What is Kale?

Brassica oleracea var acephala

Kale is also known as Boerenkool (Dutch), Cavolo Nero, Scottish Kale, Kail (Scottish),

Kale is closer to the wild cabbage. It is a leafy vegetable with a central stem and alternating leaves that do not form a head. The leaves are curly at the margins and the vegetable has a stronger flavour and coarser texture compared to the more delicate cabbage. It doesn’t shrink when cooked as much as other greens (spinach).

Facts about Kale

Most Kales are either annuals or biennials, depending on where they’re grown

Kale is a hardy plant. It can be left in the ground over winter and its flavour, actually improves with frost.

Kale freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to frost.

Colour of leaves: The most common variety is deep green but other kales are yellow-green, red or purple with plain or ruffled leaves.

Coloured varieties are sometimes called salad savoy and are also often grown for ornamental purposes but are edible.

Common types of kale include: Scots Kale, Blue Curled Kale, Cavolo nero (Black cabbage, Tuscan cabbage, Tuscan Kale or dinosaur Kale), portuguese kale, marrow stemmed kale.

In the USA, the principal kale growing states are Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey

Cavolo nero (Tuscan Kale) myfavouritepastime.com

Culinary Use of Kale

In the Western world the leaves are mostly processed and frozen or canned.

Tender Kale leaves: are good for salads.

Kale can be baked or dehydrated to give consistency of potato chip.

In the Netherlands, kale is used in traditional dish ‘stamppot’ which is a mix of vegetables and mashed potatoes, sometimes with fried bits of bacon served with rookworst (smoked sausage).

In Ireland a traditional dish, Colcannon, consisting of Kale (or cabbage) and mashed potatoes is served with sausage during halloween.

In Italy, Lacinato covolo nero (black kale, Tuscan Kale) is used as an ingredient in Tuscan soup ribolita.

In Portugal kale leaves are used to prepare a traditional dish ‘Caldo Verde, a thick, dark green soup. This soup is also made in Angola and Mozambique, in Africa.

In East and Southern Africa, the thick midribs and petioles are removed then the leaves are shredded and cooked with other ingredients like onions, tomatoes, garlic, hot peppers and sometimes ground peanut or ground sesame is added too.

In East Africa, kale it is an essential ingredient in making a stew for ugali, which is almost always eaten with kale and, beef or chicken stew.

In South Africa. kale with coconut milk and ground peanuts is served with rice or cornmeal.

In Southern USA kale is braised alone, or mixed with other greens e.g. collard , mustard or turnip.

Kale leaves can also be dried and used later (Africa).

Nutrition of Kale

100 g (3.5 oz) of cooked Kale: provides 28 calories and the following RDA of Vitamin K (778%), Vitamin C (49%) and is also a source of carotenoids lutein and Zeaxanthin (85%)

Kale and Cancer

Leaf cabbages like Kale contain high levels of glucosinolates, which during preparation form compounds with antioxidant and anticancer activities.

Experiments showed, some of these compounds inhibited cancer growth, some blocked cancer causing compounds and other prevented formation of carcinogens.

Important Kale Sites for further reading:

myfavouritepastime.com Last Updated: 28 May 2018

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

16 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the good info; my wife and I are big kale lovers; we eat kale mixed with cooked oatmeal and eggs, for breakfast, raw kale on salads, soups, etc; there’s always some kale in our meals

    1. Hi Berg
      I am so glad you found the information useful. I love kale too. I have the leftovers from my dinner with black or white beans and egg in the morning for breakfast. Very filling. I sometimes also use frozen kale to make an omelette in the morning for breakfast. Have a wonderful week!

  2. I love kale, you can let it dry in the oven and sprinkle some olive oil and salt on it for extra flavor! It’s a keto staple when the chips cravings kick in. Didn’t know it had that much vitamin C, time for some natural kale chips tonight.

        1. Ha ha! I’ve just googled some random packets, they have lots of oil and 28g of this stuff has 140 calories….wow! Have a great day!

    1. Good luck with the kale chips. I’ve never tried it. I love eating Kale. Ave now adjusted my diet to include Kale 3-4 times a week. Lots of vitamin K and C. I also love broccoli. We have it at least 2-3 times a week. Have a very pleasant day.
      Virtual Hugs

  3. I know that kale has developed a bad reputation because it’s become a hipster food but I like it. I like a kale slaw which I stir-fry and add horseradish cream for flavour.

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