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.
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.
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.
Simple Sautéed Kale
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 heads of kale
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter.
- While the oil and butter are heated, remove the kale leaves from their stems. Cut the leaves horizontally into strips about 2 inches wide.
- When the butter is completely melted, stir in the chopped kale leaves. Add the nutmeg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring constantly for five minutes.
Sweet and Savory Kale
Recipe from AllRecipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
- Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.
Kale, Sausage and Mushroom Stew
Recipe from Mark Bittman
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 to 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or hot, cut into 1-inch pieces (we suggest that vegans could substitute with seitan or tofu sausages)
- 1 pound kale, leaves stripped from stems, stems reserved
- 3/4 pound trimmed and sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika or dried red chili flakes, or to taste
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock or water
- Put olive oil in large deep skillet or casserole, and turn heat to medium-high; a minute later, add sausage and cook without stirring until well browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale stems into 1/2-inch lengths and shred leaves.
- Stir sausage and let it brown a bit more. Remove it with a slotted spoon (don’t worry if it isn’t cooked through). Cook mushrooms in remaining fat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
- Add kale stems and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, in 3 or 4 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, paprika or chili flakes, kale leaves, salt and pepper; stir and cook about 1 minute. Return sausage to pan and add stock or water. Raise heat to high and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, ladle stew into bowls and top with reserved mushrooms.