Silly Food Fact
For years, kale was just a pretty “ornamental” plant. It stands out with its big, frilly leaves and bright white or purple centers; it’s one of the few colorful plants that like cold weather. Kale was originally brought to the U.S. by European settlers back in the 1600s. In recent years, kale has boomed in popularity as a veggie: not only is it packed with nutrition, but it has a lively, bold taste. Give it a try!
Why Our Bodies Love It
If you eat one cup of raw kale, you obtain over 100 percent of not just one, but three, vitamins: A, C, and K! Kale also offers the phytochemical lutein, which keeps eyes healthy, and kale has been linked to a decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Care and Picking
Cool weather makes kale happy! Since it takes 2 months to reach harvest, plant kale early in the spring. Alternatively, in warm climates, plant in the fall. Give kale rich, organic soil along with periodic fertilizer—the flavor of kale is enhanced when the plants grow quickly. If you are planting in the fall, the taste becomes even sweeter after a frost. Kale leaves can be picked anytime, just leave the bud so new leaves will grow.
Want more iron in your garden? Follow this step by step guide for growing kale.
Tips and Warnings
There are three main varieties of kale: curly green, red, and dinosaur (also called Lacinato). Curly green is most common, known for its ruffled leaves and dark color, and it has a pungent, peppery flavor. Red offers a bright color and a slightly sweeter taste. Dinosaur kale has flatter leaves and is the most tender, having a more delicate flavor. Ornamental kale is edible, but it is very bitter. Kale does have a sharp, earthy taste—it complements other intense flavors such as garlic or onion. Add kale to green salads, stir fry with pork, or bake delicious kale chips!