In Mt Rainier, MD, where I have lived for the past 6 years many of my neighbors have gardens in their front yards. This morning while I was out walking I was impressed by the bumper crop of kale that many neighbors have flourishing in their yards. What a great  vegetable to have on hand; it’s packed with fiber and calcium and often ranks within the top ten of the most nutritious vegetables.

Photo Credit: Lisa Missenda

Photo Credit: Lisa Missenda

Kale is a member of the Brassica family (the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower). It is a rather hearty plant and can withstand frost and even snow. You can find it year round – but in the DC area, sometimes I find that the winter Kale taste best.

When I was a kid we never ate kale. I don’t know if I would have liked its strong taste. As an adult, I can’t get enough of it. Most of my neighbors are growing “dinosaur” kale, also known as lacinato kale. It’s a sweeter and milder version with narrow dark green leaves.

Kale is a fantastic source of vitamin C and B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, or pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride). It also contains manganese, calcium and phosphorous. In just one cup of kale — look at the vitamins you’ll get:

Vitamins

Amounts Per Serving

amount

%Daily Value

Vitamin A

17709 IU

354%

Vitamin C

53.3mg

89%

Vitamin D

~

~

Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)

1.1mg

6%

Vitamin K

~

~

Thiamin

0.1mg

5%

Riboflavin

0.1mg

5%

Niacin

0.6mg

3%

Vitamin B6

0.2mg

9%

Folate

16.9mcg

4%

Vitamin B12

0.0mcg

0%

Pantothenic Acid

0.1mg

1%

Choline

.5 mg

Betaine

.4 mg

Minerals

Calcium

93.6mg

9%

Iron

1.2mg

6%

Magnesium

23.4mg

6%

Phosphorus

36.4mg

4%

Potassium

296mg

8%

Sodium

337mg

14%

Zinc

0.3mg

2%

Copper

0.2mg

10%

Manganese

0.5mg

27%

Selenium

1.2mcg

2%

Fluoride

~

data from Self Nutrition Data website.

Here are a few ways of making Kale more appetizing for the inexperienced tongue…

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