Kale is sometimes used as an ornamental, but people mainly grow it for its edible leaves. The vegetable is sometimes referred to as leaf cabbage. They are also considered to be closer to wild cabbage than other cultivated types of cabbage. Kale can have either purple or green leaves and they don’t form a head like cabbage. The plant has a high tolerance for extreme weather and has its peak during the winter. Kale’s taste becomes sweeter after it survives the frost.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Brassicales
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Genus: Brassica
- Family: B. oleracea
- Trinomial name: Brassica oleracea var. viridis
- Kale was first mentioned in America in 1669, although it is believed that the vegetable was used before that due to its popularity in Europe.
- Some types of curly-leaved Kale were used in Ancient Greece four centuries BC. The Romans called them Sabellian Kale.
- People from Ireland mix kale with mashed potatoes to prepare a traditional dish named colcannon. It is often used on Halloween when it’s usually served with sausages.
Kale Buying Guide
When buying Kale, look for those with dark clusters, the darker the leaves, the more vitamins and nutrients it has. Kale should consist of small to medium leaves.
When doing your check, make sure that the leaves are firm. If possible, find Kale that has been refrigerated or freshly harvested.
Avoid buying Kale with yellow leaves or those that are wilted. Also, avoid vegetables that have holes in them as this is a sign of a nutrient deficiency or from a late-stage insect problem.
Kale Production & Farming in Texas
Kale endured a smaller commercial crop in the United States but the popularity of the vegetable itself is rising. The production of this “superfood” has increased over the years and why shouldn’t it? The plant has many health benefits and is highly nutritious. In the whole of the United States, the production of Kale has grown by a whopping 60% from 2007 to 2012. The first spot for the highest production of Kale in the United States takes California. Texas is fourth on the spot narrowly beaten by New Jersey.
If possible, you should always go for organic Kale as it is one of the most contaminated vegetables with pesticide residues. It was reported that 92% of Kale tested had more than one pesticide residue after being washed and cleaned.
Kale’s roots go back to 2000 years BC when it was cultivated in Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean. The Sabellian Kale which was referred to by Ancient Romans is considered to be the ancestor of modern Kale. Fall and winter are the best seasons to grow Kale in Texas. Besides the cool weather that the plant requires, moist soil is also the best option. Fertilize along the rows every six to eight weeks. You can place mulch around the Kale if you’re having problems with the dirt rotting your Kale leaves. Start cutting the leaves off as they reach 8 to 10 inches.
You will most commonly find Kale sold in small plastic bags. They’re shipped to the stores in crates, bushel baskets, and cartons.
Kale is a very versatile vegetable and can be eaten in many different ways. You can throw it in the salad as it works great with many other vegetables.
Kale is also a great substitute for chips. The texture and the flavor both work great and are very delicious when dipped in different sauces.
You can also either throw the vegetable in the soup or mix it in a green smoothie.
The first step to storing Kale is to wash it as soon as you’ve arrived with it from the store. Chop it first and then wash it. It’s a lot easier to wash the leaves when they’re chopped. Wrap the chopped leaves in a paper towel. Put it in a plastic bag before placing it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic will give you a different perspective on this delicious vegetable. Pull the kale leaves and chop them if you haven’t already. Rinse the leaves but don’t dry them. Use a large saute pan to heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant for about one minute. Add the kale one batch at a time while stirring at the same time. Add salt & pepper and cook covered for about five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, use lemon juice, and serve.
Kale has numerous health benefits just like most vegetables. The vegetable can help lower cholesterol and has plenty of anti-cancer properties.
Kale is also a great source of:
- Vitamins A, C & K
When Are Kale in Season in Texas?
To find out when Kale are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.