Green leafy vegetables are on the top of most lists for the foods you should eat because they are nutrient dense and low in calories. 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 packed with vitamins A, C, and K, fiber (1 cup of kale provides 10.4 percent of daily value of fiber), folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phytochemicals/phytonutrients. Although kale can be found in markets year round, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring. This is when it has the sweetest taste.
How do you serve kale?
- Before cooking kale, be sure to remove and discard the plant’s tough stalk center. Even without the stalks, kale will be chewy. Cooking it thoroughly is necessary to keep the kale from being too chewy.
- To boil kale, wash the leaves and then rip them into bite-sized pieces. Put them in a saucepan with a half cup of water and a quarter-cup of vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook until the kale has turned a bright green. Remove from heat, drain off the liquid, and serve. For extra bite, sprinkle with crushed red pepper.
- Toss chopped kale with pine nuts, feta cheese, whole grain pasta and a light drizzle of olive oil.
- Sauté kale with fresh garlic, then add lemon juice and olive oil before serving.
- Braise chopped kale with apples. Then toss with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
- Make homemade pizzas healthier with steamed kale.
- Unlike other greens, it’s hardy and therefore freezes well. In fact, you might find that freezing, even if just for overnight, will make it sweeter and tastier.
January 10th, 2009