The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients.
Kale can grow in northern climates where more delicate members of the cabbage family cannot. The "Kailyard" school of Scottish writers, which included J.M.Barrie (author of "Peter Pan"), consisted of authors who wrote about traditional rural Scottish life (kailyard = kale field), where, one assumes, all the kale was organic. Kale is one of the most primitive cabbages --- more sophisticated cabbage species have heads, and not just leaves. Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was the common green vegetable in all of Europe .
Because kale can grow well into winter, one variety is called Hungry Gap --- named after that season in traditional agriculture when not even cabbage could be grown. Kale actually tastes sweeter and tastier after being exposed to a frost. Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.
Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly-flavored ingredients such as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, or red pepper flakes.
Kale Chips - a favorite of our members and easy to make.
Kale Fruit Salad
yield: 6-8 servings
Notes: Your family will be amazed at how delicious kale can be when they taste this salad. Kneading or "massaging" the kale seems to take a lot of time, but it helps to remove any bitterness and is well worth the effort for these very nutritious greens.