Kale…Your New Friend With Benefits

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Did you know that Georgia ranks number two for Kale production crops in the US. Yay! That means we have access to best of the best of this versatile super food. Kale production has surpassed Spinach and Romaine Lettuce.  It is considered to be a super food, for good reason! Kale is a both a magical and powerful leafy green.  Kale can be cooked and eaten by itself, used in side dishes, casseroles, smoothies, can be a beautiful ornamental plant in your flower bed (that you can snack on!) and so much more. Since there are a lot of misconceptions about kale, I thought I’d share some (hopefully) helpful information!

Nutrition Information: Kale, cooked 1.00 cup(130.00 grams)
Calories: 36
Nutrient Daily Value
 Vitamin K 1180%
Vitamin A 98%
Vitamin C 71%
Manganese 27%
Copper 22%
Vitamin B6 11%
Fiber 10%
Calcium 9%
Potassium 8%
Iron 7%
Vitamin E 7%
Vitamin B2 7%
Magnesium 6%
Vitamin B1 6%
Protein 5%
Phosphorous 5%
Omega-3 fatty acids 5%
Vitamin B-3 4%
Folate 4%
Here are just some of the many health benefits of kale:

Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates.

According to Judy Harrison, UGA Extension food and nutrition specialist, “Increased intakes of fruits and vegetables may help prevent obesity and may help to reduce risk of chronic diseases, like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease”. Kale is so versatile, it will help incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet much easier and fun. The best thing we’ve heard about Kale? Moms telling us their kids actually love it when they’ve tried it. 🙂

An extra bonus: Kale has a definite role to play in support of the body’s detoxification processes. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to help regulate detox activities in our cells. Most toxins that pose a risk to our body must be detoxified by our cells using a two-step process. The two steps in the process are called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to favorably modify both detox steps (Phase I and Phase II). In addition, the unusually large numbers of sulfur compounds in kale have been shown to help support aspects of Phase II detoxification that require the presence of sulfur. By supporting both aspects of our cellular detox process (Phase I and Phase II), nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.

Kale Storage Tips

To store, place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

Or to freeze for later use, you will need 1 large pot of water, 1 bowl of ice and cold water, Ziploc or other freezer/vacuum bags…and the fresh greens, of course! (For best results, use only crisp fresh greens!)

  1. Wash your greens. Place kale in a colander. Rinse under cool water, tossing around the greens to make sure they all get rinsed.
  2. Hull the greens. Cut off any fibrous stems, as well as any damaged or wilted pieces.
  3. Boil the water in the pot. (should be about 3/4 full)
  4. Blanch your greens. This means to place the kale in the boiling water for 2 minutes, and cover with a  lid. This is not to cook them, but to preserve the nutrients, flavor, texture and color. This water can be used up to 5 times, but make sure to add more water each time.
  5. Cool your greens. Remove kale from the pot, placing it into the ice water bowl, for about 3 minutes. Remove greens, and allow to drain completely, using the colander.
  6. Bag your greens. Put the cooled kale into your bags, and put into freezer. Use a quick freeze shelf if you have one!
  7. Use in any casserole or smoothie recipe of your choosing, and enjoy.

Tips for Preparing Kale 

Rinse kale leaves under cold running water. Chop leaf portion into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths for quick and even cooking.

To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration.

Kale, Kale and more Kale! (Recipes)

Favorite Kale Recipe: Baked Kale Chips

Kale and Apple Salad             Roasted Carrot and Kale Soup         Kale and Bean Soup

Kale and Orange Salad             Healthy Braised Kale              Kale, Apple & Bananas Smoothie

Kale Au Gratin                                    Slow Cooker Kale                 Sweet and Savory Soup

Random Kale Facts

The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. The scientific name for kale is Brassica oleracea.

In the past, kale has been grown for use as a garnish for salad bars. Increased consumer demand in connection with its many health benefits has Georgia farmers planting, and selling, more of the leafy green, said University of Georgia Extension horticulturist Tim Coolong.

One cup of chopped kale has 134 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, while a medium orange fruit has 113 percent of the daily C requirement. That’s particularly noteworthy because a cup of kale weighs just 67 grams, while a medium orange weighs 131 grams. In other words? Gram for gram, kale has more than twice the vitamin C as an orange!

Kale vs. milk — it isn’t a direct comparison, but it’s worth noting that kale has 150 mg of calcium per 100 grams, while milk has 125 mg.

Georgia growers who have traditionally cultivated collard, mustard and turnip greens have now added kale.

Non- Edible Uses For Kale

Kale has Vitamin A, which reduces wrinkles, so grind it up and smear it all over your face.

This…is why we included Kale in the baskets this week and often! You’re welcome. So…have you ordered your Market Basket yet? www.sweetbasilfarms.com.

Eat Healthy and Grow “America Strong”              Enjoy!                  Mark 13:33

Live in the Metro Atlanta area, Middle Georgia and Macon area? Visit our website to see what we offer in your area! http://www.sweetbasilfarms.com.

Share the SWEET-ness. We are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens on Facebook. Look for us on Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter. We are a local Middle Georgia producer of farm fresh fruits and vegetables and members of the American Poultry Association, licensed by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture as Poultry Dealers and Brokers, and a proud member of the Georgia Grown program, a division of the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture. We sell and ship locally grown and produced wildflower Honey, Goat’s Milk Soaps, Gourmet Cooking Oils, We also breed, sell and ship poultry, pet pigs, bearded irises and much more. We have an 80 acre working farm, with great emphasis on all natural gardening and livestock management practices. An 1840’s general store is situated on our property, and serves as our on-site farmer’s market. We have a large vegetable and herb garden, fruit orchards and more. Conveniently located off of Interstate 75 near the Johnstonville Rd exit (#193). We are six miles west, located in Barnesville, Lamar County, Georgia.

This blog post by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens. Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test.

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