Whether you swear by the green, iron-packed super food which is curly kale or you’ve only ever heard it buzzing around in conversations from fitness fanatics and health guru’s, there is no denying that this nutritional powerhouse has surged in popularity over the last decade.
Curly Kale is the most common form of Kale but there are many different types including Lainto Kale which is also known as Tuscan kale, Redbor Kale which is commonly used for garnishing, red curly kale with its distinctive earthy flavour and Russian Kale which is sweet and mild with traces of pepper.
Whilst scientists disagree when Kale was first popularised, the accepted theory is that the ancient Greeks first cultivated leafy greens which they boiled and ate. This then spread through Europe and Asia in the middle ages. Early Roman manuscripts include references to “brassica” which is a word that encompasses wild turnips, cabbages and kale-like plants.
Up until early to mid-2000’s, it was seen by many as a food that only hippies and vegans ate and was the enemy of every child’s dinner plate. However, it is now it is widely used as an ingredient in many dishes and more and more people have discovered the health benefits of eating kale, how easy and quick it is to cook and how tasty it can be.
One of the best things about Kale besides its nutritional value is its versatility. You can add it to a whole host of dishes and it can be baked, steamed, stir-fried and boiled to add to soups, smoothies and more.
Bake – Discard of any stalks on the curly kale and place it on top of a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, lightly massage the leaves and season with salt and pepper before cooking for 18 minutes on 190C. Stir every 4 – 5 minutes until the leaves have gone crisp.
Steam – Simply place a steamer into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and add the kale into the steamer and cover for 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir-fry – heat some oil in a large wok and add the kale with a couple teaspoons of water. Season to taste and add other ingredients for your dish. Keep stirring for 5 – 8 minutes. The leaves should be tender and vibrant green in colour.
Boiled – Whilst a saucepan of water is boiling, wash the kale and rinse it. Add the kale to the water when it’s reached boiling point and cover for around 5 minutes or until tender, season to taste.
Raw – You can use kale raw in smoothies and salads. Many people like to massage lemon juice and salt onto the kale so it softens ups a bit and adds some flavour.
Whilst kale is available all year round, the best time to buy kale is from mid-September to late February. When purchasing your kale, look for heads of kale on the smaller side as they will be tenderer. Those that are vibrantly green and crisp are perfect.
This yummy recipe is ideal as a healthy snack or side dish for lunch and dinner. You could even pop some on the bar as an alternative to nuts or crisps.
You’ll need one bunch of kale, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt per serving.
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One of the best things about soup is that you can add or remove most ingredients listed below to tailor the heart-warming dish to your taste.
To make enough for 8 servings, you’ll need 1 bunch of kale, 1.9L water, 6 vegetable stock cubes, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 6 white potatoes, 2 drained tins of cannellini beans, 1 tablespoon of Italian herb seasoning, 2 tablespoons of dried parsley and salt and pepper to season.
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