Kale

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Kale
Boerenkool.jpg
Curly kale
Details
SpeciesBrassica oleracea
Cultivar groupAcephala Group
OriginUnknown, before the Middle Ages
Cultivar group
members
Many, and some are known by other names.
 
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Kale
Boerenkool.jpg
Curly kale
Details
SpeciesBrassica oleracea
Cultivar groupAcephala Group
OriginUnknown, before the Middle Ages
Cultivar group
members
Many, and some are known by other names.

Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.

The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. Pieris rapae is one of the most well known pests of the plant.

Name[edit]

The name borecole most likely originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmer's cabbage), whereas kale bears semblance to the Danish kål and to the German Kohl (a general term for various kinds of cabbage) and Scottish Gaelic càl. 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, possess an undesirable coloring, and are unappealing and indigestible. Most kale are either annuals or biennials, and are raised from seeds, which, in size, form, and color, resemble those of the cabbage. In Congo and in East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), the plant is referred to by the generic name of sukuma wiki, which literally translates as "stretch the week "; the term also includes collard greens.

Origins[edit]

Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC.[citation needed] These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. Today 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. 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.[1]

Kai-lan, a separate cultivar of Brassica oleracea much used in Chinese cuisine, is somewhat similar to kale in appearance and is occasionally called "kale" in English.

Cultivars[edit]

A bundle of curly-leaf kale.

Kales can be classified by leaf type:

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.[2]

Culinary uses[edit]

Steamed kale with baked potato and sweet potato

Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. 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 an Asian-style dressing. When combined with oils or lemon juice, kale's flavor is noticeably reduced.[3] When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

In the Netherlands, it is very frequently used in a traditional winter dish called boerenkoolstamppot, which is a mix of 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 very popular vegetable in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where it is commonly stir-fried with beef.

Children harvesting 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, it is an essential ingredient in making a stew for ugali, which is almost always eaten with kale. Kale is also eaten throughout southeastern Africa, where it is typically boiled with coconut milk and ground peanuts and is served with rice or boiled cornmeal. In Italy, kale (cavolo nero) is part of many dishes, such as "casseula" (pork stew), polenta (corn porridge) with kale, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and "pizzoccheri", buckwheat tagliatelle served with kale, melted fontina cheese and potatoes.[4]

A whole culture around kale has developed in north-western Germany around the towns of Bremen, Oldenburg and Hannover. 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 kale is used to make a stew of minced boiled kale, stock, cream, pepper and salt that is simmered together slowly for a few hours. 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 Sweden, it is also commonly eaten as a soup, with a base of ham broth and the addition of onion and pork sausages.

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.

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

Nutritional value[edit]

Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy117 kJ (28 kcal)
Carbohydrates5.63 g
- Sugars1.25 g
- Dietary fiber2 g
Fat0.4 g
Protein1.9 g
Water91.2 g
Vitamin A equiv.681 μg (85%)
- beta-carotene8173 μg (76%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin18246 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.053 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.07 mg (6%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.5 mg (3%)
Vitamin B60.138 mg (11%)
Folate (vit. B9)13 μg (3%)
Choline0.4 mg (0%)
Vitamin C41 mg (49%)
Vitamin E0.85 mg (6%)
Vitamin K817 μg (778%)
Calcium72 mg (7%)
Iron0.9 mg (7%)
Magnesium18 mg (5%)
Manganese0.416 mg (20%)
Phosphorus28 mg (4%)
Potassium228 mg (5%)
Sodium23 mg (2%)
Zinc0.24 mg (3%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.[5] Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.[6] Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying does not result in significant loss.[7] Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[8][9] Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.[10]

Decorative uses[edit]

Ornamental kale in bloom.

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.[11]

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.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World War Two vegetable comes back as 'superfood'". Daily Mail (London). 3 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Bailey, L. H., (1912, republished in 1975). Jersey kale Photo. In Cyclopedia of American Agriculture: Vol. II--crops. Macmillan Publishing, New York. p. 389-390. ISBN 0-405-06762-3. Google Book Search. Retrieved on Nov, 2012.
  3. ^ Ravensthorpe, Michael (7 March 2013). "The Health Benefits of Kale". Spiritfoods. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ AA.VV. La cucina tradizionale Lombarda, ed. Newton Compton, A. Molinari L'antica cuciniera ligure, ed. De Ferrari AA
  5. ^ "Breeding Better Broccoli: Research Points To Pumped Up Lutein Levels In Broccoli". Science Daily. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Yuesheng Zhang; Callaway, Eileen C. (May 2002). "High cellular accumulation of sulphoraphane, a dietary anticarcinogen, is followed by rapid transporter-mediated export as a glutathione conjugate". The Biochemical journal 364 (Pt 1): 301–307. PMC 1222573. PMID 11988104. 
  7. ^ Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick (15 May 2007). "Research Says Boiling Broccoli Ruins Its Anti Cancer Properties". 
  8. ^ "Broccoli chemical's cancer check". BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "How Dietary Supplement May Block Cancer Cells". Science Daily. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Talwinder Singh Kahlon, Mei-Chen M. Chiu, Mary H. Chapman (2008). "Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage". Nutrition Research 28: 351–357. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2008.03.007. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Cuthbertson, David Cuningham (1945). Autumn in Kyle and the Charm of Cunninghame. London: Jenkins. Page 186

External links[edit]