From a nutrition standpoint, kale is one stand-up vegetable. It’s one of the healthiest on the planet—and that says a lot. It has become the “green” of the moment, and for good reason. Kale’s powerhouse of nutrients is primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients.
What is Kale?
Kale is a leafy green belonging to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Kale is available in curly, ornamental, or Tuscan (dinosaur)varieties. Now you can even find beautifully colored kale in shades of lavender and purple.
What is the Nutrition benefit of Kale?
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. This tops spinach—move over Popeye!
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phyto-nutrients. Phyto-nutrients have the potential to fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Plus, these nutrients have everything to do with healthy aging.
Per calorie kale has more iron than beef, and in a more digestible form.
Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. Once cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune disorder.
What’s the secret?
You’re going to love this. Let’s face it—kale doesn’t pop up as the first ingredient when you’re considering tossing up a leafy green salad. Probably something to do with the fact that it is a bit tough and fibrous; maybe even bitter. Not to worry—it just needs a massage. A deep tissue massage.
How to do it: Grab generous amounts in both hands and start squeezing. Rub the leaves together. It’s almost like kneading bread. Keep at it and you’ll feel the tough cellulose structure break down — and those leaves that once seemed so coarse and fibrous turn silky. You can feel and see it happening. You’ll know it’s done when you take a bite and it’s sweeter—the massaged version has a wonderful texture. Take this one step further and use a bit of good olive oil and salt for the rubdown and all you’ll need is a bit of acidity—vinegar or lemon juice for a great side salad.
How to select and store Kale
An ideal bunch has a vibrant, deep green color on its surface. Any discoloration, like yellowing on the leaves, indicates sun burns or that the kale is overripe and no longer fresh. In addition, the surface of the kale should feel crisp. Farmers markets are the best option as you know it was picked within the last couple of days.
Store kale in a sealed bag in your refrigerator. It should be used in 5-7 days. It can be blanched and frozen in airtight containers up to one year, just in case you have a bumper crop.
Interesting ways to prepare Kale
- You can substitute kale for spinach in most recipes like quiche or lasagna.
- Try making it into a pesto with walnuts, olive oil, and parmesan.
- Remove stems and slice thinly and make a kaleslaw, substituting the kale for cabbage. Add carrots, thinly sliced red onion, lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil or Greek yogurt.
- Add thin strips of kale in the last few minutes of cooking any pasta.
- Sauté chopped kale in olive oil with garlic and onions for a hearty side dish.
Try our basic Kale Chip recipe. They’re addictive, in a good way.
* Kale might be a powerhouse of nutrients but is also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.