Winter does a wonderful thing to kale: the frosty temperatures make the curly or crinkly leaves sweeter and more tender than they are in warmer months. Just as other vegetables are starting to look a little worse for wear, bright bunches of kale can add a locally grown, fresh lift to winter meals.
1 cup chopped raw kale contains:
80 mg vitamin C
10,302 IU vitamin A
547 mcg vitamin K
19 mcg folate
1 mg iron
299 mg potassium
Pick of the Bunch
Kale choices continue to grow in supermarkets and on farm stands. Most varieties are interchangeable in recipes, though some are more adaptable to certain uses.
VARIETY: Lacinato, Tuscan, black, or dinosaur kale; also called cavolo nero
APPEARANCE: This heirloom variety has long, wrinkled leaves with smooth edges and a blue-green color.
BEST USES: Wraps, casseroles, chunky soups, and stews.
VARIETY: Scotch or curly kale
APPEARANCE: The most common kale variety can be red or green with thick, ruffled-edge leaves.
BEST USES: Dishes with longer cooking times, stir-fries, and recipes requiring a hearty, earthy flavor.
VARIETY: Siberian, Russian, or flat leaf kale
APPEARANCE: The frilly leaves of this cold-hardy variety look a lot like collard greens and are thinner and more tender than other varieties.
BEST USES: Delicious in salads; pair with winter squash and root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, and beets.