Friday, April 3, 2009

healthy snacking part I…kale

In an effort to create healthy snacks from fresh vegetables that I am sure are free from additives and gluten products, I decided to try a series of making my own snacks from the vegetables that I find at my local markets as more and more vegetables come in season.
One of my first healthy efforts was kale…

The beautiful curly leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste.

Kale is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea), it is green in color, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.

The original wild cabbage is native to the Mediterranean area seaside areas with sunny climates and salty air. This accounts for the thick, succulent waxy leaves and stalks that make this plant to hardy. It was domesticated 2500 years ago and became a staple vegetable in Eastern Europe because the plant tolerated cold climates.

The most important growing areas lie in central and northern Europe and North America Kale grows more rarely in tropical areas as it prefers cooler climates. Kale is the most robust cabbage type – indeed the hardiness of kale is unmatched by any other vegetable. Kale will also tolerate nearly all soils provided that drainage is satisfactory.

Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. Kale is also very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as Coumadin are encouraged to avoid this food since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are often attempting to lower. This effectively raises the effective dose of the drug.

Kale, as with Broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties, expecially when cut in a chiffonade style or minced very fine.

Kale chips
(adapted from a recipe from Bon Appétit)

These light and crunchy kale chips that are a perfect “movie-night” snack.

ingredients

12 large Tuscan (smoothe leaf) Kale or curly leaf Kale, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half.
(I used locally grown organic curly Kale center ribs and stems removed.)

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.
(I used 1 tablespoon granulated garlic with parsley on half on my batch.)

directions

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Toss kale with oil in large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment or Silpat mats.

Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes for flat leaves and up to 33 minutes for wrinkled leaves.

Transfer leaves to rack to cool.

As soon as cool, transfer to an airtight container.

Eat, enjoy and repeat.

Sante...!
to your health...!

3 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

Kale is so trendy this year! Kale chips sound awesome!

A Brush with Color said...

I should try that. I'm embarrassed to say I have never eaten kale in my whole life. And here in the southeast, that's like sacrilegious. I like just about all vegetables, so I can't imagine I wouldn't like kale--I just never had it! It sounds really good for you. You'll inspire me here, Terrie!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

This one is a MUST try for me! I adore kale and have some lovely lacinato kale seedlings just beggin to be set out into the garden - if only our weather would stop swinging from 60's to high 20's! Kale is one of the few vegies my veg-hating husband will actually try to eat... and the chips sound soooo good!