Nutrition fun facts: Kale is a beloved super food, and for good reason; it packs more nutrients per calorie than any other cultivated food! It is loaded with vitamin K, which can help fortify bones, and protect against liver and prostate cancer. Kale is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6 and manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, and potassium, all over which contribute to heart health and overall wellness. Kale contains an antioxidant called as alpha-lipoic acid, which has shown to help diabetic patients by lowering glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Storage tips: Kale should be kept in a loose plastic bag in the fridge. If kale looks limp, cut stems so they are all flush and store stem down in a glass of water and allow to rehydrate. Kale purchased at the farmers market was likely picked with 24 hours of the market and will store a week, or upwards of 2 weeks in the fridge. Store bought kale often has a shorter shelf life.
Preparation tips: Kale can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or baked. Raw kale is best when massaged. To massage kale, remove the leafy part form the stem and cut or rip into small strips. Then rub the kale with your fingers until it darkens in color and becomes less rigid. Massaged kale is much more tender, sweet, and less bitter. Steaming kale makes for a quick side dish. I find it more appetizing to add chopped kale to week night veggie stir-fries and gain bowls. Stem and chop your kale into small strips, add to pan, allow to steam on top of the cooking vegetables for 1-2 minutes, then stir in and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Kale and other winter greens add nice color and lots of nutrition to quick week night meals.
Recipe: Winter Harvest Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bill Connors of SIU Student Dining