Kale is a leafy vegetable of the cabbage family. Its high nutritional value and delectable taste make it very popular a vegetable. It is easy to grow and is widely available in almost any grocery store or vegetable market. The vegetable is easy to digest and thus can be consumed a lot and its entire nutrition goes into the body.
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Kale is also a very popular decorative due to its colorful leaves that almost look like a flower, in a particular subspecies of the vegetable.
Kale Scientific Name
The Kale species is scientifically known as Brassica oleracea.
Plants : Kale plants are short shrubs. They are grown in rows and bloom into bushy bunch of leaves.
Leaves : The shrub bears thick, long, nutritious leaves which are the edible part of the vegetable.
Color : The shrub bears leaves of different shades of green. Light, dark, and even greyish tones of green leaves are bore by this plant.
Smell : Kale has an earthly smell of its own mixed with a mild tinge of rainy smell in it.
Taste : The vegetable leaves taste sweet. They taste even sweeter from spring season to mid of winter.
Since Ancient days till the Middle age, Kale was in vogue in the European countries. Traces of existence of varieties of leafy vegetables of Brassica family have been found in Greece. A similar looking species of vegetable were found n Rome which the natives called Sabellian kale. Russia traders introduced kale to United States of Americas via Canada.
Picture 1 – Kale
Source – blog.breakawaytrainingonline.com
After World War II, United Kingdom encouraged kale cultivation hugely. Given its easy growing conditions and a whole meal’s nutrition, his was a good option to compensate for the less nutrition amongst the people due to loss of vegetation and less production.
Another similar looking vegetable is widely included in Chinese cuisine. That species is called Kai-lan.
Kale is found and can be grown all around the globe where the temperature conditions are not extreme. Even in extreme temperature conditions kale can be grown in a green house.
Kale is available throughout the year. This vegetable does not require any particular amount of temperature in extreme point, neither cold, nor heat. Thus, given only the soil temperature for sowing and the harvesting time after the first frost no other weather condition is required for Kale.
- Sowing : Sow the kale seeds at a depth of ½ inch to ¼ inch. The rows should be 12 inches to 18 inches apart from each other.
- Temperature : Soil temperature for sowing the seeds should be between 40 degrees and 70 degrees F. After that the mos6 ideal temperature for growing the Kale vegetable is between 60 degrees and 70 degrees F.
- Watering : Kale needs a regular watering. At the least of 1 inch of watering is needed every week by to keep the plants alive and growing. An additional watering of ½ an inch every week can add up to the productivity and quality of the vegetable.
- Caring : Provide timed released in the spring season and some compost can also be applied. The plant needs light supplement also, so provide with some every month. Feed the plant with light fortnightly in the growing stage. Also dress the plant occasionally in this stage.
- Harvesting : The kale plants should be ideally blue-ish green or bright green in color during harvesting. Kale should be harvested after the first frost, as frosts improvise kale’s taste.
The Kale vegetable is classified on the basis of the leaf structure. There are mainly 5 kinds of kale vegetable grown, depending on its leaf structure.
- Curly Leaved : Curly kale comes with fibrous stalk and ruffled leaves. It is dark green in color. It is a little pungent in smell, and is a bit peppery bitter in taste.
- Plain Leaved : This breed of kale has normal, big, and spread out leaves. It is regular green in color.
- Rape Kale : Root of this breed is non-tuberous. The seeds are used for garnishing and adding mustard flavors.
- Leaf & Spear : Not much is known about this breed.
- Ornamental Kale : This breed is also known as ornamental kale. The leaves can be purple, white, or green in color. Its flavor is much milder than other breeds of kale.
- Cavolo Nero : This breed is also known as dinosaur kale, or Tuscan kale, or Lacinato kale. It is dark blue-ish green in color. It tastes very sweet.
Kale Nutrition Facts
Kale is a very nutritious vegetable. Green vegetables are considered to be nutritious anyway, but there are many other nutrients in kale apart from the usual ones that are in green and leafy vegetables. Find out the complete nutrition information of this vegetable in the chart below.
|Vitamin A||9620.00 IU||192.4||95.1|
|Vitamin K||1062.10 mg||1327.6||6656.5|
|Vitamin C||53.30 mg||88.8||43.9|
|Vitamin B6(pyridoxine)||0.18 mg||9.0||4.5|
|Vitamin B2(riboflavin)||0.09 mg||5.3||2.6|
|Vitamin B3(niacin)||0.65 mg||3.2||1.6|
|Vitamin B1(thiamin)||0.07 mg||4.7||2.3|
|Vitamin E||1.11 mg||5.6||2.7|
|Dietary fiber||2.60 g||10.4||5.1|
|Omega 3 fatty acids||0.13 mg||5.4||2.7|
Kale Health Benefits
Kale is an extremely nutritious vegetable. Lets find out if Kale is really good for you or not:
- All vegetables belonging to brassica family including kale are rich in phytochemicals, indol-3-carbinol, and sulforaphane. These agents help in preventing colon cancers, and prostate.
- This vegetable is low in fat.
- There is absolutely no cholesterol in it.
- Kale is rich in anti-oxidant agents.
- It has di-indolyl-methane, which is a very good immune modulator, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial agent.
- Kale has zeaxanthin, which is a very important and effective dietary carotenoid. It helps in protecting the eyes from light-filtering actions. This in turn checks retinal problems and other aging related eye problems.
- It is rich in some flavonoids that get converted in to vitamin A inside the body. These help in fighting cancer cells.
- Kale is full of vitamin A. It helps in keeping mucus membranes healthy, skin fresh, and also eye-sight. It also protects against oral cavity and lungs cancer cells.
- It is rich in vitamin K, which is very important for bone development and strengthening.
- Its mineral content helps in cell development and fluid creation.
- Kale contains much of iron which helps in red blood corpuscle creation, and is also a good cellular oxidant.
Kale During Pregnancy
Green and leafy vegetables are must to be consumed during pregnancy. Kale being an extremely nutritious green and leafy vegetable is highly recommended to consume in this period. However, if the mother-to-be is allergic to any of the nutrients contained in the vegetable then an expert consultation is advised before eating it.
Kale Side Effects
Kale has no reported side effects as such. But anybody having any pre-noted problem with any of the nutrients or minerals content in kale, they should avoid consuming this vegetable.
Even if there is no problem with the nutrients or minerals then also over consumption of anything can be harmful. So keep a tab of the quantity of kale to be eaten.
- Medicinal Uses : Kale has many nutrients and mineral properties that are extremely beneficial for health, vision, and immunity. It is full of anti-cancer properties. Since the middle ages kale extracts has been used in cancer treatment medicines.
- Culinary Uses : Since its discovery kale is being used mostly for culinary uses. Given its high nutritional value and great taste, it makes a great side dish, garnishing, and desert.
- Other Uses : A specific variety of kale, known as Ornamental Kale, is used as a decorative. These kales bear purple, white, and green leaves that look like flower petals.
Kale is not only highly nutritious but also extremely delicious a vegetable. It is eaten in many forms, from boiled, to fried, to steamed, and even raw at times. It is served stir fried with beef steaks and adds that extra flavor to the dish to complete the wonder in taste.
In south-east Africa kale is boiled in a mixture of grounded peanuts and coconut milk.
Kale is used as a garnish or topping of many kinds of salads. It is also sometimes served as a main dish along with rice mostly.
Savoring this delicious and nutritious vegetable of Kale is a must. But be careful of over-eating, or from any kind of allergy from any of the nutritional ingredients of kale.
Find out how the kale vegetable look like in the pictures below.
Picture 4 – Kale Image
Source – whatscookingamerica.net
- by anwiksha
- September 21st 2011