Season for Kale: December - February
Go to any self-proclaimed "healthy" restaurant, and you'll find kale is a mainstay on their menu. Why? Because this cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage and broccoli is densely populated with nutrients, its long ruffled leaves resembling oversized parsley sprigs with hues covering the violet and green spectrums. You're likely to luck into curly kale, ornamental kale and dinosaur (or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture and appearance. Get ready for this versatile vegetable with a lively pungent flavor and bitter peppery undertones - kale chips are in in a big way!
How to Buy and Store Kale
Choose richly-colored, vibrant bunches of crisp kale. Go for relatively small bunches, avoiding any with limp or yellowing leaves. You can store kale in the coldest section of your refrigerator for only a couple of days, as the flavor of kale can warp and the leaves will get limp.
How to Cook Kale
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and you can ensure maximum nutrition and flavor by cooking it properly, or not cooking it at all; kale makes a crunchy, enticing addition to all manner of raw dishes. Give your kale a good wash in a bowl of water to remove any dirt clinging to its leaves. Really thick, tough stalks should be removed, but those that are smaller and more tender can be cooked with the leaves. They may take a minute or two longer so you can start with the stems, adding the leaves thereafter. To ensure quick and even cooking cut the leaves into ½" slices and the stems into 1/4" lengths. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting qualities before cooking - steaming or sauteeing our favorite ways to cook kale.
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale is super nutritious with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The Isothiocyanates made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in kale's ability to lower the risk of many cancers, as well as indole-3-carbinol, which boosts DNA repair in cells and may block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids and flavonoids, beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and a fairly rich in calcium too.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Kale
Kale - not so proudly - ranks high among the Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group who found some 57 different pesticides gracing the leaves of kale, making it one of the most chemically-contaminated veggies around. In fact, one leaf of kale was found to have ten different pesticides. Kale and organic are synonymous is our book!