K Is for Kale and Kohlrabi

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Category : June, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Curly Kale PlantMy garden had an abundance of kale that needed harvesting this week, so those dark leafy greens became the centerpiece of  this menu. If you haven’t tried kale, you’re in for a treat. It’s nothing short of amazing, both in flavor and nutrition. If you’ve tried it and didn’t like it, stay with me for a few minutes. You might change your mind.

You’ve probably seen ornamental kale in landscaped areas around local businesses. It can be purple, pink, dark green and pale yellow all in the same plant. It looks attractive and colorful late into the winter when the more tender plants have wilted or stopped blooming, so it’s popular in local decorative plantings.

In the garden, culinary kales aren’t as multi-colored, but the leaves range from light green to dark green to a deep dark purple (sometimes called “black kale”, a variety imported from Tuscany). Some varieties have flat, deeply lobed leaves while others have beautifully crinkled leaves, called “curly.” The flavors of the different types vary a lot, and imported kale can be quite bitter, so if you’ve tried kale and didn’t like it, I recommend talking to a vendor at your local Farmers Market to find a sweeter local variety.

Kale is a nutritional super vegetable, like its relatives in the Brassica family–cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. For example, a  cup of kale contains a two week supply of daily vitamin K requirements, which supports healthy blood coagulation and bone formation. Kale also has a two-day supply of vitamin A, and nearly all the vitamin C you need for a day.

I also found another K vegetable, some crisp kohlrabi, at Small’s Gardens farm store (Ferndale). One author wrote that kohlrabi looks like Sputnik, an apt description. Kohlrabi, related to cabbage, is also a nutritional powerhouse, with lots of thiamine, folate, and magnesium and more than a day’s full supply of vitamin C.

One caveat about this week’s “menu”. The two recipes linked below don’t work too well together in a single meal unless you have a double oven, because both require baking time. However, kohlrabi is delicious raw. You could serve the Kale Casserole with a raw kohlrabi salad and get the benefits of both.

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