Hands down, one of our most sought after, farmer’s market items, is kale. Be it the juicing trend or the sheer lust for delicious sauté greens, kale is a staple at our booth, borne out of popular demand. Kale, also known as borecole, is a member of the brassica family, and, despite its’ abundance now, also produces in plentiful amounts in the cooler months. In fact, it can tolerate a slight frost, which may even enhance the flavor of this dark leafy green.
In addition to its’ extended season, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around, being nicknamed a nutritional powerhouse. It is extremely rich in Vitamin K, with an ample supply of Vitamins A and C as well, not to mention a variety of minerals. It is rich in antioxidants and is known as being a great anti-inflammatory food. And, for vegetarians, kale has, per calorie, more iron than beef. Now that’s saying a lot!!
Kale has been grown for over 2000 years, staking its roots in the Mediterranean. In much of Europe, it was the most widely eaten green vegetable until the Middle Ages, when cabbages gained in popularity, and, perhaps, explains its’ botanical name translation of brassica oleracea variety acephala to “cabbage of the vegetable garden without a head”.
At Aspen Moon, we typically grow two varieties of kale, lacinato (aka dinosaur) and red Russian kales. The dinosaur kale is dark green-blue in color and has a slightly sweeter flavor and more delicate texture than the red Russian, slightly, curly-leafed kale. My new favorite way to eat kale is to chiffonade it into fine strips and toss it raw as a salad. For this, I prefer to use the dino kale. To this salad, I like to add diced chilies, spiced almonds, golden raisins, and sliced onion. However, my old go-to is enjoying kale sautéed with braised white beans, chilies, minced carrots, onion, and celery. This is one of the beautiful things about kale; enjoy it raw, sautéed, braised, or fermented. It is an amazingly versatile green that can be enjoyed however you see fit.
Also included in this week’s CSA share (varies slightly by pick-up location):
– Salad mix
– Spicy greens mix
– Walla walla, red torpedo, or Bennie’s red onion
– New potatoes
– Fennel, summer squash, or sweet corn
– Snap beans