One of the most prominent leafy greens in Europe, kale is a wonderful raw food product with a wealth of redeeming properties. Used in many famous dishes from Africa, Ireland, Asia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Montenegro and Portugal, kale is truly a global contributor. Despite its amazing health benefits and international appeal, kale still largely goes under the radar in America. In Germany, kale is so popular that social clubs and celebrations have developed around the vegetable, but in America you rarely see kale being used in restaurants or even in home-cooked meals. Perhaps it’s the temptations of fast food, meat, roasts, and large portions that have kept kale largely undiscovered in the United States, but as a health and nutrition agenda, hopefully so will the use of kale. A super raw food that’s relatively cheap and easy to source, there’s no reason we all shouldn’t be cooking with this green friend more often. Mostly promoted and supported by vegans, vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts, everyone would be better served by incorporating more kale into their daily eating routine. Very easy to cook and with an insatiable variety of uses, increasing their intake of kale shouldn’t be difficult for anyone. Now that we’ve learned a little more about kale and discussed its many health benefits, I’m sure there will be an outcry in the supermarkets to buy some.
Kale belongs to the cabbage family and is found in green or purple headless leaves. Other color variations can consist of white, yellow, blue and red. The vegetable is strong in flavor and may become even more pronounced after freezing or frosting. The plant also grows very well in wintery and harsh climates, making it very versatile in cultivation. Some of kale’s close brothers are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, rapini, collards, and Brussels sprouts. Kale is considered a superfood with many healing properties. In addition to its nutritional value, kale is also popular for garnishing and decorating. Most ornamental cabbages you see in gardens are from the cabbage family. Loose-leaf kale cultivars and classifications include curly-leaf (Scottish kale lutes), smooth-leaf, canola kale lutes, leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaf and smooth-leaf kale lutes), and cavolo nero (aka Tuscan Kale Lutes and Dinosaur Kale). Ring). Leaf shape and structure are the identifying characteristics of different types of kale and can range from ruffled and wrinkled leaves (Scots) to flat leaves with finely divided edges (Siberian or Russian). A cool feature of growing kale is that you can harvest the outer leaves as needed without harming the plant or the future growth of more inner leaves. Kale is very easy to grow and makes a great addition to any vegetable patch. Interestingly, the tender and young kale is best for salads, while the mature leaves are best for cooking. Speaking of food prep, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we should incorporate these raw foods into our meals and dishes.
Boiling kale is not recommended, but steaming, microwave, pan frying, and eating raw are highly recommended. Kale is a popular raw food product because it is high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, glucosinolates, sulforaphane, vitamin E, vitamin A, iron, manganese, calcium, potassium and manganese. It’s these facets of kale that are known to prevent and fight medical horrors like cancer, cataracts, emphysema, and rheumatoid arthritis. A traditional serving (1 cup) of kale contains only 40-60 calories, making it a great weight-loss aid. With a wealth of fortifying antioxidant properties, compounds, minerals and nutrients, the vegetable is also successful in preventing colds, improving skin tone and boosting energy levels. Although it helps the liver, colon and other vital organs, in one particular situation it does not help with thyroid problems. The levels of goitrogen, a naturally occurring substance in kale, and eating too much kale can impair thyroid function or be a cause for concern in those with thyroid problems. Regardless, kale is still a food that needs to be consumed more frequently by more people.
If you care about your health, the environment, and the raw food industry, you shouldn’t have a problem jumping on the kale bandwagon. Kale recipes are rarely complicated, and the food has the flexibility to be used in smoothies, soups, salads, and even main courses. Although kale is often cooked and paired with meat, we strongly recommend using it only in a raw food environment. By eating kale raw, we are maximizing its potential and helping the world as well as ourselves. A raw food diet is a great way to save the planet while looking after your body, and kale is a perfect part of that plan. There are many great raw food cookbooks out there that can show you some great kale recipes. Hopefully, the next time you think about eating something raw and delicious, kale springs to mind. Here’s even a great kale smoothie and soup recipe to get you started in your quest for kale indulgence. You can find more great cooking ideas in my raw food cookbooks.
A few kale recipes to get you on the road to great health!
KALE SMOOTHIE (puree ingredients well):
2 cups of filtered water
3 yellow mangoes
1 cup raspberries
1 cup red grapes
6 to 8 kale leaves
A few mint leaves
CABBAGE SOUP (Mix all ingredients with warm water to get desired consistency):
1 bunch kale leaves
1/4 lemon peeled
1 Roma tomato
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups filtered water (lukewarm)
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt, pepper and onion powder to taste
Thanks to Kathy Tennefoss