Though Kale is more popular in Europe than the United States, its reputation as a superfood has increased its consumption in the U.S. in recent years. Learn more about kale and enjoy this recipe for delicious kale soup.
Kale has been one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe ever since the Middle Ages. It is believed that different varieties of Kale like cabbage already existed in Greece around 400 BC. Kale wasn't really introduced in America until the 19th century when it is believed that Russian traders brought kale with them.
Due to the fact that kale is very easy to grow and provides important nutrients, cultivation of kale was encouraged in the U.K. during WWII to offset rationing effects. Since then kale has become a wildly popular element of the British diet.
Kale is widely regarded as a genuine super food. Kale is packed with beta carotene, seven times the amount found in cabbage. It is also one of the best vegetable sources of calcium as well as iron, magnesium and potassium. As if that wasn't enough, it is also rich in sulphur-containing protective phytochemicals, which inhibit certain types of cancer and protect arteries.
Culinary uses of kale
There are many ways to consume kale. In the regions of northwestern Germany, kale can be seen served together with sausage and schnapps, while in several regions of Holland, Denmark and Sweden kale is used as an ingredient to make stew. The Portuguese, on the other hand, use diced kale and combine it with olive oil, broth, sliced spicy sausage and pureed potatoes to make their caldo verde soup. This dish is also served in Brazil. Also, due to kale being a very good source of important nutrients, the Japanese are known to make kale juice (aojiru) which is as a dietary supplement.
An interesting bit of trivia that some may not realize is that kale is also used to add color to a garden, particularly in the wintertime. Ornamental kale as it is known is every bit as edible as regular kale. The only difference between the two lies in the brilliant coloring of the latter. Colors may vary between blue, white, pink, red or lavender.
Kale soup with potatoes and sausage
Enjoy this delicious recipe for kale soup. Some may prefer to mash the potatoes rather than leave them chunky.
- 4 large potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 1/2 pounds kale (rinsed and chopped)
- 1 pound kielbasa or chorizo sausage (sliced)
- Place potatoes, butter, water and broth in a large stock pot.
- Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
- Stir in seasonings, kale and sausage.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot with crusty bread.