Everything You Need To Know About Kale
Kale, or leafy kale, is a variety of cabbage grown for its edible and ornamental leaves, and you’ve likely seen it increasingly populating the menus of restaurateurs and nutritionists.
Kale collards can have green or purple leaves and have become a key ingredient in contemporary food.
The first records of kale date back to 2,000 BC, and it is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Although kale varieties existed in Greece as early as the 4th century B.C., their varieties quickly populated the European continent.
The earliest record of kale in Western Europe is of hard-headed kale in the 13th century. Records in 14th century England distinguish between hard-headed and loose-leafed cabbages.
Russian kale was introduced to Canada and then to the United States by Russian traders in the 19th century.
There are five types of Kale:
- Green Kale: bright green and frilly; traders introduced the Russian kale variant used for cooked dishes because of its texture. You can also use it to make chips or for cooked pasta dishes.
- Red Kale: the leaves are super tender and sweeter than most other types of kale, but the red stems are stringy and very bitter. Remove them before preparing this type of kale.
- Tuscan Kale: Also known as Dinosaur Kale, this is a more tender, less curly variety, and very tasty when eaten raw.
- Ornamental: It is similar to a large, leafy cabbage and often has bright purple or white colors on its central leaves. It is edible, although it is often not as tasty as other varieties of kale.
- Siberian kale: is a hardy crop that does well in even the most adverse weather conditions. It is more tender than most other kale varieties, making it ideal for salads and raw applications.
Kale is a recommended food for people with high cholesterol because of its nutritional properties. Steaming kale before consumption enhances these properties, especially if accompanied with lemon, salt, and pepper.
Kale also contains high concentrations of antioxidants known as carotenoids and flavonoids, which have been shown to help prevent certain types of cancer. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, making it a popular choice in many healthy diets. However, like all good things, kale is best enjoyed in moderation, especially if you are vitamin K restricted or if you have thyroid problems.
This vegetable has been scientifically proven to reduce chronic inflammation. It is packed with vitamin K, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory nutrients. Kale contains more vitamin K than any other vegetable; one cup provides approximately 550 micrograms of vitamin K. However, if you are taking blood thinners, especially Coumadin, it is recommended that you keep your daily intake of vitamin K at 80 micrograms to avoid blood clots or excessive bleeding.
Ways of preparation
This is the best way to prepare kale chips. Just preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, toss the kale leaves with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them on a baking sheet. Place the leaf in the oven and roast until crisp, about 15 minutes or so.
You can make green smoothies with fresh fruit and some kale. However, it takes a lot of effort to get a really smooth drink, so try your blender and see what you can do. You can also cook it with broth and other vegetables for a tasty soup. You can also check our recipe for Kaleamole here.
Kale can be quite tough, so if you want to eat it raw, rub some dressing or lemon juice on the leaves for a while before letting them sit in the fridge. This will make raw kale much more palatable.
Heat some stock or olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the kale and sauté until wilted—season with spices and herbs or just a little salt and pepper. You can eat it alone or mixed with whole wheat pasta or rice.
Put some water in the bottom of a saucepan and place a steamer basket. Add the kale leaves, cover, and steam for a few minutes until the kale is bright green and more tender. Check our kale wrap with avocado here.