Red Ursa Kale

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Red Ursa Kale is a hybrid of the two most well-known varieties of kale in the United States: Siberian and Red Russian Kale. Thus, its leaves are wide, fluffy, and ruffled, similar to Siberian Kale. It also has a strong, dusky-green color, with magenta veins and stalks, similar to the Red Russian. They are best to harvest and consume while they’re young, which is when they’re less than six inches long. And although kale started since the Middle Ages, this variety is a relatively new member of the family. In fact, it was just in 1997 that the seedsman Frank Morton was awarded and credited for this new strain. That same time, this variety was listed as one of the 5 Best New Vegetable Introductions in the U.S. National Gardening Trials.

Classification Information:
Kingdom: 
Plantae
Order: Capparales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica Napus
Species: Pabularis or Pabularia
Binomial Name: Brassica Napus ssp. Pabularis or Pabularia

Red Ursa Kale Trivia

  • The striking purple stems of Red Ursa Kale are in fact, sweet.
  • Red Ursa Kale changes its colors. When they’re young, they have a green leaf with a purple stem that turns deeper when kissed by frost. As it matures, its color changes to garnet-mahogany, with stems that are pale gray with a tinge of brown.
  • Consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables, such as Red Ursa Kale, may cause hypothyroidism in people with iodine deficiency.

Red Ursa Kale Buying Guide

  • If you’re planning to eat raw Red Ursa Kales, buy the younger ones. Look for leaves that are less than six inches long.
  • Otherwise, if you’re planning to cook these, buy the mature ones. They are cheaper too! Look for leaves that are more than six inches long.
  • Avoid brown and slimy Red Ursa Kales. This is an indication that the product is not in its best quality and it has been dried out.
  • If possible, buy organic kales during its season. Organic kales might not be as perfectly shaped as the conventional or GMO ones, but they’re sweeter and more nutritious. Not to mention that they’re kinder to the planet too.
  • As always, Red Ursa Kales from farmers’ markets are better than the ones in stores. Here, the products are usually organic and you might be able to taste them before you buy them.

Red Ursa Kale Production & Farming in Texas

Red Ursa Kale is one of the standard fall and winter garden crops. It can be grown anywhere in the United States, even in Alaska. They are usually planted between the early spring and late summer, or at least six to eight weeks prior to the first frost, for fall and winter harvests. They usually take 65 days to mature and the plant can grow from 24-30 inches tall. These kales also grow best in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shades. Those that receive less than 6 hours of sun each day will not be as leafy as those that get enough sun. Once established, they are extremely cold hardy to at least 10ºF and some growers even say up to -20ºF. But, with these negative temperatures though, kale may require a good snow cover as the wind can also be a factor here.

From florets, to flowers, to leaves, these kales stay tender and sweet all throughout. Nonetheless, although these kales are flavorful at any stage of growth, they tend to increase their sweetness after frost. They also grow back better when they’re harvested repeatedly. Pick the outside leaves and the plant will continue to grow from inside out.

Pesticides:

Conventional or organically grown, fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet. However, many of these contain potentially harmful pesticides, even after thorough washing, peeling, or scrubbing. Thus, what we can only do is to be aware of which items are the most or least contaminated.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an American group that focuses on the advocacy of agricultural subsidies, pollutants, and toxic chemicals. They have created the Dirty Dozen List, which is being updated each year to rank fruits and vegetables that contain the highest pesticide contamination based on the samples tested by the USDA and FDA. 

Based on the 2020 Dirty Dozen List, Kale ranks third. Although it has gained its popularity as a superfood, the level and types of pesticide residues on it have significantly expanded. The predominant pesticide detected was DCPA, a possible human carcinogen that is sold under the brand name Dacthal. The European Union banned this pesticide in 2009. Thus, it is better to buy organic kales to reduce your pesticide consumption.

Geography:

Red Ursula Kale thrives better in cold weather but it can be grown in any state. California is the current leading grower of kales, followed by Georgia and New Jersey, narrowly beating Texas. 

Packaging:

Retail Red Ursa kale usually comes in loose plastic bags. They are packaged by the bunch or bundle but they’re priced by the weight. But, if you’re planning to buy on wholesale, go to your nearest local producer, and you can get these kales in bushels, cartons, and even crates.

Eating Red Ursa Kales

Whether raw or cooked, Red Ursa Kales are tender and tasty. As mentioned above, younger kales are best to consume raw while matured ones are best to be cooked. Certainly, you can make kale salads out of it, or even kale chips!

Storage:

Properly stored, kales can keep its freshness for up to 2 weeks. As soon as you get home from the farmers market or grocery store, remove any damaged pieces and wash your kale right away. If you’re planning to eat it chopped, cut it first before washing. Afterward, transfer the kales onto a salad spinner and spin out to dry. Then, keep them in an airtight container or zip lock bags. If you’re using the latter, it’ll help if you squeeze them to remove the air out. Place some paper towels in between the layers so that the extra moisture will be absorbed. Keep them in the refrigerator, where they’ll last for 2 weeks, or you can freeze it if you want to prolong their shelf life for up to 6 weeks. Change the paper towels every now and then for fresher kales!

Cooking:

There are a few ways to cook Red Ursa kales. But perhaps, the best one would be to braise the leaves in a small amount of water until it slightly wilts down but still bright green. It’s tender and mild-tasting when cooked this way – even the stems! Another way to cook it is to steam, bake, or sauté. For as long as the leaves are softened slightly, it’ll make a great addition to soups, especially the ones with potatoes and beans.

Nutrition:

Raw kale is composed of 84% water, 9% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 1% fat. They contain high amounts of beta-carotene more than any other green vegetable. Not to mention that it’s also high in calcium and vitamin C too!

  • Carbohydrates: Kale is naturally low in calories and carbohydrates, which comes mostly from the fiber. It is also low in glycemic load.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Kale is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A. It’s also a good plant-based source of calcium. Therefore, kale really favors vegetarian and vegan meals. 

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Kale promotes weight loss because of its high water and low sugar content. Thus, it is very low in calories and it’ll help you feel more satisfied and full after eating. 
  • Kale belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables, along with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and others. Studies prove that consuming these kinds of vegetables offers the best cardiovascular health benefits. In addition, it also helps in reducing the risk of cancer. 
  • The high levels of vitamin K also promote better bone health, especially for postmenopausal women. Thus, it can prevent osteoporosis, while improving the absorption of calcium in our body.
  • The high levels of vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. It helps in boosting immunity and repairing cells, which retards the human aging process. 
  • The high levels of vitamin A promotes healthy vision. It also helps in preventing cancer too.

When Are Red Ursa Kale in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • November
  • December

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. 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. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Red Ursa Kale in Texas Directly from the Producer

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Oliver’s Gardens