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I love kale. It's one of my favourite foods, my preferred leafy green and the last name of one of my best friends.
Kale, also known as borecole, is a
a member of cabbage
family (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group
), along with broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussel sprouts. Easy to grow and full of nutrients, kale was a choice vegetable for England's Dig for Victory campaign during World Way II.
The history of this magnificent leafy green dates back at least 2000 years, when Sabellian kale, the ancestor to the kale we know today, was cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans in the fourth century BC. It was the most widely eaten green vegetable in Europe until the end of the Middle Ages, when cabbage eclipsed it in popularity. In fact, in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 13th centuries it found its way into the works of European writers.
In the 19th century, Kale finally found its way to North America – making its first stop in Canada – at the hands of Russian traders.
An outstanding source of vitamin K, a cup of boiled kale can proved over 1300% of your daily requirement (don't worry, it's super super hard to get too much vitamin K from food sources). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with coagulation, or blood clotting. This tasty veggie is also high in vitamins A and C.
Full of glucosinolates, a sulfur-containing phytonutrient with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, immunosupportive, and antibiotic properties, kale – like many of the cruciferous vegetables – has been connected to cancer preventative benefits. In particular, studies have shown a positive benefit for cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate.
Sadly, kale has lately been cropping up on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen, a list of the 12 foods with the most pesticide residue (after washed and cleaned). So you might want to go for organic, or grow your own. Its appearance on this list is surprising as kale is historically easy to grow, without the need for pesticides. In fact, many of its relatives in the brassica family have made it onto the Clean 15 – a list of the least toxic foods*.
There are lots of ways to enjoy this green god of a food (I see kale as male for some reason...), raw or cooked. I've selected some recipes from around the blogging world to help you make the most of your rendezvous' with this leafy green.
Clockwise from top left:
Kale and almond pesto
over at Elana's Pantry
Raw wilted kale salad
To eat kale raw, you need to make it into small, easily digestible pieces. You can do this by blending or pureeing it, or you can do this by wilting it. I've shown you how to wilt spinach, by letting it marinate. Well, kale, being tougher is much easier to wilt if you put some elbow grease into it.
1 head of kale
1tbsp sea salt
olives, pitted and sliced
...anything else you like in salad!
cut out the thickest parts of the stem, wash, dry, and put in your freezer to use in a future veggie broth. Cut the leafs into pieces, I usually do 1” strips or smaller. Put in a large bowl – don't worry about washing yet, we'll get to that later; dry kale wilts much more easily.
Massage the salt into the leaves – adding a bit more if needed – until the leaves wilt. Be careful if you have any cuts on your fingers...ow.
Once the kale has wilted, rinse very well in cold water and dry in a salad spinner.
Add in the other veggies and the dressing of your choice, maybe some hemp seeds or pecans, toss and enjoy. I usually dress my kale salads with a lemon juice, jalapeno (seeded), cayenne, olive oil blended mix, or with blended spinach, lemon juice and tomato, or spinach, tomato and avocado...the combinations are endless!
What are your favourite ways to eat kale?
p.s. pssst...That giveaway I was telling you about is coming up soon!!
*Check out Devan's post over at No More Cheeze
to learn more about the veggies and fruits to splurge on for organic and those that you're ok to cheap out on.
Labels: dinner, gluten-free, picnic, raw, round up, salad, vegan