Kale is the name used for a variety of green
leafed vegetable of the brassica family. Most kales have thick stems and
robust leaves that do not form a head. Many kales have curly leaves,
which are the variety most commonly eaten. Large coarse-leafed kales are
grown for cattle and sheep feeds.
History : Kale is thought to be one of the
first cultivated brassicas. Colewort, the wild ancestor, still grows
along the coasts of western Europe.
Collards : Collards, or collard greens, are
a popular green vegetable in the southern United States. They are grown
in summer and autumn for harvesting in the spring and are a good source
of vitamin A.
Curly Kale : With its crimped, curly leaves,
this is the most commonly available kale, although even this can be
quite hard to come by. If you are a big fan and don't grow your own, try
farm shops in early spring.
Purple or Silver Kale : This is an
ornamental variety, and is grown almost exclusively for display.
Preparing and Cooking : Kale is probably the
strongest tasting of the brassicas and is best cooked simply, paired
with a bland-flavored vegetable, such as potatoes. To prepare, break the
leaves from the stalk and then cut out any thick stalk from the leaf.
This can then be rolled and sliced or cooked whole. Boil the leaves in a
little salted water for 3-5 minutes until tender. Owing to its robust
nature, kale is frequently teamed with fairly hot spices and is
consequently popular n many Indian dishes.