I can’t say enough about kale. Pound for pound, it’s one of the healthiest foods you can ever put in your mouth. A dark-green, cruciferous vegetable, with leaves that curl at the edges, it comes packing not only a ton of fiber but also over 600 percent of the vitamin A you need for a whole day (and that’s in a single cup!). You’ll also get 900 percent of the vitamin K you need, over 134 percent of the vitamin C, and healthy doses of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6. What more could you want in a veggie? I highly suggest you come around to Nino’s to pick up a bunch.
Kale is known to have a stronger flavor when compared to collard greens, and you’ll definitely notice that these greens shrink less during the cooking process. Of course, what you can expect depends largely on the variety you choose. We proudly carry California Kale, which is one of the best and freshest in the region, here at Nino’s.
Varieties of Kale at Nino’s:
Regular: This is the type most prevalent in stores that carry kale. You’ll most frequently see it in dark-green bunches, though you may also see purplish kale too. Its rather large leaves have a ruffled, curly look that I think of as frilly, and its long stalks are fibrous. When fresh, the stalks can be somewhat hard to chop. Though you can persevere with chopping the stalks, you can very easily just tear the leaves away from them. As for taste, this variety can be described as having a somewhat pungent flavor. Keep in mind that the younger the leaves, the less bitter they will taste.
Flowering: This is one type of kale that is almost too pretty to eat. I say almost because it is packed with nutrients, and therefore, absolutely should be consumed. It grows in beautiful rosettes that can have a pinkish/purplish pigment or lack pigmentation altogether. You can eat this type just like regular kale, though it is especially good in soups and salads.
Lacinato: Thomas Jefferson grew this Italian variety of kale in his garden. You’ll notice it’s dark, with a greenish/purplish coloring and leaves that have a crinkly appearance to them. As far as taste is concerned, this variety is often described as sweet with a hint of spiciness in its flavoring. Use Lacinato Kale in veggie kale roll ups with swiss chards and romaine lettuce and dip in a light dressing for an easy, nutritious snack.
Baby Kale: Baby kale is a favorite because it has tender leaves and a less bitter taste than regular, mature kale. It’s also easier to work with, as you don’t need to chop at the sometimes thick, hardy stalks you can find with other varieties. You get the amazing nutritional punch without all the work. This variety is great in soups and salads as well as sautéed and prepared as kale chips. We not only stock baby kale, but we also carry our Nino’s Pre-made Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes here at Nino’s, making it super easy for you to enjoy this delicious green vegetable for lunch or a side for dinner.
I think it’s great that kale is getting more notice these days. Just 2 to 3 years ago, we were selling only about 20-30 bunches per week. Now, we easily go through hundreds of bunches a week. Why? Well it’s not because it’s newly discovered or the latest trendy food. Instead, it’s because kale has been exposed as one of the healthiest vegetables around.