, the last 10-15 minutes)

5) healthy stir “fry” kale with a meat/veggie broth and mixed vegetables (healthy because instead of oil you are using broth)

6) serve steamed kale over rice

7) bake kale to make kale chips (I like to do this with a mixture of kale, beets, and sweet potatoes)

8) hide pureed kale in brownie mix prior to cooking (the chocolate masks the kale taste)

9) add chopped kale to marinara sauce and serve over pasta

10) top a pizza with steamed kale

Enjoy some kale today, and don’t forget to like the post and leave your comments below.

~ Cece


Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable on the Market by Aliza Green

Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need Edited by Victor Herbert, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, M.S.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A., L.M.T.

One comment on “Kale!

  1. Katie says:

    Just a side note: sautéing garlic and kale in your dorm room when in college is NOT ok. As a result of this repetitive activity, I had “the stinky roommate”. Be a friend, keep dorm rooms fresh. 😉

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