What is it? Kale.

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Kale is a food whose time has come.  This ancient cabbage relative has been a food staple for centuries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.   One of the most nutritionally dense foods in existence, kale (Brassica oleracea) has been the health food poster child for years here in America.  But I want you to get to know kale’s delicious culinary tradition.  Did you know that. . . .

1.  In Germany, tourists go on Grünkohlfahrt, a time to tour inns and eat huge quantities of kale.

2. Kale juice is popular in Japan.

3. You can give your kale a massage.  Really.  Massaging kale breaks down some of the cells, exposing the interior juices to oxygen.  This causes a cascade of reactions yielding sweeter, complex flavors.  look here

4. Kale tastes best after the kale plants in your garden have been through a light frost.

5. Flowering kale is a common fall or winter garden ornamental.  The pretty “flowers” aren’t flowers.  They are just vibrantly hued kale leaves.

I’ve posted a recipe for Kale Sausage Hash on this blog.

Here’s my super simple kale recipe for today.

Kale Chips

Kale – any variety

olive oil

salt

Wash and dry the kale.  If there are large stems, remove them.  Cut or tear the kale leaves into pieces about 2 inches on a side.  Toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and arrange in a layer on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Stir the kale around then return to oven for another 10 minutes or so.  You want the kale chips to emerge crisp but not burned.  Allow to cool then enjoy as an appetizer.

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