NORMAN — Q: I am hearing more and more about kale lately and have yet to join this craze. What can you tell me about kale?
A: Kale has indeed been gaining popularity in the past few years.
That is because it has proven itself very worthy of the title “superfood.”
Kale is a dark, leafy vegetable that is deep green in color but also can be found with rich purple or red leaves.
It comes from the cruciferous family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, just to name a few.
If these are not personal vegetables of choice, do keep in mind that kale has a personality and flavor all its own and has many uses in the kitchen.
Kale is a crop that survives well in cooler weather.
The sweetness and flavor can intensify after a frost.
The leaves are more firm than lettuce and spinach, so it does not wilt as easily or quickly after a salad dressing is added.
When baked, this firmer leaf will take on the crispness of a chip, making it a healthful alternative snack that is both crunchy and flavorful.
It is a great addition to a salad, casserole, omelet, soup, stir fry or smoothie. It can be cooked and prepared by itself, just like spinach and collard greens.
Here are some reasons why kale lives up to its superstar status: It is an excellent source of immune-boosting, infection-fighting antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
It may play a role in cancer prevention but also benefits the heart by improving blood cholesterol levels and aids the digestive system with its good source of fiber.
The calcium and vitamin K that kale offers are necessary for many functions, including bone health.
These are just a few beneficial nutrients, but there are numerous others to name, such as iron, manganese and phosphorus — many great reasons to give kale a try.