General Information: Kale was one of Europe’s primary green vegetables until the Middle Ages. Today, it is not as popular as before but there seems to be a resurgence due to kale’s significant health benefits. There are quite a few different varieties of kale, but only the curly leaf variety (both green and purple) are available in the Swiss markets. The harvest in Switzerland is small and lasts only for a couple of months. So unlike many Northern European and North American markets, kale is much seasonal in nature and best after the first frost has appeared. Many people around Switzerland claim kale is mostly grown for animal feed, but I have yet to find a farmer who thinks this way.

Season: From the end of October until the end of December, although stored kale can be found at the market through February depending on the weather. Kale tastes significantly milder if it has been exposed to a frost…it is also much easier to digest.

Purchasing Tips: Look for strong stems and deep color in the leaves. Older kale will go limp and show signs of yellowing around the leaf edges.

Storage: Refrigerate up to 4 days wrapped in plastic. I like to separate the leaves from the stem and store them separately.

Cooking Tips: Extended cooking tends to increase bitterness and destroy some of the nutritional value. Consider slicing the leaves and stems thin, and either steaming the kale or quickly stir-frying in a little water or oil.

Nutritional Info: Kale is high in vitamins C & K, and an excellent source of calcium and caratenoids. Like its cousin broccoli, kale also contains a sulphur chemical compound which has significant anti-cancer properties.

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