Ask Linnea: Make Friends With Kale

Q: What kinds of kale are available at the co-op?

We carry up to four different kinds of kale throughout the year: red, green, lacinato (or dinosaur), and red Russian. We also sell Seeds of Change seed packets of these varieties.

April is a great time to sow kale, a cold-loving crop. Sow the seed 1/8th of an inch deep. Most kale will be ready for harvest in two months. The flavor of kale is at its peak from the middle of winter through spring, and a light frost produces especially sweet leaves. The young, tender leaves of baby kale are also very delicious.

Kale has more nutritional value for fewer calories than nearly any other food. 1 cup of fresh kale contains 192% of the daily recommendation for vitamin A, 89% vitamin C, 9% vitamin B6, 27% manganese, 12% dietary fiber, 13% calcium, and 7% folate.

Belonging to the Brassica family (with cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts), kale offers the health benefits of sulfur-containing phytonutrients. The cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage – contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that appear to help decrease prostate and other cancers.

I love to steam kale in my wok and add a favorite protein or another vegetable. Kale tastes wonderful with shiitake mushrooms, and provides a nice contrast to yams. Add kale to borscht and other soups, to lasagna, stir-fry, salads, or pizza. Season it with a bit of garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, and enjoy it sautéed with onion or shallots. This is a great time of year to discover the daily benefits of eating delicious fresh kale!