Kale

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 30. Apr. 2020
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​Kale has been around since ancient Roman times, appreciated for both its culinary and health benefits.

kale

Kale...

  • ...contains a lot of vitamin C. When it comes to vitamin C, kale is way ahead. With 210 mg, a 200 g portion already covers our daily requirement more than twice. To ensure that as much of the vitamin as possible ends up on your plate, it is best to cook the cabbage only briefly or even eat it raw.
  • ...supports your vision. Kale not only provides a particularly generous portion of vitamin A, which plays an important role in good vision. Scientists at the University of Jena also found out that the lutein contained in kale can even protect the eyes from age-related damage.
  • ...reduces water retension. With almost 500 mg of potassium per 100 g, kale regulates the body's fluid balance and prevents heart problems.
  • ...supports healthy blood. Kale is one of the vegetables with a high iron content: just under 2 mg of the mineral responsible for the formation of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen in the body is contained in 100 g.
  • ...strengthens your bones. The combination of a good 210 mg of calcium and 87 mg of phosphorus contained in kale makes this winter vegetable ideal for building and maintaining healthy, strong bones and good teeth.
  • ...helps protect your cells. Preparing kale always with a little fat is not only a good idea for reasons of taste: the vitamin E it contains can also be optimally absorbed by the body. Vitamin E belongs to the cell protection vitamins, i.e. it protects the cells from harmful substances, especially free radicals.
  • ...is good for pregnant women. About 375 micrograms of folic acid are contained in just 200 g of kale - which makes it a perfect vegetable for expectant mothers who need 450 to 550 micrograms of this vitamin from the B group per day. This is because it has a particularly great influence on the healthy development of the unborn child.

What You Should Know About Kale

In ancient Rome, kale was considered a delicacy and was so sought after that farmers who grew it became rich from it. It is true that green or brown cabbage has long since conquered the rest of Europe and is particularly popular in the west and north. It is, however, certain that chroniclers have recorded the first official kale feast in 1545. For this the kale owes the beautiful name "Frisian Palm" to the Oldenburgers fighting for supremacy.

Real fans spare no effort and do not let themselves be taken away from using fresh kale. This is a small sacrifice, because cleaning, washing and preparing takes time, as plenty of dirt likes to hide between the curly leaves. Some people therefore prefer to use canned kale, which does not differ too much in taste from fresh kale and is prepared ready to eat. Frozen kale is also a great alternative for those in a hurry. With fresh or canned kale, nature or the winter frost has already taken care of that.

Origins

Kale’s original home is not in the cold, but in the eastern Mediterranean area.

Seasonality

Fresh from the field, kale comes in from about the end of September to November. During the rest of the year you can fall back on frozen kale or canned kale. Good kale is harvested after the first frost, because the cold increases its sugar content, thus intensifying its taste. 

Flavor

Typical for kale is the charming contrast of spicy-tart and a mildly sweet taste.

Find all our kale recipes here.

How Healthy Is Kale?

Among the cabbage varieties, kale is king when it comes to its containing valuable ingredients: It reigns in terms of both protein and vitamin C. Just 100 g of kale is enough to provide us with more than the recommended 100 mg of vitamin C per day. In addition, this mini portion contains almost the same amount of bone-strengthening calcium as 200 ml of milk. Kale is also particularly rich in vitamins E (ingenious against free radicals and premature aging) and A (important for skin and eyes).

By the way, the vegetables themselves are by no means fattening; only high-fat side dishes and ingredients make a calorie sin. Kale contains few calories and not even 1 g of fat per 100 g, but instead offers a high content of dietary fiber, which makes you feel full for a long time.

Kale Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 37
Protein 4.2 g
Fat 0.9 g
Carbohydrates 2.5 g
Fiber 4.2 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

Leave fresh kale with wilted, dry leaf tips — its curly leaves should have a rich green glow and look nice and crisp.

Storage

If you want the full vitamin C content, it is better not to leave kale in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for more than four to five days at most. Of course you can also freeze fresh kale.

Preparation

The preparation of fresh kale takes some work but is uncomplicated: Remove any wilted leaves and wash the rest very thoroughly several times in fresh water to remove any remaining sand and soil. Then drain the kale well, remove hard stems and cut the leaves into narrow strips with a large knife. If you want to freeze fresh kale, you should blanch the vegetables prepared in this way in boiling salted water for one to two minutes beforehand.

The quickest way to prepare kale is to use it from a tin. Nevertheless, it is worth making a little extra effort: even with canned kale, it is best to remove all thicker and hard stalks.

FAQs 

Why should cooked kale not be reheated?

Since nitrite is formed when heating kale, the cabbage should then only be eaten by adults and not by children. If you consume heated kale in moderation, the nitrite it contains will not do any harm.

What helps against the bitter taste of kale?

To take the bitterness out of the kale, you can blanch it briefly in a pot in some salted water before cooking. The water should then definitely be discarded.

What spices go well with kale?

The classic kale also goes best with the classic spices: a little salt, pepper and sugar add to the delicious taste of the cabbage. In addition, nutmeg, allspice and caraway go very well with green vegetables.

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