Everyone has heard of Kale and knows it is good for you, but why? What is it about this magical leafy green that makes it a superfood?

What is it?

Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. Although most commonly found as a green color, Kale also comes in other colors such as purple, white, and pink!

Kale does not grow in a tightly bound head like cabbage, but on long stalks that stem out from the center of the bunch. Kale can withstand cold temperatures, therefore it is relatively easy to grow in a variety of different climates.

Kale comes in two forms, one which has smooth leaves (“dino kale”) and another which has curly leaves (“curly kale”).

Why is it super?

  • Kale has more vitamin C than an orange! That’s right! One cup of kale has 134 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
  • It has 133 percent of your vitamin A requirement in one cup.
  • Kale is a great non-dairy source of Calcium.
  • One cup contains 2.5 grams of fiber.
  • It is high in iron, which is essential for cell growth, liver function, and more.

How to eat it?

It is important to buy ORGANIC kale, because it is one of the most likely crops to have residual pesticides. Buying it organic or growing it yourself will ensure your kale is free of pesticides!

Kale is best to buy from mid September to late February, during peak growing season and it can be eaten raw or cooked.

Kale Chips (yields 1-2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • approx. 1/2 bunch kale leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
  • (for some extra flavor you can add chili powder, paprika, onion powder, etc!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove leaves from the stems of the kale and roughly tear it up into large pieces. Wash and spin the leaves until thoroughly dry (this is key to getting the kale chips crispy!)
  3. Add kale leaves into a large bowl. Mix the leaves with the oil. Now sprinkle on the spices/seasonings and toss to combine.
  4. Spread out the kale onto the prepared baking sheet into a single layer, being sure not to overcrowd the kale.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12-15 minutes more until the kale begins to firm up. The kale will look shrunken, but this is normal.
  6. Cool the kale on the sheet for 3 minutes before digging in! This really makes all the difference! Enjoy immediately!
kale chips on baking sheet

Your whole family will love helping to make and then crunching on these delicious chips! Plus, they pack a huge amount of nutrition as well!

kids eating kale chips

For Infants:

When your infant is ready to start solids, you can give them kale around 7-9 months. Another benefit of kale is that it is low in oxalate acid, which is known to interfere with the absorption of calcium and iron. A great way to incorporate kale into your infant’s diet is to make your own pureed kale. For infants under 9 months, it is best to steam or cook the kale so that it is easier to digest.

Potato, Kale and Pee Puree (yields ~ 10 oz of baby food)

Ingredients:

  • 1 stem curly kale
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 ¼ cup water

Directions:

  1. Wash the vegetables and remove the stem of the kale and roughly chop the leaves.
  2. Shuck the peas (frozen is fine too).
  3. Peel and roughly chop the potato.
  4. Boil the water and add all the vegetables. Set heat to high and reduce to low when boiling.
  5. Cook until potatoes are tender.
  6. Puree in your food processor or blender (add more water if not blending all the way).

This puree is hearty and healthy!

Fun fact:

Kale was so popular in nineteenth century Scotland that kale (or “kail” as they called it)  was often used as a generic term for ‘dinner’ (And we can understand why they loved it so much!)

kale in heart shap

 

Written by: Dana Stretchberry

Sources:

http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/kale-superfood.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/kale-facts-nutrition-info_n_3671210.html

http://foodreference.about.com/od/Ingredients_Basics/a/What-Is-Kale.htm

http://www.veraveg.org/Veg%20History/Veg%20History%20Kale.html

http://healthybabybeans.com/archives/18

 

Recipe Adaptations:

http://ohsheglows.com/2014/03/12/6-tips-for-flawless-kale-chips-all-dressed-kale-chips-recipe/

http://www.farmtotablebabymama.com/potato-kale-pea-baby-food/

 

Images:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/kale-facts-nutrition-info_n_3671210.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

www.goodmotherdiet.com

www.insonnetskitchen.com

www.make-baby-stuff.com