Market watch: Crazy for kale!
Move over, Popeye, and make room for the "queen of greens": kale.
Gaining in popularity, kale is being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits and delicious flavor. A leafy green vegetable, kale is available in curly, ornamental or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
According to Timaree Hagenburger, a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, one cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9 percent of the daily value of calcium, 206 percent of vitamin A, 134 percent of vitamin C and a whopping 684 percent of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals: copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
To find the freshest kale, Timaree says to look for firm, deeply colored leaves with hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and milder in flavor. Leaves range from dark green to purple to deep red in color.
Store kale, unwashed, in an airtight, zipped plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.
And before cooking with kale, Timaree suggests massaging it. Why? "It takes the bitterness and toughness out of the kale, she says. "And I've noticed it seems to work best when you use a dressing or oil. Even an avocado works well, too."
For more recipes and tips from Timaree, visit www.thenutritionprofessor.com.