Kale: a leafy green or purple plant from the cabbage family that is chock full of vitamins that include beta carotene, iron, vitamin C and calcium. Not just for eating, kale produces a colorful and beautifully shaped plant that will enhance many areas of your home and garden.
In the garden
The many varieties of kale can be planted in the garden either to harvest or used as an ornamental plant.
Ornamental greenery will add color, texture and varying heights to your garden. Ornamental kale, often referred to as a flowering cabbage, produces colorful leaves in brilliant shades of red, lavender, pink, blue and white. When planted in the ground, they provide a lovely low lying plant that can be placed in between other plants or used as a ground cover. These beautiful plants are also edible; just be sure to wash off any pesticides or harmful chemicals before you prepare them for a meal.
Kale is a hardy plant that can be grown throughout the year and many varieties do especially well during the winter months. It can be planted directly into the ground or in convenient pots. Group a collection of potted plants around the entryway to your home or to add color to the deck during the winter months. These potted plants make delicious and healthy kale readily available for meals, to use as a garnish or for table decorations. Just step outside your back door and pluck a few leaves!
In the kitchen
As we mentioned, kale is a wonderful source of important vitamins such as iron and vitamins A&K and in some cultures is a very popular dietary supplement. There are many different ways to use kale in your kitchen.
• Add kale to salad mixtures for additional nutrition and to add texture and color.
• Kale can be cooked and used in stews and soups.
• In southern states Kale is often braised or fried along with other greens such as collards and turnips to create a healthy side dish.
• Add kale to other Asian ingredients and vegetables for a delicious stir fry.
• Sneak a little bit of healthy food into macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes by adding diced kale to these dishes. The kids will never know they are eating something that is good for them.
There are several varieties of “winter kale” that will survive a winter frost and actually tastes sweeter after a thaw.
Combine the nutritional value of kale with the beautifully shaped leaves and variety of available colors and it is possible to have healthy food and colorful plants in your home and at your fingertips throughout the year.