All hail kale! Yes, this sounds ridiculous. However, within recent years this super food has gotten increasingly more popular in the United States. According to the Department of Agriculture; between 2007 and 2012 kale production increased by 60% in the United States. For good reason, too! It’s packed with nutrition. And, as many consumers are seeking healthier food options, manufacturers are answering this call by adding kale to many of their consumer products. Therefore, kale production has increased immensely, and has become what may be considered a fad.
Fad or not, we are all doing our best to prevent illness and maintain a healthy state of being. Eating kale regularly may be just the fuel needed to get us there, along with plenty of water, and sunshine. This is nothing new folks, up until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was the most common green vegetable. In Scotland kale is consumed so often that in some dialects when a person is feeling unwell it is referred to as “off one’s kail”-to feel too ill to eat. Kale is synonymous with general word, food in Scotland! The resurgence of this hardy green vegetable within the U.S marketplace, has been growing strong for several years now and with many superfoods available on the market today, you may wonder why kale is so popular. We too, wanted to know more and found the following information to be most enticing.
- One cup of kale provides about 9% RDA of Calcium, 659% RDA of Vitamin A, 134% RDA Vitamin C, and more than 684% RDA of Vitamin K.
- Kale also provides more iron per calorie than beef.
- Kale is high in fiber, as well as sulfur. Both components are great at detoxifyingyour body and supporting a healthier liver.
- A serving of kale has more absorbable calcium than a small carton of milk.
- Kale is listed as one of thebest foods to fight UTIs due to its extraordinary nutritional profile. Pro-vitamin A is known to promote healthy surface linings of the urinary tracts.
- Kale has an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of 1,770. The ORAC rating of a food gives an indication of the food’s antioxidant capacity. For the sake of comparison, raw spinach has an ORAC rating of 1,515, cauliflower has an ORAC of 839 and celery has an ORAC of 497.
- The free radical neutralizing effects of the antioxidants in kale can help keep your skin looking greatby preventing loss of skin elasticity triggered by excessive ultraviolet radiation.
- “Kale contains several glucosinolates including glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin and sinigrin. When you eat kale, these compounds are converted into isothiocyanates in your digestive tract. A large body of evidence suggests that isothiocyanates may help prevent cancer and, in some cases, even suppress the growth of cancerous tumors. Isothiocyanates work their anti-cancer magic by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body, by conferring protection against DNA damage, and by stimulating apoptosis(self-destruction) of cancerous cells.”(healthwithfood.org)
- It is versatile and can be prepared in a myriad of different ways- from smoothies, to a crisp chip alternative it is easy to get kale into your diet.
- There are numerous varieties of kale; lacinato, redbor, Gulag Stars, True Siberian, Red Russian, White Russian, Dwarf Blue Vates, Red Nagoya, Chinese Kale, Sea Kale, etc.
Wow, to say the least, and this is only a portion of the benefits related to eating kale! We grow a copious amount of kale at Blue Sky Organic Farms. Our four favorites; Scarlet (red) kale, Winterbor (green curly) kale, Russian Red kale and Tuscano (lacinato) kale. My personal new favorite, is the Russian Red. It really isn’t much to look at, as it is quite flat and looks almost dry. It is not dry, I assure you. Chopped up and sautéed with a bit of grapeseed oil, onion, and fresh garlic its vibrant green hue, tender bite and hint of sweetness is very enticing. A bonus when preparing this variety of kale, is that it requires a shorter amount of cooking time!
Fast, slow, blended, or baked; how do you prefer to eat your kale? Please share your recipes with us on our Facebook page! And, in case you are looking for a new recipe, we’ve provided a few down below. Enjoy, have fun and be sure to “stay on one’s kail”! Cheers to good health!
Polenta with White Bean & Kale Ragout
(sourced from wisdomkitchen.com)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup course ground cornmeal (polenta)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3 cups Scarlet kale leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the cornmeal on top while mixing it in with a whisk, and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid to prevent splattering, and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is cooked and has the consistency of a creamy puree. Set aside, covered.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat for about 2 minutes, until the liquid emerges from them and evaporates. Add kale and sauté until wilted. Add the garlic, beans, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, remaining salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat.
- To serve, ladle the polenta into the center of four plates and pour the ragout on top of and around it. Sprinkle with the parsley and parmesan cheese.
Blood Orange Kale Salad with Almonds
(sourced from www.thefullhelping.com)
- 1 small bunch (about 8-10 leaves, stems removed) Scarlet kale
- 3 blood oranges
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup toasted, sliced or slivered almonds
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- De-stem the kale and tear it into bite sized pieces. Wash and dry the kale and set it aside. Remove the skins and pith from the oranges. Cut two of them into segments and set the third aside for the dressing.
- Juice the orange you’ve set aside (you can use a citrus juicer, or just squeeze it through a sieve into a small bowl). Whisk together the blood orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Stir in the shallots.
- Place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing and use your hands to “massage” the dressing into the kale. You can use as much as you like; I like a very well-dressed kale salad!
- Add the sectioned oranges and almonds and pepper to the salad. Mix everything well and serve.
Creamy Vegan Artichoke and Kale Dip
(recipe sourced from www.hummusapien.com, recipe by Ilene Godofsky Moreno, The Colorful Kitchen)
1-13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk
1-15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup nutritional yeast
Juice of one lemon (about 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups shredded kale
2-15oz cans chopped artichoke hearts
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crackers, chips, or toast for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- To prepare the cream, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- To prepare the sautéed kale, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet. (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use a regular pan and transfer mixture to a baking dish later). Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Turn the hat off, add the kale, and cook for a few minutes, or until the kale wilts.
- Pour the cream mixture into the skillet. Add the artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly. Enjoy warm with crackers, chips, or toast. It will thicken as it cools.