Vates Curly Kale

Image Kale and cabbage are varieties of the same species and descended from the same wild ancestor; kale is the more primitive of the two. Kale was the greens used by country folk in parts of Europe until the end of the Middle Ages when "headed" cabbages were bred. Kale grows in colder climates where other cabbages cannot tolerate, and remain a popular green in northern regions.

Kale is often mistaken for an ornamental garden plant that looks like open-leaf cabbages. It has frilly, dark green, sturdy leaves, and is usually sold tied together as a big bunch of leaves. It is the most widely available type and has the highest carbohydrate and protein content of all the cabbage varieties. The color may vary, ranging from dark green with a blue, purple, or crimson tinge. Its strong cabbagey flavour is tempered when cooked. There are conspicuous differences in stalk heights, which can be low, semi-high, and high, as well as in shape, color, and curliness of the leaves; but there is very little difference in the flavour, which improves after the first frost. Kales are more abundant, flavourful, and tender during the coldest months. Kale varies in height from dwarf types of about twelve to sixteen inches to tall varieties reaching three feet and spreading to two feet in width. The novelty, Jersey Kale or Walking Stick Cabbage, is grown for its straight stems that can be seven feet long. When these are dried, they are made into walking sticks.

Storing and Cooking

Kale should be be used within 2 or 3 days, as these greens wilt, turn yellow and become bitter very quickly. Keep unwashed in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Because the center stalk of Kale is tough, it should be removed before the kale is used. Kale may be prepared in any way suitable for spinach and small amounts make a nice addition to salads. Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly-flavored ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, or red pepper flakes. Kale, a cruciferous vegetable, provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.

Kale Recipes:

Mediterranean Kale

Potato and Kale Soup

Beet Risotto with Greens



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