What's So Great About Kale?


Ornamental Varieties of Kale

Kale, or leaf cabbage, is another cabbage relative of note.  Considered to be closer to its wild ancestors than headed cabbage, kale is a nutrient packed leafy green that is naturally part of a healthy diet.  Kale comes in several different varieties, there being five different classifications for leaf shape alone.  It even comes in ornamental varieties, which are edible as well.  Kale is very versatile, although it must be prepared well, as its texture is neither as fleshy as cabbage, nor as tender as a lettuce green.  Raw kale is packed with nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E, K, B6, folate, thiamin, roboflavin,  and pantothenic acid.  It's also got manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. It's got a variety of phytonutrients including carotenoids.  All that, and packed with fiber, too.

Kale is a popular nearly worldwide addition to soups.  Colcannon is a famous Irish stew made of kale.  In Portugal, they make caldo verde with kale.  In Italy, the soup is cavolo nero.  In Turkey, kale soup is known as karalahana çorbas?.  It is a staple in many African and European cuisines, and is common in many Asian ones as well.   

The young leaves of kale, or that which has been finely chopped, make a good addition to green salads.  It is a great addition to Southern style greens, and raw in smoothies.  It adds a green flavor to potato dishes, and stews well.  It can be sauteed, or even baked with olive oil to make kale chips.  

Kale is easy to find nearly year-round in the produce section of the supermarket, and at farmer's markets everywhere.  It is easy to grow in a broad band across the world, and is readily available in many places as a result.  This is an easy leafy green to add to a healthy diet, and it keeps well in the fridge for more than a week.

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