You've probably heard that kale is a super food, but have you ever learned about what exactly makes it so awesome?
This leafy, dark green veggie is full of filling fibre, healthful nutrients, and robust flavour. And it's probably way more versatile (and delicious) than you've realized! So let's take a minute to celebrate all things kale, and take a closer look at this marvelous green...
Quick Facts About Kale
1. It's a cruciferous vegetable
A... what?? A cruciferous vegetable - like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts! There are many different types of kale, and its leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you eat one dark green vegetable everyday.
Read here to learn how you can include these tasty, nutritious and inexpensive foods into your other healthy food choices!
2. It's literally packed with nutrients
Kale is super nourishing, and is packed with:
- Vitamin A, C, and K
3. It's high in antioxidants
Kale, like other leafy greens, is very high in antioxidants - nutrients found naturally in food, especially in dark and brightly-coloured vegetables and fruits. A diet rich in antioxidants helps to keep you healthy and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Learn more here. A diet rich in antioxidants helps to keep you healthy and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
How to Store Your Kale
Kale may seem hardy, but you still want to make sure you store it properly. Here's how to make sure your kale lasts until you're ready to enjoy it:
1. Keep cold in the fridge
For a bunch of whole leaves, it's all about avoiding excess moisture. Wrap the bunch of kale in a layer of paper towel and store in an air-tight bag or plastic container in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
3. Keep away from other produce
Kale is very sensitive to ethylene, formed naturally from certain other produce, so store it away from items like apples, pears, avocados, melons, stone fruit, and tomatoes.
3. Blanch and freeze the leaves
If you aren't going to get to the kale within a week, you can freeze kale leaves to use them in green smoothies later on. To blanch the kale, remove the kale leaves from the stems and toss in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until they brighten in colour (around 1 or 2 minutes). Drain the kale and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Dry the blanched kale using a salad spinner or paper towels, then freeze the dry leaves flat on a baking sheet. Once they're frozen, transfer the kale leaves to a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 8 months. You can add them straight from frozen to blenders for smoothies, or chop them while still frozen to add to soup and stews.
5 Easy Ways to Prepare Kale
Dark leafy greens have properties that discourage animals from eating them, which is why they sometimes tend to have a bitter taste. But kale is actually pretty versatile ... and delicious! Here are some of the most popular preparation methods:
- Baked. It's super easy to make your own kale chips. Just preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, toss the kale leaves with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Put the sheet in the oven and roast until crusty, about 15 minutes or so.
- Pureed. If you have a hardy enough blender, you can make green smoothies with fresh fruit and a little bit of kale. You can also throw it in broth along with other favourite veggies for a tasty soup.
- Raw. Kale can be pretty tough, so if you would like to eat it raw, rub some dressing or lemon juice into the leaves for a while before letting them rest in the fridge. This will make raw kale way more palatable.
- Sautéed. Heat a bit of broth or olive oil in a nonstick skillet on your stovetop, add kale and sauté until wilted. Season with spices and herbs or just a bit of salt and pepper. You can eat this plain or toss it with whole grain pasta or brown rice.
- Steamed. Put a little water in the bottom of a saucepan and top with a steamer basket. Add kale leaves, cover, and steam for a few minutes, until kale is bright green and more tender.