Friday, February 24, 2012
For those of you who think of kale as a ruffled-leafy green decoration at your local salad bar, or as a garnish on your favorite seafood platter with a slice of orange, well, think again. Kale is the new comeback kid, appearing on restaurant menus and in food magazines, online recipes and newspaper articles.
So, what’s the big deal with kale, one of the “cole” crops, along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi?
Kale is said to have originally been called “farmer’s cabbage,” or “borecole,” by the Dutch, later dubbed “kale” by the Scots. An ancestor of wild cabbage found in Asia Minor, kale came to the America in the 17th century with English settlers. By definition, it is a hardy cabbage with sturdy-stemmed leaves in varying shades of green and purple-red which typically do not form a head.
Today, there are many different varieties of kale to be found in farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, from the familiar curly to Lacinato or dinosaur kale, also known as black or cavolo nero in Italian.
Like so many greens, kale is a powerhouse of nutrients and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and potassium. It is also a good source of calcium.
When it comes to taste, kale resembles the flavor of its cabbage cousins, but can be somewhat more assertive, depending upon the season/time of year and degree of freshness.
Kale has a crinkly, crunchy texture, making it a great green addition to your next tossed green salad, since it stands up well to salad dressing. Go easy at first, try just a few leaves torn from the stems; rinse and tear into bite-size pieces, and add to your family's preferred lettuce mix.
When buying kale, look for small to medium dark-colored, crisp bunches without brown or yellow leaves. Avoid any limp, tired-looking bunches, for they may have been sitting in the produce section too long.
Kale may be stored in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to five days. To prepare, fill a large bowl with cold water, strip the leaves from their stems and toss into the bowl. Plunge kale up and down with your hands, then lift out of the water and place into a salad spinner or colander to drain.
For a quick afterschool or work pick-me-up, baked kale “chips” or crisps are easy to make and eat. You may even find your kids prefer them to potato chips!
Baked Kale Chips by Penn State Extension Nutrition Links
Yield: about 5 (1-cup) servings
6 cups fresh kale, stems removed, torn into medium-sized pieces (about 1 bunch)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
chili powder or garlic powder
PREHEAT oven to 325°F.
COMBINE all ingredients in large mixing bowl.
TOSS well with clean hands.
ARRANGE kale on ungreased baking sheet with sides.
BAKE about 20 minutes or until crispy.
WATCH closely to avoid burning.
STIR kale pieces once or twice during bake time. Kale will shrink and turn brown & crispy. Turn oven OFF and let kale COOL in oven for several hours or overnight. STORE kale chips in tightly covered container (a tin works well).
Calories: 60 Total Fat: 3.5g Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 95mg Dietary Fiber: 2g Protein: 3g Vit A: 0% Vit C: 160% Calcium: 10% Iron: 8%
Kale Super Salad by Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Yield: about 4 (1-cup) servings
3 cups fresh kale, de-stemmed, torn into small pieces (about 1/2 bunch)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 1 large)
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear of corn) -or- frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1 medium apple, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons low-fat honey mustard or poppyseed dressing
1/4 cup dry-roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
RINSE kale in large bowl of cold water and LIFT out to drain.
DRY on paper towels.
PLACE kale in large salad bowl.
ADD cabbage, carrots, corn, onion and apple.
TOSS with low-fat dressing.
SPRINKLE with sunflower seeds and serve.
Calories: 150 Total Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 140mg Dietary Fiber: 5g Protein: 5g Vit A: 45% Vit C: 130% Calcium: 10% Iron:10%
Chicken Vegetable Soup with Kale
Serving Size: 1/3 of recipe Yield: 3
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water or chicken broth (low sodium)
3/4 cup diced tomatoes (canned okay)
1 cup cooked chicken breast, skin removed and cubed
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup chopped kale (about one large leaf)
Pinch of ground black pepper
Heat oil in a medium sauce pan.
Add onion and carrot.
Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Add garlic and thyme.
Cook for one more minute.
Add water or broth, tomatoes, cooked rice, chicken and kale.
Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until all ingredients are hot.
Adapted from: The Washington Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University Author: Washington State University http://nutrition.wsu.edu/markets/recipes.ht
Just for fun reading: http://eatmorekale.com// http://www.365daysofkale.com/2009/02/whats-in-kale-usda-nutrient-content.html
For additional reading: “Kale and kids are a cool combination.” Gretchen L. Hofing, Michigan State University Extension http://news.msue.msu.edu/news/article kale_and_kids_are_a_cool_combination. Feb 16, 2012.
“Recipes for Health: Kale” http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/r/recipes_for_health_kale/index.html
Sources “Green Leafy Vegetables Fact Sheet.” J. Lynne Brown, Ph.D., R. D. Associate Professor Food Science The Pennsylvania State University, 2004 extension.psu.edu/healthy-lifestyles/functional-foods/diet.../factsheet
Penn State Extension Cole Crops.pdf http://extension.psu.edu/vegetable-fruit/production-guides/2011-comercial-vegetable-guide/cole-crops/view
SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder. http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov//
“Kale and kids are a cool combination.” Gretchen L. Hofing, Michigan State University Extension http://news.msue.msu.edu/news/article kale_and_kids_are_a_cool_combination. Feb 16, 2012.
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/r/recipes_for_health_kale/index.html Recipes for Health: Kale