Have you been trying to find a way to incorporate more vitamins and healthy fatty acids into your diet? Chances are if you’ve spoken with your doctor, mother, or even some of your friends about your diet concerns, they’ve suggested eating more leafy greens.
From the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts, kale is packed full of invaluable nutrients and omega 3 fatty acids.
High in vitamins A, C, and K, kale is becoming a popular choice for home gardens. According to whfoods.org, kale contains more calcium than milk, more iron than beef, and ten times the amount of vitamin C than spinach, thus earning it the title of superfood.
So what’s the big deal? Well, all of these nutrients can help keep your eyes and skin healthy, as well as counteract heart and cancer risks. You may even find that kale will assist you with lowering your cholesterol.
Many smoothie shops and organic restaurants are including this superfood on the menu and for many good reasons. Kale helps reduce inflammation, is low in calories, is chock full of antioxidants, and is an overall great low-carb solution.
Kale can be found in two blends, ornamental and dinosaur. Ornamental kale has essentially been bred to look like a pretty, colorful cabbage that can be harvested in the winter, but you probably won’t enjoy how it tastes. The dinosaur or “Lacinto” variety of kale features lovely blue-green colors and has a much more pleasant taste.
When it comes to reaping as many benefits as possible from this superfood, growing your own organic kale is the way to go. If you choose to grow it from a seed, you can treat it the same way you would a cabbage. The seeds can be started indoors or in the ground. Kale takes about 50-60 days to grow and mature, so some planning and patience are needed. If you’re growing kale of a larger variety, be sure to space it about three feet apart.
The cool thing about kale is that it’s a pretty hardy plant. It can withstand temperatures as low as 20°F, making it a great choice for those living in colder climates. As long as it received plenty of water and a decent amount of sunlight, kale will grow easily in your garden.
Kale will do well in rich soil, especially if you add your compost to it. As with lettuce, the inner leaves are excellent for raw eating in salads, while the outer leaves are best for adding to warm dishes or steaming.
Most folks find kale to be a tad bitter, which makes its flavor similar to collards. If you can plan well, harvesting it just after a frost is ideal, as that will sweeten the flavor.
With anything you plant in your home garden, you’ll avoid unnecessary pesticides and treatments by growing your own organic kale. Once your kale is fully grown and you’ve harvested it, be sure to experiment with how you eat it. To ensure you find your favorite way to eat it, try it in a fresh salad, a smoothie, and add it to a hot dish.