by Paulette Millis
Kale, a green leafy vegetable that belongs to the brassica
(cabbage) family, has more nutritional value for fewer calories
than almost any other food. It does not form a head but consists
of a bunch of coarse, curly leaves. This health-promoting
vegetable is easy to grow in colder climates as a light frost
actually sweetens the kale leaves. Kale comes
in several varieties and colours, most common being Scotch
kale with very curled bright green to greeny-yellow leaves.
Others are blue kale, which has frilled edge leaves that
are deep green with a bluish tinge, and black kale.
Kale is available year round and comes principally from
Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and the mid-Atlantic states.
can see from the chart right that not only is kale an
excellent choice for the minerals calcium, manganese,
magnesium, potassium, and iron, but it has significant
A, C, and B vitamins. The minerals are wonderful for
your bones and teeth, and the B vitamins are helpful
for the nervous system. Dr. Leo Galland states that 1/2
cup of kale is equivalent to one serving of milk! (1/2
cup cooked kale contains 105 mg. calcium, presumably
because cooking reduces the bulk considerably). Kale
is not as highly allergenic as milk, and it is low in
fat. If you avoid dairy products this is a significant
addition to your diet. With a full serving (3-1/2 ounces)
of raw or cooked kale containing less than 40 calories,
this vegetable makes it to the top of the list for everyone.
Many studies have been done on cruciferous vegetables
(of which kale is one) and their role in preventing
cancer. Dr. Earl Mindell recommends two cups daily
of these vegetables.
Indoles, a group of phytochemicals present in cruciferous
vegetables, appear to alter the biological pathway
that converts certain estrogens into more potent forms
that can trigger the growth of tumours in estrogen-sensitive
sites, such as the breast.
one of the phytochemicals present in kale, has been said
to stimulate the action of protective enzymes in the
liver that help the body fight against tumour growth,
and one researcher states sulforaphane may be one of
the most protective agents against cancer discovered
Kale also contains lutein, another cancer fighting anti-oxidant.
The fibre in kale is excellent in preventing constipation
and digestive diseases such as diverticulosis and irritable
bowel syndrome, as well as reducing high cholesterol
levels. It helps keep blood sugar levels under control
as well, so it is an excellent choice for anyone with
NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL INFORMATION
|The following chart shows the extensive amount
of nutrients in 1 cup of kale:
It just makes sense to find recipes that you and your family
like, made from kale, to add to your diet. It is key to be
sure the recipes you choose are
tasty, and enjoyed, or kale will be left on the plate.
Kale is one of the few foods that contain oxalates, a naturally
occurring substance that can interfere with calcium absorption,
and when too concentrated
fluids, can crystallize and cause health problems, in particular for
those with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems. It also
that may interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. According
to Annemarie Colbin, cooking eliminates oxalic acid. Cooking inactivates
Choose firm, moist kale with deeply coloured leaves.
Warm environment causes wilting, so look for fresh, crisp
free of browning, yellowing,
small holes. Smaller leaves will be more tender and have a milder flavour.
available all year, though peak season is mid-winter to beginning of
Wrap kale in a damp paper towel and store in a perforated plastic bag
in the fridge crisper. Do not wash before storing as this causes kale
It is best eaten 1 to 2 days after purchase as longer storage may cause
it to become bitter.
Be sure to wash well before using as sand and dirt easily
cling to the curly leaves. You may remove the stem if it
is large and discard it,
but both stem
and leaves of smaller plants are useful.
Kale is best cooked and needs a bit longer than most greens,
about 20 minutes to steam, although steaming can sometimes
make it hard,
Boiling kale is preferable to steaming, as it makes for a sweeter
on the other hand, destroys flavour and nutrients. Be sure to save
the cooking water for soups or casseroles.
Buying frozen kale isn’t a good choice as it tends
to be mushy. If making soup, then frozen kale is handy, and
to freeze your own, wash well, chop, remove
large stems, and blanch 2 minutes before immersing in ice cold
water. Drain and freeze.
I planted six kale transplants this spring and they have
been producing steadily. It is so rewarding to go outside
and pick several leaves
fresh for a meal.
They are easy to grow and last into the fall, so if you have
a spot near the kitchen
door, or a large container, try growing kale.
olive oil or coconut butter
Wash, chop, and remove large stems. Saute briefly in
coconut butter or olive oil with chopped garlic. Sprinkle
Variation: add chopped mushrooms and saute with the garlic.
Wash, chop, and remove large stems. Saute with sliced
apples. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts
Kale and Pasta
whole grain pasta
olive oil or coconut butter
Cook whole grain pasta according
Finely chop raw kale, or boil to desired doneness.
Shred feta cheese and add cheese, pine nuts, and kale
to cooked pasta. Drizzle olive oil or liquid coconut
all, and toss to coat. Serve.
4–6 servings This is delicious!
The kale and potatoes must be cooked separately, preferably
just before serving.
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in pieces
boiling salted water
1-1/2 lbs kale, trimmed, washed, drained, and shredded
1/2 to 1 cup light cream, or use Almond Breeze for dairy-free
2 small leeks or 6 green onions, chopped
celtic sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup melted butter (or ghee for dairy-free)
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water to cover for
10 minutes or until very soft. Drain, mash, and keep
they are cooking, cook the kale in boiling salted water
for 10 minutes or until very soft. Drain. Keep warm.
the milk and the leeks or onions. Cook covered over very
low heat until leeks are very soft and mushy. Beat the
milk leek mixture into the potatoes. Stir in the kale.
the mixture is light green and fluffy and the consistency
of mashed potatoes. Season with celtic salt, cayenne,
and mace. Serve in a heated deep dish. Make a well in
and pour in the melted butter. Serve with a spoonful
or two of melted butter over each serving.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Kale
6 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 lb kale, washed and chopped OR 2 cups blanched and
small amount of chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp celtic sea salt
Place all ingredients except kale and parsley in a large
saucepan and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add
kale and cover. Turn off heat, leaving on burner. Let kale
steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Blend until smooth. Garnish with
parsley. Freezes well. –Wendy Smith
*adapted from The
Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton.
References: Food and Healing, Annemarie Colbin; Superimmunity,
Dr. Leo Galland; Anti-Aging Bible, Earl Mindell, PhD; The
Kitchen Gardener’s Companion, Pat Katz; The
Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton; www.whfoods.com.
The above information regarding nutritious food is not
intended to replace any instruction from medical or health
Paulette Millis lives and works
in Saskatoon as a counsellor and nutritional consultant.
Her cookbook, Nutrition, Cooking
and Healing, is available in health food stores, or
by calling Paulette at
(306) 244-8890, or visit www.geocities.com/paulettemillis.