Kale is a hardy winter green that offers excellent nutritional value as well as versatility. Use kale in winter soups and stews or steam it and add olive oil.
As the colder months arrive, finding fresh produce can be a challenge. Luckily, there is one star of nutrition that shines at this time of year–kale. This hardy winter green offers excellent nutritional value and harbours a storehouse of health benefits within those crinkled leaves.
You can find kale in your local markets from autumn through to early spring. Winter frosts are beneficial to this plant, making its leaves sweeter and more tender. Varieties suitable for eating include the Tuscan cavalo nero (also known as lacinato) and the more familiar curly kale.
Kale is wonderfully versatile and can be used in many ways. Chop the leaves finely and add them to soups and stews. Steam it for five minutes and dress with a nice olive oil, or use it as a bed for seafood or poultry dishes. For a warming and nourishing winter meal, try this recipe for kale gratin.
Recipe: Kale Gratin
Like its relative, collard greens, kale is a close descendant of wild cabbage. Despite its humble origin, it ranks as one of the healthiest foods we can eat. A 1 cup (250 mL) serving of kale has
- only 36 calories
- over 10 percent of our RDA for calcium and copper
- 25 percent manganese
- 88 percent vitamin C
- 192 percent beta carotene
- an astounding 1,325 percent vitamin K (required for blood clotting)
It also offers good levels of B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, tryptophan, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, and carotenoids–such as lutein–that contribute to eye health. As a member of the Brassicaceae (or mustard) family, it is rich in sulphur compounds that boost the body’s detoxification enzymes.