For other meanings, see Kale (disambiguation).
It has been suggested that Chomolia be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2013.
, Curly kale
Unknown, before the Middle Ages
Many, and some are known by other names.
Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.
The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. Pieris rapae is one of the most well known pests of the plant.
4 Culinary uses,
5 Nutritional Value,
6 Decorative uses,
8 See also,
10 External links,
The name borecole most likely originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmer's cabbage), whereas kale bears semblence to the Danish kål (a general term for various kinds of cabbage) and Scottish Gaelic càl. Some varieties can reach a height of six or seven feet; others are compact and symmetrical and of good quality for eating. Many, however, are coarse, possess an undesirable coloring, and are unappealing and indigestible. Most kale are either annuals or biennials, and are raised from seeds, which, in size, form, and color, resemble those of the cabbage. In Congo and in East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), the plant is referred to by the generic name of sukuma wiki, which literally translates as "stretch the week "; the term also includes collard greens.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. Today one may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.
During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.
Kai-lan, a separate cultivar of Brassica oleracea much used in Chinese cuisine, is somewhat similar to kale in appearance and is occasionally called "kale" in English.
Kales can be classified by leaf type:
Curly-leaved (Scots Kale),
Leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaved and plain-leaved kale),
Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato and dinosaur kale),
Because kale can grow well into winter, one variety of Rape Kale is called Hungry Gap, named after the period in winter in traditional agriculture when little could be harvested.
An extra tall variety is known as Jersey kale or cow cabbage.
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Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, red pepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressing. When combined with oils or lemon juice, kale's flavor is noticeably reduced. When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.
In the Netherlands, it is very frequently used in a traditional winter dish called stamppot boerenkool, which is a mix of kale and mashed potatoes, sometimes with fried bits of bacon added to it.
In Ireland, kale is mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional dish colcannon. It is popular on Halloween when it is sometimes served with sausages. Small coins are sometimes hidden inside as prizes.
In Italy, cavolo nero is an ingredient of the Tuscan soup ribollita.
A variety of kale, kai-lan, is a very popular vegetable in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where it is commonly stir-fried with beef.
A traditional Portuguese soup, caldo verde, combines pureed potatoes, diced kale, olive oil, broth, and, generally, sliced cooked spicy sausage. In Brazil, where it was introduced by the Portuguese, it is an indispensable side dish for the national stew feijoada.
In the eastern African Great Lakes region, it is an essential ingredient in making a stew for ugali, which is almost always eaten with kale. Kale is also eaten throughout southeastern Africa, where it is typically boiled with coconut milk and ground peanuts and is served with rice or boiled cornmeal. In Italy, kale (cavolo nero) is part of many dishes, such as "casseula" (pork stew), polenta (corn porridge) with kale, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and "pizzoccheri", buckwheat tagliatelle served with kale, melted fontina cheese and potatoes.
A whole culture around kale has developed in north-western Germany around the towns of Bremen, Oldenburg and Hannover. There, most social clubs of any kind will have a Grünkohlessen or Kohlfahrt ("kale tour") sometime between October and February, visiting a country inn to consume large quantities of kale stew, Pinkel sausage, Kassler, Mettwurst and Schnapps. These tours are often combined with a game of Boßeln. Most communities in the area have a yearly kale festival which includes naming a "kale king" (or queen).
Curly kale is used in Denmark and southwestern Sweden (Scania, Halland and Blekinge) to make (grøn-)langkål (Danish) or långkål (Swedish), an obligatory dish on the julbord in the region, and is commonly served together with the Christmas ham (Sweden). The kale is used to make a stew of minced boiled kale, stock, cream, pepper and salt that is simmered together slowly for a few hours. In Scotland, kale provided such a base for a traditional diet that the word in dialect Scots is synonymous with food. To be "off one's kail" is to feel too ill to eat. In Sweden, it is also commonly eaten as a soup, with a base of ham broth and the addition of onion and pork sausages.
In Montenegro collards, kale, locally known as rashtan, is a favorite vegetable. It is particularly popular in the winter, cooked with smoked mutton (kastradina) and potatoes.
In the Southern United States, kale is often served braised, either alone or mixed with other greens, such as collard, mustard, or turnip.
In Japan, kale juice (known as aojiru) is a popular dietary supplement.
Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
117 kJ (28 kcal)
- Dietary fiber
Vitamin A equiv.
681 μg (85%)
8173 μg (76%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin
Thiamine (vit. B1)
0.053 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)
0.07 mg (6%)
Niacin (vit. B3)
0.5 mg (3%)
0.138 mg (11%)
Folate (vit. B9)
13 μg (3%)
0.4 mg (0%)
41 mg (49%)
0.85 mg (6%)
817 μg (778%)
72 mg (7%)
0.9 mg (7%)
18 mg (5%)
0.416 mg (20%)
28 mg (4%)
228 mg (5%)
23 mg (2%)
0.24 mg (3%)
Link to USDA Database entry,
Percentages are roughly approximated,
using US recommendations for adults., Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.
Many varieties of kale and cabbage are grown mainly for their ornamental leaves, which are brilliant white, red, pink, lavender, blue or violet in the interior of the rosette. Ornamental kale is as edible as any other variety.
The Kailyard school of Scottish writers, which included J. M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan), consisted of authors who wrote about traditional rural Scottish life (kailyard = kale field). In Cuthbertson's book Autumn in Kyle and the charm of Cunninghame, he states that Kilmaurs in East Ayrshire, was famous for its kale which was an important foodstuff. A story is told in which a neighbouring village offered to pay a generous price for some kale seeds, an offer too good to turn down. The locals agreed; however a gentle roasting on a shovel over a coal fire ensured that the seeds never germinated.