If you are interested in healthy eating, then it is inevitable to include vegetables in your diet, primarily leafy green vegetables. Green vegetables provide a good source of vitamins and antioxidants. In addition to being very easy to prepare and serve as a tasty side dish or salad, leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamins K, A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, folic acid, amino acids and antioxidants. Perhaps the least popular, but extremely healthy leafy vegetable is kale.
Kale contains ingredients that have anticancer properties. Studies have shown that regular consumption of kale will not only help you reduce the risk of cancer, but also help you prevent several types of it. Some studies have shown that consumption of kale may help in treating bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. Kale contains a high concentration of two types of antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids. The most important carotenoids are lutein and beta carotene, which have antioxidant properties and reduce the risk of developing cataracts, atherosclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As for the flavonoids, kale contains upon 45 of them including the most important ones: kaempferol and quercetin that are also significant protective factors. Glucosinolates in kale also play an important role, since they are known to have a preventive effect against formation of cancer. After eating kale, glucosinolates in the body are converted into compounds that have anti-cancer properties.
Choose heads with smaller leaves because they are softer and less bitter. Before preparing your favorite dishes with kale you should choose a good quality head of this healthy vegetable. You should buy bigger, dark green heads with strong central leaves. If you want to freeze it, steam it shortly, allow to cool and put it in the freezer. Besides stews and soups, kale can be used as a healthy snack or salad.
Winter is the peak season for the preparation of various dishes with kale. The most common are stews which apart from keeping us warm, also keep us from cold. But if you combine kale with risotto, shrimp rolls, quinoa winter salad or casseroles you might in that case serve kale more often on your table.
How to pick the best kale head?
You can eat kale raw or briefly cooked by steaming. This way the leaves will preserve vitamins but also lose the bitter taste. Before preparing your favorite dish, you should pick a good quality head. Go for dark green heads with a solid central leaves. Choose heads with smaller leaves which are softer and less bitter. If there is any left over, you should put it in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for several days, but only if necessary, because after 2-3 days it starts to lose moisture and can become bitter.
How to properly freeze kale?
If you want to freeze it, steam it shortly, allow to cool and put in the freezer. It is very important to wash the kale thoroughly before cooking and in order to keep its nice color don’t steam it for too long. So, frying should take about 5 minutes, microwaving about 7 minutes, blanching and steaming 10 minutes and stewing from 15 minutes to half an hour.
Stews, snacks and salads
In addition to delicious stews and healthy pastas, you can also prepare fast and easy kale snacks. Previously dipped in beer batter, fried kale leaves can be used independently, with slices of lemon or as a side dish, and baked kale leaves with Parmesan cheese can serve as delicious snacks. It is often served with fish, in a similar way as Swiss chard with garlic, oil and lemon juice. You can serve it with any type of meat or spicy sausage, mixed with boiled potatoes, garlic, chopped parsley and olive oil. If you do not have time or ideas, prepare a quick lunch with kale. Fried diced bacon with onions and braised kale mixed with your favorite pasta and serve with a little grated Parmesan cheese.
The perfect kale smoothie
Kale is available all year round. In summer kale can have a bitter due to less rainfall. It gives a distinct taste and color to nearly every meal, but it can also be prepared as a beverage. This way it can very easily be consumed daily. Below we bring you an easy recipe for a kale smoothie:
• 3 kale leaves
• Half a cup of cold water
• Juice of one lemon
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and drink immediately after preparation.