Kale has increased in popularity over the last few years with consumers and catering outlets, mainly due to its health and nutrition benefits and the growing market for super-foods.The fashionable crop is widely cultivated in the UK and may withstand variable climate.Meaning it is available all year round and what’s more making it easy to be self-sufficient and grow one’s own.With a subtle taste it may be used as a staple food in one’s diet both in meals and detox drinks.
The crop, cultivated for thousands of years and introduced into the UK by the Romans. It belongs to the Cruciferae family and is the genus Brassica. Alternate plants belonging to the latter include cabbage, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower; Brassica is the most commonly consumed vegetables in the UK.New research estimates over the last year 40% of the UK adult population has bought kale. Of 56% who buy the vegetable regularly each month – a 21% rise compared to 5 years ago.
Kale is generally grown in Britain, the majority consumed in the UK and produced by farmers in Lincolnshire.Food security is enhanced by sourcing food domestically in addition to receiving imports from various stable foreign regions.Amongst other reasons, 76% of shoppers, therefore, agree it is important to support British farmers and 60% say they aim to buy British food when possible – according to the government department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.These notions encourage consideration of self-sufficiency which is both economical and environmentally friendly. Kale is a hardy, cool season green, which grows best in the spring and autumn.Generally grown from June until March in Britain although it is most plentiful from October; it is able to tolerate cold spells. It may be treated as a cut-and-come-again crop.
The parts of the kale plant which are eaten are the dark green, curly leaves and may be boiled, steamed or fried. A vegetable which may act as side garnish, be used in salads, risottos, quiches and oven bakes as well as many other meals.Besides being eaten fresh, globally – considerable amounts of this crop are processed into coleslaws and pickles. Fermented Brassica is important constituents of Asia-Pacific diets.
Due to it providing so many nutrients, kale may play an important role as part of a healthy balanced diet. An 80g portion has 19k cals and 2.2g of fibre, making it almost fat-free. Rich in antioxidant which helps keeps healthy vision, it is also a significant source of vitamins A, B, C and K. All of which combined; attribute to maintaining skin, bones, muscles and normal blood clotting as well a supporting a healthy immune system. It is a useful source of the mineral calcium potentially for people of dairy-free diets such as vegans. Of those who purchase the plant in the UK 13% choose to drink it, kale has seemingly become a popular addition to smoothies.
How might kale be beneficial to one’s health? How else might kale be consumed?