On the Lighter Side
Hail to Kale!
By Linda Trainor, RN, BSN
Rumor has it that as the weather keeps warming up, many folks are craving a vegetable closely related to wild cabbage with green and purplish leaves.
I found this rumor to be suspicious and lacking validity, so I decided to taste the popular vegetable enjoying widespread favor — kale.
I assumed — and I’m sure I’m not alone in this — that kale came from the ocean and not from your garden. Now, I’ve had cravings for bad foods such as chocolate and cookies, but NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think these cravings would be replaced with a yearning for what appears to be just a bundle of greens!
Now that I’ve had my first taste of kale, I have become truly possessed by those curly leaves. Perhaps even addicted, as the other day I passed the famous golden arches by in search of roadside vegetable stands selling kale.
It is simply delicious, especially when seasoned properly. I was so intrigued that I did some research. From curly-leaved to cavolo nero, I discovered that kale is used in cuisine around the world:
- In the Netherlands, kale is added to a dish known as stamppot, a mix of potatoes and veggies.
- Italians often use the cavolo nero variety of kale in Tuscan soup and polenta dishes.
- Kale is a staple side dish of Christmas ham in Sweden and Denmark.
- The Japanese enjoy kale juice.
Some varieties of kale are even grown for their color, which add bright splashes of pink, purple and more to the garden (they’re all edible, too!). And did you know that in Great Britain during World War II, there was a "Dig for Victory” campaign to encourage the cultivation of kale? Yes indeed, it was because kale is easy to grow and, most importantly, adds vital nutrients to your daily diet.
Along with these tidbits of kale history and culinary uses, we must simply hail to kale for its rich nutritional value: it is high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as beta carotene, calcium, thiamine and sulforaphane, a chemical with powerful anti-cancer properties.
Is that enough for you to whistle high praise and supremely rate this leafy vegetable?
Try something new as you burst outside into the warm air! Sip a kale smoothie or shower your senses while crunching on baked kale chips. Don’t be surprised when you too pass the golden arches by as you seek out this welcoming, tasty green delight.
Above content provided for your entertainment by the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.