Kale is a leafy vegetable belonging to the Brassica family, similar to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  Known also as borecole throughout Europe, it is a very nutritious leafy vegetable used in many ways either raw or cooked. The leaves come in many sizes and shapes, can be flat although more traditionally are curly, and are a pale green through to purple in colour.

It has been used as a culinary staple for hundreds of years across nearly all continents, with many cultures using it quite regularly in traditional dishes. Often it's used to incorporate with savory fares, cooked and added to other vegetable and meat dishes to bulk up the meal but also in providing additional nutrients. The flavour and texture of Kale is similar to that of cabbage, but ranges from very bitter to mild. 

Most commonly produced as a winter vegetable, it is becoming available year round from recent trends towards juicing the leaves and baking for 'chips'. There

How to prepare

Give the leaves a good wash over and pat dry. After trimming the leaves from the thicker stem, roll up and thinly slice, roughly chop or leave whole. The thick stems are often discarded because of their woodiness, but if baked can be used. When cooking, Kale will shrink quite a bit, so don't be afraid to use a good amount. Adding fresh to salads gives a good texture and extra flavour profile.

  • Baked: 15 - 20 minutes
  • Sautéed: approx. 15 minutes
  • Microwave: 7 - 12 minutes
  • Grilled: 5 - 8 minutes
  • Steamed: 15 - 20 mintues

Buyer's and storage guide

Typically Kale is found as bunches of fresh cut leaves or may be chopped and prepackaged. For kale bunches, you want to look for fresh unwilting leaves with uniform colouring.

In the refrigerator or in a cool and dry place, bunched kale can be kept for several days, but ideally eat as fresh as possible and try to use it all. Any prepared or cut portions will only keep for one or two days.

Serving

  • Add to many vegetable dishes such as mashed potatoes
  • Freshly sliced leaves can be added to salads; combines well with grated carrot, beetroot and toasted nuts
  • Add to any form of casserole or stew, and is commonly used with smoked meats
  • Blend with some cream and cheese for a winter sauce
  • Stir-fry in a pan with some onions, tomatoes, capsicum and olive oil