Kale

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For other meanings, see Kale (disambiguation).
Kale
Boerenkool.jpg
Curly kale, one of the many varieties of kale
Species Brassica oleracea
Cultivar group Acephala Group
Origin Unknown, before the Middle Ages
Cultivar group members Many, and some are known by other names.

Kale (English IPA: /keɪl/) or leaf cabbage is a group of vegetable cultivars within the plant species Brassica oleracea. They have green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head (as opposed to headed cabbages). Kales are considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of Brassica oleracea.[1]

Name[edit]

Kale bears semblance to the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian kål and to the German Kohl (a general term for various kinds of cabbage) and Scottish Gaelic càl (or kail,[2] as in Kilmany Kail; a rabbit, salt pork and kail broth from Kilmany in Fife, Scotland). Curly kale is also known as borecole which originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmer's cabbage).

Origins[edit]

Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. Curly-leaved varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat-leaved varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC.[3] These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.

During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.[4]

Description[edit]

Some varieties can reach a height of six or seven feet; others are compact and symmetrical and of good quality for eating. Many, however, are coarse and indigestible. Most kale are either annuals or biennials. Seeds resemble those of cabbage in size, form, and color.

Cultivars[edit]

Curly-leaf kale

One may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown.

Classification by leaf type:

  • Curly-leaved (Scots kale; blue curled kale)
  • Plain-leaved
  • Rape kale
  • Leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaved and plain-leaved kale)
  • Bumpy-leaved (black cabbage, better known by its Italian translation cavolo nero, and also known as Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, lacinato and dinosaur kale)

Because kale can grow well into winter, one variety of Rape Kale is called Hungry Gap, named after the period in winter in traditional agriculture when little else could be harvested.

An extra-tall variety is known as Jersey kale or cow cabbage.[5]

Kai-lan or Chinese kale is a kale cultivar much used in Chinese cuisine; in English it is occasionally called just "kale".

In Portugal, the bumpy-leaved kale is called by its original Italian name, "cavolo nero", with the expression "couve rebela" also being used.

Red Russian kale

Cultivation[edit]

Most kales are raised from seed. Kale can grow well into winter.

Nutritional value[edit]

Kale, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 207 kJ (49 kcal)
8.8 g
Sugars 2.3 g
Dietary fiber 3.6 g
0.9 g
4.3 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(63%)
500 μg
8198 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(10%)
0.11 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(11%)
0.13 mg
Niacin (B3)
(7%)
1.0 mg
(18%)
0.9 mg
Vitamin B6
(21%)
0.27 mg
Folate (B9)
(35%)
141 μg
Choline
(0%)
0.8 mg
Vitamin C
(145%)
120 mg
Vitamin E
(10%)
1.54 mg
Vitamin K
(671%)
705 μg
Minerals
Calcium
(15%)
150 mg
Iron
(12%)
1.5 mg
Magnesium
(13%)
47 mg
Manganese
(31%)
0.66 mg
Phosphorus
(13%)
92 mg
Potassium
(10%)
491 mg
Sodium
(3%)
38 mg
Zinc
(6%)
0.6 mg
Other constituents
Water 84.0 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 117 kJ (28 kcal)
5.63 g
Sugars 1.25 g
Dietary fiber 2 g
0.4 g
1.9 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(85%)
681 μg
18246 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(5%)
0.053 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(6%)
0.07 mg
Niacin (B3)
(3%)
0.5 mg
(1%)
0.05 mg
Vitamin B6
(11%)
0.138 mg
Folate (B9)
(3%)
13 μg
Choline
(0%)
0.4 mg
Vitamin C
(49%)
41 mg
Vitamin E
(6%)
0.85 mg
Vitamin K
(778%)
817 μg
Minerals
Calcium
(7%)
72 mg
Iron
(7%)
0.9 mg
Magnesium
(5%)
18 mg
Manganese
(20%)
0.416 mg
Phosphorus
(4%)
28 mg
Potassium
(5%)
228 mg
Sodium
(2%)
23 mg
Zinc
(3%)
0.24 mg
Other constituents
Water 91.2 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

In a 100 gram serving, raw kale provides 49 calories and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese (table, raw kale). Kale is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus (table, raw kale).

Boiling raw kale diminishes these nutrient contents, with the exception of vitamin K (table, boiled kale).

Phytochemicals[edit]

Kale is a source of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin (tables).[6]

Kale, as with broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, contains glucosinolate compounds which contribute to formation of sulforaphane.[7] Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane, whereas steaming, microwaving or stir frying does not result in significant loss.[8]

Culinary uses[edit]

A traditional New Years Danish dish; boiled ham, glazed potatoes and stewed kale.
Making Kale chips in Lockport, Illinois

Kale freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost.[9] Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, soy sauce-roasted almonds, red capsicum flakes, or a sesame-based dressing.[citation needed] When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips.[citation needed] The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

Regional culinary uses[edit]

In the Netherlands, curly kale, also known as boerenkool or borecole is very frequently used in a traditional winter dish called "boerenkoolstamppot", a mix of curly kale and mashed potatoes, sometimes with fried bits of bacon added to it, and usually served with rookworst ("smoked sausage").

In Ireland, kale is mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional dish colcannon. It is popular on Halloween when it is sometimes served with sausages. Small coins are sometimes hidden inside as prizes.

In Italy, cavolo nero is an ingredient of the Tuscan soup ribollita.

A variety of kale, kai-lan, is a popular vegetable in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where it is commonly combined with beef dishes.

Children collecting leaves of red Russian kale (Brassica napus L. subsp. napus var. pabularia (DC.) Alef.) in a family vegetable garden.

A traditional Portuguese soup, caldo verde, combines pureed potatoes, diced kale, olive oil, broth, and, generally, sliced cooked spicy sausage. In Brazil, where it was introduced by the Portuguese, it is an indispensable side dish for the national stew feijoada.

In the eastern African Great Lakes region, a leaf cabbage variety called sukuma wiki is very popular in making a stew or side dish to accompany the staple food ugali. Various kale types are also eaten throughout southeastern Africa, where they are typically boiled with coconut milk and ground peanuts and served with rice or boiled cornmeal.

In Italy, kale (cavolo nero) is part of many dishes, such as "casseoula" (pork stew), polenta (corn porridge) with kale, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and "pizzoccheri", buckwheat tagliatelle served with kale, melted fontina cheese and potatoes.[10]

A whole culture around kale has developed in northern Germany, especially around the towns of Bremen, Oldenburg, Osnabrück and Hannover and the region of Dithmarschen. There, most social clubs of any kind will have a Grünkohlessen or Kohlfahrt ("kale tour") sometime between October and February, visiting a country inn to consume large quantities of kale stew, Pinkel sausage, Kassler, Mettwurst and Schnapps. These tours are often combined with a game of Boßeln. Most communities in the area have a yearly kale festival which includes naming a "kale king" (or queen).

Curly kale is used in Denmark and southwestern Sweden (Scania, Halland and Blekinge) to make (grøn-)langkål (Danish) or långkål (Swedish), an obligatory dish on the julbord in the region, and is commonly served together with the Christmas ham (Sweden). The leaves of the kale are separated from the stem, and then boiled with stock. The result is drained and pressed to remove the remaining liquid. The kale can now be frozen for up to 6–8 months if needed. To make langkål, finely chop the (defrosted) kale and fry it with cream, pepper, and syrup (or sugar) for sweetening.[11] In Sweden, it is also commonly eaten as a soup, with a base of ham broth and the addition of onion and pork sausages.

In Scotland, kale provided such a base for a traditional diet that the word in dialect Scots is synonymous with food. To be "off one's kail" is to feel too ill to eat.

In Montenegro, collards, kale, locally known as rashtan, is a favorite vegetable. It is particularly popular in the winter, cooked with smoked mutton (kastradina) and potatoes.

In the Southern United States, kale is often served braised, either alone or mixed with other greens, such as collard, mustard, or turnip. It is also used in salads. Flavored kale chips have also been produced as a potato chip substitute.[12]

In Japan, kale juice (known as aojiru) is a popular dietary supplement.

In Turkey, especially in Eastern Black Sea Region, kale soup (karalahana çorbası), kale sarma, kale kavurma (sauté), kale turşu are all very common and popular dishes.

Decorative uses[edit]

Ornamental kale

Many varieties of kale and cabbage are grown mainly for their ornamental leaves, which are brilliant white, red, pink, lavender, blue or violet in the interior of the rosette. Ornamental kale is as edible as any other variety.[13]

Literature[edit]

The Kailyard school of Scottish writers, which included J. M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan), consisted of authors who wrote about traditional rural Scottish life (kailyard = kale field). In Cuthbertson's book Autumn in Kyle and the charm of Cunninghame, he states that Kilmaurs in East Ayrshire was famous for its kale, which was an important foodstuff. A story is told in which a neighbouring village offered to pay a generous price for some kale seeds, an offer too good to turn down. The locals agreed; however a gentle roasting on a shovel over a coal fire ensured that the seeds never germinated.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tomar, BS. VK Science – Biology. FK Publications. p. 149. ISBN 978-81-88597-06-2. 
  2. ^ Chambers 20th Century Dictionary 1974
  3. ^ "3 Healthy Juicing Recipes with Kale". Juices For Health: Juicing Recipes. 
  4. ^ "World War Two vegetable comes back as 'superfood'". Daily Mail (London). 3 October 2007. 
  5. ^ Bailey, L. H., (1912, republished in 1975). Jersey kale Photo. In Cyclopedia of American Agriculture: Vol. II--crops. Macmillan Publishing, New York. pp. 389–90. ISBN 0-405-06762-3.
  6. ^ Walsh RP, Bartlett H, Eperjesi F (2015). "Variation in Carotenoid Content of Kale and Other Vegetables: A Review of Pre- and Post-harvest Effects". J Agric Food Chem (Oct 28). PMID 26477753. 
  7. ^ Kushad MM, Brown AF, Kurilich AC, Juvik JA, Klein BP, Wallig MA, Jeffery EH (1999). "Variation of glucosinolates in vegetable crops of Brassica oleracea". J Agric Food Chem 47 (4): 1541–8. PMID 10564014. 
  8. ^ Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick (15 May 2007). "Research Says Boiling Broccoli Ruins Its Anti Cancer Properties". 
  9. ^ Watson, Benjamin (1996). Taylor's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 200. ISBN 0-395-70818-4. 
  10. ^ AA.VV. La cucina tradizionale Lombarda, ed. Newton Compton, A. Molinari L'antica cuciniera ligure, ed. De Ferrari AA
  11. ^ "Långkål". ICA.se. 
  12. ^ "Ew! Michelle Obama Makes it Official: Kale is the New Potato Chip". Organic Authority. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Larkcom, Joy (1 June 2003). The Organic Salad Garden. frances lincoln ltd. pp. 30–32. ISBN 978-0-7112-2204-5. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Cuthbertson, David Cuningham (1945). Autumn in Kyle and the Charm of Cunninghame. London: Jenkins. Page 186

External links[edit]