Kale has made quite the comeback as a vegetable due to it’s high nutritional density. One cup of kale contains 5 grams of fibre – that’s 1/5 of your daily intake. It’s also high in Vitamins B6, A, K and C and a good source of calcium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
As well as it’s high levels of vitamins and minerals, kale contains a range of phytochemicals and antioxidants. In particular they are high in carotenoids and flavonoids. These antioxidants are associated with anti-cancer properties. Kale is also rich lutein and zeaxanthin which promote good eye health.
While kale is a nutritional superstar, it’s not always readily available at supermarkets, and it’s always at it’s freshest when picked from home.
Kale is traditionally a winter vegetable and frost actually improves it’s flavour. However, it can still be grown in the warmer months. If you’re wanting to grow it in summer, a good variety for warmer months is Red Russian.
Kale seeds can be purchased at Kings Seeds or you can buy established plants at garden shops. Growing from seed is the most economical way of growing kale plus it’s easy to do. Here’s how:
- Fill a seed tray with seed raising mix. Sow lines of seed and very lightly cover with a sprinkle of seed raising mix. Water.
- Keep moist during germination period – seeds will start to sprout in about 5-7 days. Thin them out after a week or two so there is room for them to establish.
- When seedlings are around 4 weeks old, plant into the garden, with 35cm between plants, and if you’re doing more than one row of kale, leave about 50cm between the rows.
- Kale will be ready to eat in around 50-65 days from planting the seeds. Leaves can be picked individually too which means it will last a long time. Pick off bottom older leaves and discard as the plants grow and develop.
- If you don’t have a vegetable garden, you can plant in large pots filled with quality potting mix and compost. Just remember to leave sufficient space between the plants – they may look little, but they grow fairly large.
- Instead of spinach or silverbeet in recipes
- In salads and sandwiches
- Chopped in stir frys
- Sauteed as a side dish
- Kale chips!
Featured image from My Kitchen Kapers