For fresh ideas on how to use that beautiful UBC Farm produce you picked up from our Market, check out the Veggie-of-the-Week blog post series! Crafted by a team of UBC students in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems as part of their Community-Based Research project with Friends of the Farm, these posts contain neat info on folklore, nutrition and recipes corresponding to some of the produce items currently available at the UBC Farm. This week, kale!
Kale, together with cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts belongs to the Brassica family. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, copper, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium.
It has gained widespread reputation as cancer-fighting and health-promoting food. Kale appears to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers. It also works as an antioxidant which protects the body from free radical damage. Moreover, consuming vitamin A-rich foods, such as kale, can promote lung health for smokers or for those who are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke.
Curly Kale- with ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk, it is usually deep green in color. It has a lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter and peppery qualities.
When buying kale, look for bunches with firm, deeply coloured leaves and moist, hardy stems. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a milder flavour than those with larger leaves.
Kale should be wrapped in a damp paper cloth, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. 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. It should not be washed before storing since this may cause it to become limp.
Photo by anthimeria on Flickr CC. Dinosaur kale- also known as Lacinato. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.
Some people find kale bitter, but choosing a bunch with smaller leaves will give you a milder flavour. You can also try dinosaur kale with dark blue-green leaves, which offers a sweeter and more delicate taste than the more common, curly kale. In addition, you can pair kale with other vegetables, such as collard greens, to offset the bitter flavour of kale with a sweeter flavour.
Please click here for some recipes to get you started!
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