Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hail kale!

I was introduced to kale, a spinach-like green leafy vegetable, a few months ago by a running friend. I ate tons of it and then I kinda forgot about it for a few weeks until a post from No Meat Athlete (NMA) dropped into my inbox. I shot off to get some kale from my local Food Lover's Market, which is one of the few places to stock kale regularly.

Kale is actually from the cabbage family, not spinach, although the leaves never form a head, like its cabbage cousins. And there are a bunch of varieties, some more curly than others (I scored two varieties yesterday).

According to Wiki:
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and unreasonably rich in calcium. 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 is also a good source of carotenoids.
My running friend is a juicing demon. He goes through bags and bags of carrots. Then, he takes the remaining pulp and tosses some of it into the food processor with some kale and a tomato, whizzes it and puts it on his sandwiches. To demonstrate he made me a sammie with a spread of avo and his kale mix. Very refreshing. I adopted this technique and added other ingredients like ginger and sunflower seeds.

So when I got the Eat More Kale post from NMA last week it reminded me to get some kale. I also dropped a comment on this post about how I eat it as most of the "10 Delicious Ways to Eat More Kale" are cooked dishes and I prefer this sweet-tasting leaf uncooked. I've made my mix as a salad for guests and they've thoroughly enjoyed it too.

Today's lunch: kale, carrot, tomato, fresh ginger, sunflower seeds with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar (white) and a pinch of salt and pepper
The NMA post directed me to an infographic, copied below. What is confusing is the per calorie claims. I went to Wiki to compare nutritional information for kale, beef, milk and spinach. Of interest, to get the same calorific intake from kale as 100g of beef I'd need to eat 0.9 kilograms of kale. That's a lot of greens! I haven't weighed how much kale I toss in my salad mix - possibly 100g or so.
  • Calories per 100g: Kale - 117 kJ (28 kcal); beef  1,047 kJ (250 kcal); milk 275kJ (66kcal); spinach  97 kJ (23 kcal).
  • Iron per 100g: beef 2.6mg and kale 0.9mg (spinach has 2.7mg per 100g)
  • Calcium per 100g: milk 120mg and kale 72mg (spinach has 99mg per 100g)
  • Vitamin C per 100g: kale 41mg and spinach 28mg

Raw or cooked, kale is a bonus find in the fresh produce section. It make take a bit of hunting to find a regular supply but it is well worth the effort.


Unknown said...

You have certainly pricked my interest in this vegetable, thanks for posting this, Lisa! I've never really given kale a thought before, as I thought spinach about covered that department, and kale is not so freely available; one tends to buy only what is available in the produce sections. Perhaps I'll try growing my own: does it grow easily? Am successfully growing spinach.

adventurelisa said...

Hi Kenton.

Thanks for your comment. I believe that kale is as easy to grow as spinach. I haven't spotted seeds yet from the usual seed brands in stores - let me know if you find them.