Kale Facts

Kale Facts
Kale is leafy vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It originates from Mediterranean region. Cultivation of kale started 6.000 years ago. There are around 50 varieties of kale that can be found around the world today. Kale tolerates frost and grows in regions with cool climate. It prefers fertile soil and areas that provide enough sun. Kale is mostly cultivated as a source of food, but it can be also cultivated in ornamental purposes. Decorative varieties of kale produce white, red, pink, violet, blue or lavender-colored leaves.
Interesting Kale Facts:
Kale produces erect stem that can grow close to the ground or reach the height of 6 to 7 feet, depending on the variety.
Kale develops large, curly or plain leaves arranged in the form of rosette. Leaves can be light or dark green, violet-green or violet-brown colored.
Kale produces yellow flowers arranged in the clusters on top of the flowering stem. Flowers attract insects, responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of kale is seedpod filled with numerous small, black seed.
Kale propagates via seed. Farmers usually plant kale two times per year: early in the spring and at the beginning of the autumn.
Leaves are edible part of the plant. Taste of leaves depends on the weather conditions. Warm weather leads to accumulation of bitter substances in the leaves of kale, while cold weather stimulates synthesis of sugar and results in tasteful natty-flavored leaves.
Kale is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins A, K, B9 and C and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids.
Kale can be used for the preparation of soups, stews, casseroles and various dishes made of meat. Raw leaves can be consumed in the form of salads, juices and smoothies. Kale can be also fried and turned into chips-like snack.
Kale is very popular and often consumed in Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Scotland. Despite high content of nutrients and pleasant taste of this leafy vegetable, kale is not very popular in the USA. An average person in America consumes only 2 to 3 cups of kale per year.
Ancient Romans and Greeks cultivated and consumed several varieties of kale.
Kale was an integral part of human diet before the introduction of cabbage (its closest relative), somewhere during the Middle Ages.
Kale was primary source of food in Britain during the WWII due to low planting requirements and ability of this plant to quickly develop under poor weather conditions.
Kale contains substances that can prevent development of certain types of cancer and retinal diseases.
Kale can decrease blood cholesterol level and absorption of fat from food. It also acts beneficially on the function of liver.
Kale can be cultivated as annual (lifespan: one year) or biennial (lifespan: 2 years) plant.

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