Kale has it origins in ancient Greece and Rome. Kale is the ancient member of the cabbage family. Kale was widely consumed in ancient Greece and was and still is used for medicinal purposes. To the Greeks kale has always been considered a super food and it grows wild in the countryside alongside other adored wild greens. Although they look very different, cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant
In ancient Greece, Disocorides, ancient Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist informs us that kale “that is sown or set is good for the bowels. It is eaten slightly boiled, for when thoroughly boiled it is therapeutic for the intestines…With the meal of fenugreek and vinegar it helps those with gout in their feet and joints, and applied it is good for foul or old ulcers… “
“The leaves pounded into small pieces and applied with salt they break carbuncles [infected boils] [malignant skin tumours] all around. They stop hair from falling out of the head…. Chewed and the juice swallowed down they restore the loss of the voice.”.
It is an extremely nutritious food especially for vegetarians and a great substitute to beef. It is a good source of iron, protein, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Medicinally kale is warming and soothing to the stomach. Kale is also rich in chlorophyll, and calcium, both of which help deliver oxygen to the muscles and detoxify the body. It’s a great anti-oxidant and a protector from disease in the body. Other nutritional benefits of kale include:
– Kale is rich in vitamin K and this prevents inflammation, assists with reducing joint pains and aids in building healthy bones.
– It is high in fibre which helps to lower the amount of cholesterol in our bodies and to lower our overall risk of heart disease.
– The vitamin A is kale is great for our skin and for the prevention of acne
– Kale is a great source of Vitamin C and aids in the prevention of cancer.
I add kale every day to my morning fresh juice. I also enjoy it in salads, sautéed alongside other vegetables, in my Greek stuffed vegetables (gemista), in soups. My two favourite recipes are kale pesto with wholegrain pasta and my kale and quinoa dolmades with yoghurt dipping sauce. The recipe is in my new book “Cooking and eating wisdom for better Health” (Balboa Press). Other fast and easy ways to prepare kale include:
-Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, grated carrot, sesame seeds, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
-Braise chopped kale with toasted pine nuts and ladolemono dressing (Greek dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano)
-Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, cracked pepper and a little olive oil.
-Make kale chips (see my recipe below)
Recipe: Kale Chips
This is what I enjoy snacking on.
Serves 4 people
1 head/bunch green curly kale, washed and dried, large stems removed, torn into bite size pieces
Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
¼-½ teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper or chill powder (optional)
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Place the kale in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the kale. Season with hot paprika, salt and cracked pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale.
Place kale on a tray lined with baking paper. Place in the oven on 180C and bake from 10-15 minutes. Half way through turn the kale over to the other side. The kale chips are ready when the kale is crispy.
Serve whilst still hot. It can also be cooled down and stored in a dry airtight container.
You can find more information on the healing properties of kale and my recipe for Kale and Quinoa Dolmades with Yoghurt dipping sauce in my new book titled “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” (Balboa Press) – How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece Can Lead to a Longer Life. You can view details and where you can buy it at:
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