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Seasonal Food: Kale

January 5, 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard of kale, it’s all the rage these days. But did you know just how nutritious it is? It’s a superfood that’s loaded with so much good stuff that if I were to be stranded on a deserted island and had to choose 5 foods to keep me healthy forever, kale would be the first thing I picked. It’s so nutritious that it tops the list of healthiest foods on the ANDI Score with a rating of 1000. (The only other food to be rated that healthy is collard greens).

Although kale can be found in the supermarket year round, it is most plentiful in mid-winter through early spring. Like cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts, it is a member of the brassica family, which is known for its high level of phytonutrients. Kale has an enormous amount of Vitamin K (1327% of our daily value!) which helps to build healthy, strong bones. It is an excellent source of Vitamins A & C (192% and 89% DV, respectively), a great source of manganese and fiber and provides many other important nutrients like calcium, potassium, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and some B Vitamins. Kale is a powerhouse of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It provides cardiovascular support by lowering cholesterol. It helps to detoxify our cells and organs. All of these health benefits and just 36 calories per serving!

There are a few varieties of kale, including:

Curly Kale:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ornamental Kale (also known as Salad Savoy):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


and my favorite, Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days (or more), although the longer you store it, the more bitter the taste becomes. To prepare it, first bathe it in a bowl of cool water, swishing it around to remove any dirt. Rinse thoroughly. Cut off the ends of the stalks and discard. Finely chop the stems (they’re edible but chewy, so they taste better smaller) and cut the leaves into 1-inch chunks.

The easiest way to prepare it is to steam it for a few minutes, then top with your favorite dressing, flax seed oil, sesame seeds, etc.

Kale chips are a family-friendly snack and can be made in the oven in a snap. After cutting leaves into small pieces, toss with some olive or sesame oil and/or some tamari. Top with sesame seeds or sea salt and bake in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes. Remove promptly and voila! crunchy, nutritious kale chips!

I prefer to sauté my greens with some onions and mushrooms. The other day, I sautéed some coconut oil with one chopped leek, a handful of mushrooms and a handful of sliced carrots. After the veggies got soft, I added the kale and some sea salt. After a few minutes and a couple of stirs, I had a delicious veggie medley that was super tasty!

Please post your questions and experiences with kale below. What’s your favorite way to eat it?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. franceska Bucci permalink
    January 6, 2011 12:57 am

    yum, I LOVE KALE!

    Thanks for the info, gong to make an effort to eat more this winter:)

  2. Celestial permalink
    January 6, 2011 10:04 am

    Yum, I love kale!

    In the winter I tend to subsitute kale for anything that I would make with spinach in the summer. Seems to work well if you blanche it gently first.

    I recently made a great “off the cuff” dinner with kale… Spaghetti squash, shrimp and kale seasoned with olive oil and garlic. It was quite good.

    • January 6, 2011 1:28 pm

      That sounds delicious! I love “off the cuff” meals. 🙂

  3. Melissa Wayne permalink
    January 6, 2011 3:46 pm

    Love kale, but I discovered this in an odd and amusing way. I used to have a pet bunny and kale is very good for them. But a bunny is a small creature and kale comes in large bunches, so I was throwing out a lot of it until one day I thought “why not try this myself”?!?! Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! It’s yummy!

    • January 6, 2011 5:57 pm

      Hahaha The thought of you eating bunny food makes me smile. Love ya!!! xoxo

  4. Pam Perry permalink
    November 28, 2011 4:19 pm

    I, for the first time this week, tasted Lacinato Kale wonderful !

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