Although kale can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available. Kale is one of the hardiest greens around --and it’s so nourishing in soup (with miso and tofu) or sautéed with onions and garlic. While kale can be a tad bitter on its own, a splash of balsamic vinegar or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a bunch of chopped collard greens will sweeten it up.

Kale (or “headless cabbage”) is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health promoting, sulfur-containing phytochemicals. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves.

Nutritionally kale’s got a ton of calcium, vitamins C and A, fiber along with potassium, iron, indoles (cancer-fighting substances), beta-carotenes, and other antioxidants.

 

Kale, like other leafy greens can be stored in cellophane bags in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also cook the greens, and store them in the freezer in sealed cellophane bags. They'll keep for months, so you can use them whenever you want.

Preferable to plastic bags (which are petroleum products), cellophane is a natural polymer made from cellulose, a component of trees and plants. These bags, which are better for the environment, and us, are available at health food stores and are making their way to mainstream grocery stores, too.

 

Here’s something fun and really tasty:

 

Kale Crunch:

Ingredients:

A little olive oil
A big bunch of fresh kale, stemmed and broken apart (think chips!)
2 to 3 tablespoons grated parmesan (optional)
Salt + Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly cover the kale with the oil and salt and pepper (like tossing a big salad by hand).  Spread it out as much as possible on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, mixing it up once or twice during that time. Sprinkle with parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until it's as crisp as you like it. (The kale will continue to shrink and crispen the longer it bakes. If you watch it closely and stir it enough, you can get it quite crisp without burning it.) Remove from the oven, and let the kale cool on the tray.

Get ready for a healthy slice of Heaven!