Name: Kale, or borecole, which most likely originates from the Dutch word boerenkool – meaning “farmer’s cabbage”.
Origins: A descendant of wild cabbage, kale is believed to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by Celtic wanderers.
Nutritional Value: Kale is highly nutritious, but one aspect that makes it such a “superfood” is the fact that is has more nutritional value from fewer calories than almost any other food. Kale is also high in vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Peak Season: Late Fall-early Spring. Although kale is available year-round in most markets, it thrives in colder months when the flavor is sweeter and the leaves are more tender.
Prep: Choose bunches that have firm, dark green leaves. Avoid anything that is wilted, or has yellow spots or holes. Kale is usually eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, or roasted. There are many different varieties of kale, the most widely available being:
- Curly – bright green and ruffled leaves, slightly peppery, and best when cooked.
- Russian Red – flat green leaves with ruffled edges and purple stems. Tender and good for salads.
- Lacinato – also known as Black, Tuscan, or Dinosaur Kale. An Italian heirloom variety with slightly sweeter and more tender leaves. Flat, dark green leaves, great eaten raw or cooked.