I am so glad that KALE is the first main event for 2015 SICSA. Kale or borecole is a vegetable with green and/or purple leaves. The leaves from the central base do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of vegetables.
It's in the species family Brassca Olreaces, which includes broccoli, bussel sprouts, cauliflower, and collard greens. The origin is unknown, before the Middle Ages. This family contains a wide variety. Most are not readily available in local supermarkets.
There are many varieties of kale, most are not as readily available as others. However, being part of the SICSA this year you'll experience several kinds. There are quite a few varieties of kales throughout the world. There's enough to make an encyclopedia. Here are a few:
- Curly Kale :
- This is the most popular kale variety found in local supermarkets. Usually found in bunches. Has a noticeably pungent flavor with peppery bitter qualities. So seek out for the younger Kale which aren't as bitter.
- Lacianto Kale (Dinosaur Kale) :
- ...really does look like its from prehistoric time, hence the name. Dark greenish-blue in color. This variety of kale leaves are tall and narrow and are wrinkled and firm. It holds its shape even after cooked. It's taste is more delicate than that of Curly Kale. Dino Kale is my favorite. However, I do enjoy both curly and Dino, actually all varieties that I have come across.
Kale is the new super food. It's is found all year long in supermarkets, but is truly in season mid-winter, when it taste the best, and is most widely available. Many of you are not familiar with kale, today is your lucky day to hop on the kale-wagon. Kale is amazing. It is more popular than spinach. And actually quite healthier too.
- Redbor Kale:
- ...also known as "red kale" is beautifully dark red, purplish looking in color. Its steams almost resembles rainbow chard. While this variety is an edible kale, it crosses over to being an ornamental plant because it has a very pretty appearance. You may notice this variety in a neighbors garden or store front as a decor addition to a garden, they look like "fluffy" cabbage. Red kale is also used to garnish plates as well.
- Kamome kale
- ...is used more as ornamental also, not just for its appearance, but because it is more bitter than other varieties. This variety is noticed by many in a storefront or decoration in a garden.
- Siberian Kale
- ...is one of the most cold, hardy varieties, which has enormous green-blue ruffled exceptionally tender leaves with white stems.
One of the best varieties for raw salads.
- Red Russian Kale:
- ...is very similar to Siberian for its hardiness. However, can have a beautiful red tinge to its leaves and a reddish-purple stalk with tender flat leaves that resembles arugula, oak leaves or the outer leaves of a mature cabbage. Consuming the stems to this variety is highly unrecommended. They can cause an upset stomach and are very hard to chew. The stems are fibrous and chewy. So be sure you remove as much stems as possible prior to cooking. This variety is one of the sweetest kales. It's flavor is described as a nice sweet and mild with a pepperiness.
- Walking Stick Kale
- Here's a strange variety for you all. This is a Channel Island Heirloom variety. This variety of kale if well fertilized can grow up to six feet tall and have giant rosette leaves which are edible. This plant looks like a bright green beautiful tree. When the plant matures, (in autumn) the stems can be cut, dried, carved and used as attractive walking sticks. Some laminate it as well to keep them sturdy.
- Premier Kale
- A newer variety prized for its early maturity and cold hardiness. Has medium green foliage with leaves up to a foot long. Smooth leaves with scalloped edges. This plant is upright and compact. It is great for in the garden or container planting. Great on sandwiches or in salads and can as well be cooked. This variety can last 3-4 weeks longer.
- White Kale
- Not a very common variety of kale. Starts maturing sixty two days after planting. A few days later it starts losing its chlorophyll when the nighttime temperatures drop below fifty degrees Fahrenheit, which is what causes the leaves to turn white. This variety taste much sweeter when cooked. White kale is chewy and bitter when raw. Within two to four weeks the plant develops its whitest white. The outer part has green frills while the inner part turns white.
- White Russian Kale
- ...is a white Siberian variety. Extremely hardy. Can withstand extremely moist climate, rain, and damp soil then other kale varieties. Making it the perfect winter crop. Tender, sweet flavor and in just three weeks you can have baby greens. Frost actually enhances it's flavor. Taste great raw, especially in salads. Should be blanched first before used in soups and other dishes. White Russian can handle being reheated.
- Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale
- These compacted plants yield tender, blue-green crinkled leaves. Maintains its beautiful color and is slow to bolt. Good resistance to turning yellow in cooler weather. Dwarf plants grow 15" tall but can spread up to 30" wide. They are very hardy, high in vitamin A and very delicious.
Kale Is a low calorie food that is high in fiber and has more calcium than a glass of milk and is higher in iron than beef.
It is also high in vitamin A & C and contains vitamin K. Kale is also high in antioxidants and has phytonutrients.
Kale can be eaten so many different ways
- In a smoothie
To prepare Kale
- It should be washed and dried very well because it can be rather gritty. Use a mesh strainer so all the grit falls through the holes. And pat dry with a lint free dish cloth that's used specifically for food. (Or paper towels, but I was giving economically earth friendly ideas.)
- Chop it up and add to a salad or Kale can even be in replace of lettuce.
- Steamed) With some water or broth add some sea salt, maybe if making baby food.
- Sauteé in coconut oil or with grass fed butter. Or use both. Throw in some garlic and onions and some sea salt. Good fats is how our bodies absorb all the valuable fat-solvable vitamins that are in all vegetables.
- Boiling which I highly do not recommend for most vegetables, it depletes their nutritional value. Certain varieties however, should be blanched first
Smoothie, nice healthy addition to the smoothie for a healthier kick. A cup of whole strawberries, frozen pineapple, frozen mango chunks, a splash of apple juice and about a 1/2 cup of kale, and you got yourself a nice smoothie. Maybe throw in a teaspoon of rehydrated chia seeds for an added boost.
- Baked, kale chips are the next hot new snack.