What is it?
Kale is a leafy green of the brassica family (cousins include broccoli & cabbage). Its leaves grows from a central stem from which leaves are picked from the bottom up creating kale trees which look a little like confused palms.
Kale comes in many shapes and colours. We grow curly, cavolo nero, red Russian, and Sutherland varieties and buy others from time to time from our other growers. Each is unique, at one end of the spectrum you have cavolo nero with its beautiful long leaves with their deep green colour and wrinkled furrows and at the other end frizzy leafed curly kale. All are perfect in their own way!
Sutherland is a favourite of mine due to it’s Scottish heritage and soft leaves which resemble spinach. Sutherland kale is fairly uncommon and we think we are the only folk growing it commercially in Scotland. In the past it was very popular with Crofters in Sutherland, hence the name. My unsubstantiated claim behind the name is that kale chips were an essential snack for a host to offer at ceilidh..
Kale has made a comeback in recent years due to rediscovery of its lovely taste, it’s adaptability and most importantly the new found hipster status as a super food packed with vitamins and minerals!
What to do with it?
If you want to keep it straightforward then use kale much as you would other leafy greens like cabbage. Steam it with butter or fry it. Personally I love it for breakfast fried up in our cast iron pan with onions and then served with egg on toast.
If you want to be more creative then dry it into crisps, blitz it into pesto or massage it into a raw salad or kale-slaw. You can use it instead is spinach in a saag paneer curry, on a pizza or in a quiche.
Kale is great!