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. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C as well as dietary fiber.
Storing / Preserving:
Kale should be wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. It should not be washed before storing since this may cause it to become limp. Kale can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although it is best when eaten in the first few days, since the longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes.
Preparation / Use Suggestions:
Before eating or cooking, wash the kale leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove any sand or dirt that may remain in the leaves. Both the leaves and the stem of kale can be eaten. After removing any dirt that remains, you can just cut it into the desired shape and size.
If your recipe calls for the leaves only, they can be easily removed. Just take each leaf in hand, fold it in half lengthwise, hold the folded leaves near the base where they meet the stalk, and with the other hand, gently pull on the stem. You can also use a knife to separate the leaves from the stems.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Sauté kale with fresh garlic and sprinkle with lemon juice and olive oil before serving.
Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
Combine chopped kale, pine nuts and feta cheese with whole grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.
The taste and texture of steamed kale makes it a wonderful topping for homemade pizzas.