Watch the back page of the Fiesta Farms flyer each week for a new On Special featured ingredient, then check out the website for fun facts and recipes.
For some time now, Kale has been recognized as one of the Top Dogs when it comes to healthy eating. Indeed, this king of Superfoods is like a superhero, delivering knockout punches to ill-health and rescuing us from dubious dietary practices. It has even become the darling vegetable of A-list celebrities, with superstars like Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry, Gwyneth Paltrow and Woody Harrelson all touting it, according to Green Heritage News.
Although Kale is a relatively recent addition to the public consciousness, it has been cultivated for over six thousand years; grown worldwide, this hearty green shows up in the cuisines of sub-Saharan Africa, in braised dishes like sukuma wiki and the foggy moors of Ireland, in the traditional potato and kale dish, colcannon. There are fifty varieties of kale, most with their own unique characteristics and profiles; Russian kale, for example, was introduced to Canada in the nineteenth Century, and a cultivar of kale, Kai-Lan, is featured prominently in Chinese cooking.
Undeterred by cold weather, Kale keeps producing edible, delicious foliage well into the winter months, and even gets sweeter after the first frost. Since it grows quickly just about anywhere, is it any wonder that kale has been credited with preventing starvation in the United Kingdom during the second world war?
Delicious and versatile though it may be, the real reason it is capturing the imagination of health gurus everywhere is because it’s incredibly healthy, a member of the Brassica Oleracea species which also includes powerhouses such as collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
“As a leafy green, kale is full of vitamins and minerals imperative to a healthy functioning body. Kale possesses vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and is a great source of choline, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Unlike other leafy greens, though, kale is extremely resilient and can be grown even during the cold winter months.”-Green Heritage News
Here are just a few fun facts about kale:
- It has more than twice the amount of vitamin C per gram than an orange
- It is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids
- It has more calcium than milk, 150 mg per 100 g. milk has 125 mg calcium per 100 g
- Eating it in combination with other foods, like avocado or olive oil and acids like lemon juice helps make its nutrients and fat-soluble carotenoids more bioavailable. So mix it up!
Here are two super simple recipes from The Paupered Chef for you to start enjoying the amazing benefits of this superfood!
Basically, you take raw kale, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and flaky sea salt, then subject it to a hot oven for a few minutes. The water in the kale quickly steams off, leaving behind a crunchy, salty chip.
1 bunch kale, stems discarded, leaves roughly torn
Preheat oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit.
- Toss kale leaves in a bowl with olive oil and salt (not too much—just enough to lightly coat).
- Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the kind of kale used. They’re done once crisp and dry
Grilled Coconut Kale
First you tear the kale up, then dunk it in a marinade made out of coconut milk, cayenne, paprika, salt, and lemon juice. After a few hours it then hits the grill pan, where the sugars in the coconut caramelize all over the leaves, leaving it tender, nutty, and spicy from the cayenne. It’s more of a side dish than something you really gobble up alone, since the flavors are intense.
1 bunch kale, ribs discarded, leaves cut into wide strips
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, or more to taste
1/4 teaspon mild paprika
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Tear the kale into small pieces.
- Combine all ingredients except kale in a small saucepan. Heat until slightly warm and combined. Combine in a bowl with kale leaves, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove, then grill on a very, very hot pre-heated grill pan until softened and sizzling.
Want more Kale recipes? Check out Fifty Shades of Kale