Fall is a great time to find Kale at your local farmers market. You’ve probably seen a lot about Kale in the last few years, and that’s for good reason. Besides being packed with nutrients, I personally like Kale because it is one of the easiest crops i’ve had experience growing, it provides a long harvest window, and often can be grown pretty late into the season if you utilize row cover. Kale even gets a little sweeter with a bit of frost, or so they say.
So in honor of our popular fall green here are some nutritional facts and recipes for you to try. Pick up Kale at one of the three tailgate markets in Polk County and get to cooking!
Kale a ‘Super Food’?
- Kale, if steamed, can help to lower cholesterol. The fiber in steamed kale binds with the bile acids in your digestive tract, making bile acids to be more easily secreted, resulting in lowered cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
- Kale has also been found the lower the risk of the following types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in preventing cancer.
- There are 45 different flavonoids in kale, the top two being kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits aiding in avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
- One cup of kale provides 1180% of your daily needed value of Vitamin K, 98% of your daily Vitamin A requirement, and 71% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Additionally Kale is a good source of manganese, copper, B6, Fiber, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin E, B2, Iron, Magnesium, B1, Omega 3 Fats, Protein, Folate, and B3…..whoa.
You probably think, well I know my kids won’t touch the stuff, or I’m not big on eating leaves, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s all about the presentation and preparation.
I spent my summer working at a farm camp, where kids had the opportunity to plant, harvest, taste, and cook all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Kale chips are hands down one of their favorites! The trick may be that you will have to grow it. Somehow a switch is flipped in the brain when kids see a plant grow from a seed, turning them into instant herbivores. Just by letting my campers hand pick vegetables I was able to get them to eat raw zucchini, raw cabbage, fresh tomatoes right off the vine, rhubarb, herbs, etc. And believe it or not they always wanted seconds and thirds!
As far as non-kid non-vegetable eaters, the best thing to do is hide it in the food. Processing kale into small bits and placing in soups, breads, pasta, etc, is one way to incorporate vegetables without going overboard. But, why not try your hand at two simple recipes. You can’t hate it till you try it right?
So here are two recipes, both of which have been favorites with my carnivore parents and mischievous campers.
- 1 bunch kale (about 8 stems, or 1/4 pound)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pull the green part of the kale off of the ribs in about 2 in. sections.
- Compost the ribs, or chop up to put in a soup or other dish.
- Next you toss the kale and olive oil in a bowl, massaging the oil into the leaves with your hands. (This would be a fun activity for the kids to participate in).
- Spread the leaves in just one layer (You will need two cookie sheets) then sprinkle with the sea salt.
- Bake curly kale for about 12 minutes, then flip and cook for another four minutes. Thinner kale varieties (such as red russian) cook for less time and don’t need to be flipped.
This is a portugese soup dish with pureed potatoes, kale, garlic, and red beans. It’s one of my favorites. For the recipe follow the link below:
I hope you will venture into the world of green and make a trip to one of Polk County’s three tailgate markets to grab a bag full of all the wonderful seasonal produce!