Featured article by Jessica Pantermuehl, Nutritional Counselor and founder of Beautifully Balanced Nutrition. Read more about Jessica, here.
Maybe you’ve tried one variety of Kale, and you weren’t too jazzed about it. Maybe you decided it wasn’t the leafy green for you and have since continued to live a stark and kale-less existence. Well, if we didn’t convince you with “5 Easy Ways to Love Kale,” we’re giving it another try—and for good reason!
Did you know that there are actually several varieties of kale to experiment with? And while each offers a slightly different nutritional profile (not necessarily better or worse, just different), their commonality still lies in the cancer-fighting, cholesterol-lowering, fiber-providing, anti-oxidant-boosting properties that make kale, kale.
What may surprise you, however, is that each type of kale has its own unique flavor. Here are some of the most popular varieties to try, so that you find the one you love. Or better yet, incorporate them all on a rotating basis to get the maximum benefit.
1. Curly Kale
This is the kind you’ve probably seen most. You can find it in nearly any grocery store and at your local farmer’s market. It has a lively pungent flavor and is the best kind to use for making kale chips. TIP: Try chopping it into your salads or steaming it with a little olive oil and garlic salt.
2. Lacinato Kale
Also called Dinosaur Kale, this variety is the second most common, distinguishable by its dark, long, narrow leaves. It is described as slightly sweeter and more delicate than curly kale. A traditional ingredient of minestrone, lacinato kale’s long history with Italian cuisine has also birthed the aliases Tuscan Cabbage, Italian Kale and Black Tuscan Palm. TIP: You can also prepare by simply steaming and flavoring, or chopping and adding raw into salads.
3. Ornamental Kale
Only recently did we begin to credit Ornamental Kale for more than her good looks. With either vibrant white, lavender, red, blue, or violet interior leaves, this group of kale was used mainly as a decorative garden plant until the early 1980s, when we started growing and selling it as an edible. TIP: Its mellow flavor and tender texture is great for coleslaws or salad mixes. Otherwise, cook it up and add it to soups and stews.
So before you pass up this nutritional powerhouse, give yourself the opportunity to experiment with the different textures, colors and flavors the world of kale has to offer. You just might surprise yourself and become the next diehard kale enthusiast.
To your healthy balance!
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