Kale grows in many climates and comes in several varieties and colors. It's not only used as a food plant. Many gardeners and landscapers like Kale just for its beautiful colors and big leaves!
Kale is a green leafy vegetable that grows quickly to maturity. By harvesting the outer leaves and leaving the small central leaf bundle, main stalk, and roots intact, kale may be harvested continuously throughout the growing season.
Young and tender kale leaves may be used raw in salads. More mature leaves may have a bit of bitterness to them, which cooking will remove. Cooked kale has a smooth, refined, sweet taste and may be used in many dishes in place of spinach. The leaves and stalks are edible, although the older stalks may have a somewhat bitter taste. Cooking kale removes the bitterness. Kale may be eaten raw, or stir-fried, steamed, boiled, roasted, pickled, or included in soups and other one-dish meals.
Preparing Fresh Kale
Wash the kale, being sure to get inside the leaf fold and stem to remove all grit and contaminants. Shake or pat dry.
Using a sharp knife or tearing carefully, remove the tough stem and any large ribs. Small stalks and ribs may be left attached to the leaf.
Stack the leaves to make chips. OR
Slice across the leaf bundle to make strips.
Fluff the strips into a loose bunch or separate into chips and use in your favorite recipe!
Favorite Recipes Using Kale
Storing Fresh Kale
You will need:
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a full rolling boil.
Place kale strips into a strainer that will fit into the pot and completely submerse the kale.
Boil kale for 2 minutes.
Remove kale from boiling water and plunge into ice-cold water for 1 minute to stop the cooking.
Remove kale from cold water and allow most of the water to drip out.
Seal into air-tight freezer containers.
Kale will last up to one year properly sealed and frozen.
Cooking Kale Basics
Kale Nutritional Values
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.
One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K.