Being a fan of Top Chef since the first season aired in February 2006 has definitely expanded my knowledge on food and broadened my culinary skills & palate. So when Kale started to get recognition back in 2010, I was up to date on that particular trend in the making, which really took off by 2012. Yes, I knew about Kale Chips even before it popped up everywhere in the states (it was almost cliche) and became famous over the internet.

But what is Kale exacty? Known as the "Queen of Greens," Kale or borecole is a member of the cabbage family that comes in two forms. There is Kale, which has smooth leaves and then Curly Kale, which is the most common of the two and as the name suggests has crinkly leaves. It is a vegetable that has green or purple leaves sometimes tinged with blue that grow in a loose rosette at the top of the stem instead of forming a head like most cabbages do.

Kale is available in 3 different varieties:

  • Curly — ruffled leaves and deep green hue 
  • Ornamental — green, white, or purple leaves with a more subdued flavor than curly’s pungent one 
  • Dinosaur aka Tuscan kale — the one, I am most familiar with, has dark blue-green leaves with an “embossed texture”; its taste has been described as “slightly sweeter and more delicate . . . than curly kale.

Here are some reasons why you should consider adding Kale to your diet:

    • High in IRON. It has more iron than beef, essential for good health, such as cell growth, proper liver function, the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body and more.
    • ANTIOXIDANTS. It contains carotenoids and flavonoids that helps protect against cancers.
    • Good for your HEART. It lowers bad cholesterol levels.
    • Great for DIGESTION and DETOXIFICATION. It's low-calorie, high in nutrients, high in fiber, and zero fat content.
    • High in Vitamin K. It is good for the brain and blood, bones and more.
    • ANTI-INFLAMATORY. It's rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which help fight against arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.
    • High in Vitamin A. It's good for your eyes, skin, lungs and more.
    • High in Vitamin C. It's good for your joints, metabolism, immune system and hydration.
    • High in Calcium. It has way more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss and osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
    • Good for your LIVER. The fiber and sulfur in it are both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
      I remember Tuscan Kale being cooked together with chicken in one of my favorite episodes of Top Chef Season 3 by CJ and Trey on the frozen pasta dinners elimination challenge, it was the winning dish by the way. I also remember Rocco Dispirito dissecting their bag of frozen food, finding frozen kale in it and saying it was his favorite. In Top Chef Season 4, Nikki and Jen presented a very rustic dish with handmade tortellini and Cavolo Nero or Black Cabbage, which is another name for Tuscan Kale, for the movie night elimination challenge.

      Kale can be eaten raw, dehydrated, baked, sauteed, braised, juiced or added into smoothies, take your pick. Make Kale chips for a healthier snack alternative the whole family can enjoy or make a green smoothie which I highly recommend. Kale freezes well, it actually tastes better and more flavorful after being frozen and thawed out, so keep that in mind when you get some.

      Haven't had Kale or "Kina" as the local farmers call it, before? Hopefully now you'll consider trying it. Whether you cook, bake or juice it, this powerhouse of a superfood doesn't just satisfy the palate but also our body. Don't know where to get some in Manila? Check out my article: Where to buy Kale in Manila.


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      Article published on August 16, 2014

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