I love Kale. I think Kale loves me too. I just feel great after eating it. I’m always craving it, even for breakfast! Funny how just a few months ago I only craved waffles and pancakes and greasy breakfast meats when I awoke. Now all I want to do is start and end my day with greens! So I thought it would be nice to go over with you a few things about kale. Surprisingly kale is a foreign item to most people. They think of it only as a garnish used on plates and most people I tell are often surprised to hear I eat it so often.
Kale is available year round but is especially good in the winter because the cold makes it sweeter. Kale comes in bunches of long, dark green leaves. The most common variety is curly around the edges.
Buy kale that is kept in a chilled display case or on ice. Kale will wilt and become bitter if left in a warm place for a long period of time. Look for fresh, green leaves. They should not be yellow, brown, or wilted. Choose the smaller, more tender leaves over the large, coarser ones. In the spring and summer, get some young kale at your farmer’s markets that can be tossed raw into salads (or grow it yourself).
Place unwashed kale in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for up to a week. For extended preservation, wash and dry kale well. Mince or chop by hand or in a food processor. Place kale in a bag or container and freeze. Minced, frozen kale can be used just like raw kale since it thaws almost instantly.
Even organic kale should be washed as it may have dirt or grit stuck to the leaves.
Break or cut off tough stems. Smaller leaves and smooth varieties have thin ribs that can be chopped and cooked with the leaves.
Kale can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, stir-fried, or sautéed. It doesn’t need to be cooked long—just until it’s wilted and tender. Usually 5 to 10 minutes is enough depending on how small you chop it and how thick the leaves are. Kale cooks down significantly. Figure about two cups cooked for every pound of raw kale.
Now to the fun stuff – Nutritional facts!
Did you know that kale contains more carotenoids (anticancer agents) than any other green vegetable?
Our own bodies can fight off cancer through enzyme production in the liver, but those enzymes aren’t released without a little help. Kale produces sulforaphane, and this natural cancer-fighter signals the liver to produce these cancer-fighting enzymes. These are fantastic health benefits! Eating regular servings of kale is a great way to help prevent and lower your risk of getting colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate, and breast cancer.
Even a half cup of kale a day will give you cancer-blocking benefits!
Kale is greatly rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in Vitamin C not to mention the much needed fiber so lacking in the daily diet of processed food eating Americans. The “Icing on the Kale” are the natural occurring all important phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles which research suggests may protect against cancer. Let’s not forget the all important antioxidant Vitamin E.
Slow the Hands of Time
Just one cup of kale per week is enough to protect the body against diseases caused by aging, and it can literally slow the hands of time. The fountain of youth may not contain water, but it may actually be a garden filled with greens. Whether you grow your own kale or buy it from the produce section of your local grocer, the health benefits of kale are priceless, and this amazing vegetable can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Something I have been pondering myself——> Is it more healthy to eat raw kale rather then cooked?
You will want to eat kale both raw and cooked. Some of the carotenoids are destroyed during heating, but cooking also makes more carotene available for bodily use. Some vegetables are actually more nourishing if lightly cooked. Heat will break down the nutrient inhibitors in them, making the nutrients more available to the gut for absorption. These include cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage and are neutralized with light cooking, as well as some leafy greens, like spinach, kale, chard and collard greens which contain oxalic acid which reduce the absorption of calcium and can irritate the intestines. So steaming these veggies lightly without overcooking is the way to go.
Lately I have been craving lightly steamed (only a minute or two) kale, rather then raw kale salad, like I was having in the summer. Now that the cooler weather is here, its natural for your body to crave warming foods. Don’t be afraid to quickly steam things – but only a short time! You still want to preserve all the nutrients you can.
(some vegan, some not)
Try making up your own recipe…
These flavors match perfectly with Kale:
Bragg Liquid Aminos, or Tamari
Extra-virgin olive oil
Nuts (especially Pine Nuts and Walnuts)