A grandfather of “superfoods,” kale may seem to be a sleepy one (yeah yeah, we’ve all heard how great it is), but it’s a respected classic — a leafy green that continues to pull its weight alongside trendy superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa, hemp seeds, goji berries and pomegranate juice, and more common foods like salmon, broccoli and blueberries.
Now, before I go on, a little bit about superfoods. First, there is no official, standardized criteria for being branded a superfood, but the general idea is that it is a nutrient-rich food that may have some health benefits. Second, the internet is full of articles about a range of so-called superfoods claiming to prevent or cure diseases. However, the scientific evidence for these claims is often lacking and there is plenty of controversy associated with the term superfood (check out The Guardian’s article on the topic). Some government agencies have policies in place to protect against false claims — in the EU, products cannot claim to be superfoods unless they provide proof (BBC News). In the United States, the FTC stipulates that health claims in advertising also must be supported with solid proof.
It really is good for you
But. What everyone (I think) can agree on is the fact that purported superfoods do in fact have some solid nutrition that can make them good choices as part of a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies. Kale, for example, is a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and manganese, and is a good source of many other vitamins and minerals.
Kale is a member of the Brassica family (i.e., cabbage) with earthy, nutty, peppery, bitter and sour flavors. We tested some that was available at our local Coop retailer from the Betty Bossi brand. You can see the profile in the image at the top of the blog, which was created in just one minute using FlavorWiki’s in home flavor profiling technology. But this was just one type of Kale. There are many different varieties, including the more readily available curly, Dinosaur (a.k.a. cavolo nero), Red Russian and redbor.
What to do with this popular green? David Lebovitz shared his recipe for roasted kale sprouts in his blog Living the Sweet Life in Paris. Jessica Merchant’s mouth-watering recipe for nutty harvest honeycrisp kale salad appears in her blog How Sweet it Is. Or you could try a kale taco salad courtesy of What’s Gaby Cooking. If you like it hot, Saveur’s spicy braised kale recipe will curl your leaves.
Eat your greens!