Energetics of Kale

I delight in eating a colorful diet as well as exploring new recipes, so when a friend brought by an armload of curly leafed kale fresh from her garden I immediately changed that evening’s menu to feature kale.

Kale comes in several varieties; red, green, curled, savoy, and fringed.  There’s one that turns red and purple in the cold, called ‘Redabor’.  Or a sage’y blue-gray type called Lacinato (this is also known as dinosaur kale).  And miniature Scottish varieties for tiny gardens.

In the line-up of dark green and leafy, this one is a stand-out.  Kale lowers the risk of bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer with glucosinolates.  A rich source of vitamin K – nearly two times the amount of any other cruciferous veggie.  Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits too.  To preserve the cholesterol lowering benefits of this extremely healthy green, prepare by steaming.  Did you know kale’s glucosinolates can detox all the way to the genetic level?  Wow!  Kale is a broad spectrum antioxidant that fights cancer and other stress related issues.   A mere 200 calories worth of kale contains 15 grams of fiber, plus the pre-cursor to Omega-3’s (Alpha-Linolenic Acid or ALA).

 

Nutrient % Daily Value Kale 1 cup cooked

  • Vitamin K 1327.6% (seriously amazing)
  • Vitamin A 354.1%
  • Vitamin C 88.8%
  • Manganese 27%
  • Fiber 10.4%
  • Copper 10%
  • Tryptophan 9.3%
  • Calcium 9.3%
  • Vitamin B6 9%
  • Potassium 8.4%
  • Iron 6.5%
  • Magnesium 5.8%
  • Vitamin E 5.5%
  • Omega-3 fats 5.4%
  • Vitamin B2 5.2%
  • Protein 4.9%
  • Vitamin B1 4.6%
  • Folate 4.2%
  • Phosphorus 3.6%
  • Vitamin B3 3.2%
  • Calories (36)2%

 

Energetics: Warming thermal nature; sweet and slightly bitter-pungent flavor; eases lung congestion; benefits the stomach.  An ancient member of the cabbage family, it also has abundant sulfur.  Kale juice can treat stomach and duodenal ulcers.  A hardy cold-weather green whose flavor becomes sweeter with a touch of frost.  An exceptional source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and Vitamin A.

Growing season; fall, winter into early spring.

Select firm, dark colored leaves (smaller ones are tender) and moist stems.  Kale should be kept cool.  Store in a plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.  Eat promptly, as it becomes bitter as it ages – and wash just before eating (moisture encourages rapid spoilage).

 

Kale is so good and good for you that we have 2 recipes to suggest.

 

Steamed Kale

  • Fill steamer pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil.
  • Chop kale in 1/2″ wide slices, and stems into 1/4″ pieces.
  • Toss kale into steamer basket (above water level) and steam for 5 minutes.
  • Toss with:
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional add-in’s:
  • Sun dried tomatoes, olives (kalamata, black, green) cheese (feta, goat, blue), dash of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.  I sometimesadd black sesame seeds, yummy!

 

Baked Kale ‘Chips’

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 pinch sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Cut away inner ribs from each kale leaf and discard; tear the leaves into uniform size pieces. Wash torn kale pieces and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels until they’re very dry.
  3. Put the kale pieces into a large re-sealable bag (or use a bowl if you don’t mind getting your hands oily). Add about half the olive oil; seal and squeeze the bag so the oil gets distributed evenly on the kale pieces. Add the remaining oil and squeeze the bag more, until all kale pieces are evenly coated with oil and slightly ‘massaged.’ Sprinkle the vinegar over the kale leaves, reseal the bag, and shake to spread the vinegar evenly over the leaves. Spread leaves evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until mostly crisp, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and serve immediately.