Hail to the Kale: Recipes for a Holiday Table
Even as far north as we are here at the 45th parallel, kale is pretty near a year-round vegetable. But now in the colder months is the time that its strengths really shine. Is that because we have so few other choices for winter greens, because it offers welcome balance to an otherwise rich and starchy winter diet or because it can taste so much sweeter when it gets touched by cold nights? It's all three of those reasons, and more.
Red, green or black, curly, frilly or flat, kale is a powerful leafy green vegetable–and a good one to befriend in winter. It's a member of the cabbage family, of which one serving a day can help protect against certain cancers. Kale is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available, high in vitamins C, K and A as well as calcium and iron.
Kale is winter tolerant to a certain point. It can freeze in the field and survive to be harvested on days when it's not frozen. It also does well in hoophouses, and growers will plant in late summer or fall so that it achieves a good size before the days shorten and growth slows down. In a typical year, kale and other greens are available at farmers' markets and in CSA shares well into the new year. There's no reason it can't become a healthy part of the harvest table and winter holiday meals! Try these vibrant and delicious kale salad recipes from the Intentional Minimalist and see for yourself how good kale can be.
Kristin Celeste Shroeger is the recipe developer and photographer behind TheIntentionalMinimalist.com. The Intentional Minimalist encourages cooking in harmony with the seasons using sustainable whole foods and allergy-friendly ingredients. By eating seasonally, we reap the benefits of good health through nutrition.