Looking to eat the next great super food? Reach for kale. High in beta carotene, calcium and vitamins K and C, kale helps lower cholesterol and decreases absorption of fat. Just what the doctor ordered for many.

With its curly, ruffled leaves and slightly tart, bitter flavour, kale is part of the cabbage family, along with broccoli and cauliflower. Pay close attention next time you're eating it and you'll notice its mild, cabbage flavour.

Kale is native to the Mediterranean's arid and sea-facing regions and its waxy leaves and woody stalks make it a hardy vegetable. You'll often see it growing in gardens well into the fall or even winter, long after other vegetables have succumbed to the cold.

There are many different kinds of kale, but these two kinds are the ones most often available:

Curly kale The most common kind, it has a sweeter flavour than other types and vibrant green leaves.

Dinosaur kale Also known as Tuscan kale, this kind is identifiable by its dark, narrow leaves and bumpy, wrinkled texture.

When buying kale, select bunches with crisp, fresh leaves and moist, strong stems.

Store kale in the fridge up to 5 days, preferably wrapped tightly in a plastic bag and tucked into your vegetable crisper. You may notice its bitterness increases over time.

When cooking with kale, most recipes require you to 'stem' the kale. You can do this by laying the leaf flat on your cutting board and running your knife down each side of the stem (carefully!) and gently cutting or tugging the stem out.

Cooking kale will help mellow its bitter flavour. Blanch it first to quicken its cooking time. Prolonged cooking will bring out its sulfurous aroma, so keep this in mind and reduce its cooking time by shredding or cutting the leaves first. You can do this quickly by rolling them up like a newspaper and slicing width-wise.

And if the picky eaters in your family turn their nose up at kale, try making a batch of these Kale Chips. They are a crunchy, healthy alternative to potato chips - perfect for movie night.

For more delicious way to add this super food to your diet, try these tested-till -perfect recipes.

Kale and Chickpea Soup
Lemon Kale with Chickpeas
Bean and Grain Salad
Kale Chips

Tags: summer salads


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