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Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage , green or purple in color, in which the central leaves do not form a head. One may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves.
Before chopping, wash the kale leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove any sand or dirt that may remain in the leaves. After removing any roots that remain, you can just chop the leaves with a sharp knife into the desired shape and sizes.
How to select
Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing and small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to a frost.
· The taste and texture of steamed kale makes it a wonderful topping for homemade pizzas
· Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly-flavored ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, red pepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressings.
· Kale is eaten throughout southeastern Africa, typically boiled with coconut milk and ground peanut and served with rice or boiled cornmeal
· The kale is used to make a stew of minced boiled kale, stock, cream, pepper and salt that is simmered together slowly for a few hours.
· Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
How to store
Kale should be wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. It should not be washed before storing since this may cause it to become limp. Kale can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although it is best when eaten within one or two days after purchase since the longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes.
· Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti inflammatory.
· Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin are encouraged to avoid this food since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are often attempting to lower. This effectively raises the effective dose of the drug.
· Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties, particularly when chopped or minced.
· Kale is a very good source of iron, calcium and Carotenoids (which provide vitamin A). In Japan, kale juice is a popular dietary supplement.
Wash and clean the kale leaves and then chop them thinly or roughly, using a sharp knife, as per recipe requirements.
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