Kale has been a dietary staple for thousands of years, serving as nourishment for both humans and livestock alike during the Middle Ages. Kale is thought to have originated from wild cabbage and is native to Europe and parts of Asia.
Kale can endure frosty weather and cold climates, and is often seen as a symbol of winter. kale is very popular in Scotland to the point where people have gardens specifically for kale and call dinner meals “kail”. Many Germans still celebrate the arrival of winter by eating a dish called Grunkohl, which is made with kale. Thomas Jefferson was said to have grown the superfood at Monticello, and recent food critics have touted it. One cup of kale has nearly the full amount of recommended daily consumption of vitamin C. National Kale Day is held on the first Wednesday of October.
So which varieties of kale taste best? Do you know the difference between curly kale and flat leaf kale? And does it even matter? Kale comes in many different varieties, from frilly and red to dinosaur skin textured and dark green. If you are curious to know which types of leafy greens are most popular, keep reading.
What Is a Kale Plant?
Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, and cauliflower – the cruciferous family. Although it may appear to be related, this vegetable is much tougher than lettuce.
Kale becoming popular is great, and it has good reasons for its newfound popularity. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, folate, and magnesium. Here are some of the vitamins that kale contains:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
This food is low in calories, contains no fat, and has 5 grams of fiber per one-cup serving. These are strong reasons for many people to include it in as many recipes as possible.
Why would you want to grow kale in your garden if you’ve never done it before? Does it really deserve a spot in your garden?
Yes! We talked about how healthy kale is for you to add to your diet. We said that it’s full of nutrients and vitamins, but it’s more than that.
Here are Some Reasons to Grow Kale:
Kale can be harvested at any stage, from baby greens to fully-grown, for both tender salads and other dishes.
Kale can be grown close together and the smaller leaves can be harvested for salads. After that, you can let the plants reach their full size.
Kale can be grown in containers, so if you have a small garden or balcony, you can still grow kale in pots.
Most varieties of kale are frost and snow hardy. Many people are able to grow kale in late fall and early winter without the need for frost cover in many different hardiness zones according to the USDA. If you do not live in an area with extremely cold winters, you can grow this leafy green year-round.
You can overwinter kale to grow early leafy greens.
Best Kale Varieties To Grow In Your Garden
Common Curly Kale
There are many different types of kale, but curly kale is one of the most common ones you’ll find in the grocery store. It is a green variety with large, ruffled leaves. The most popular cultivar of kale is ‘Winterbor’. This kale is especially cold hardy and can grow to be 2-3 feet tall.
This kale is perfect for salads or soups. If you’re planning on using the leaves in a salad, be sure to massage them with olive oil first. This will soften the leaves and make them easier to eat. You can remove the stem from curly kale by tearing off pieces of the leaves.
Redbor is a kale that can have deep burgundy leaves with purple highlights. The leaves of the plant may start out flat, but the cold weather will increase the color, flavor, and curling of the leaves. This plant is tough and can reach up to 5 feet in height! Redbor kale is a hybrid.
Redbor has a mild, cabbage-like taste. This purple kale will retain its color when cooked, making it a beautiful addition to any dish. Add this ingredient to your green salads for a vibrant splash of color!
The variety of kale most commonly consumed is ‘Blue Curled Scotch’ kale, also called ‘Vates’ kale. This type of kale has blue-green leaves that are very curly. This type of plant is shorter than other varieties and only grows to be about 2 feet tall. It matures quickly, but only lives for two years, and can endure for two growing seasons.
Scotch kale works well in salads or stir-frys. Acorn squash has a sweet and nutty flavor that is perfect for chips.
Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale
Lacinato kale is a type of kale that is also known as dinosaur kale. It is most commonly used in Italian cuisine. Kale is considered to be one of the heartiest types of greens, because it does not turn to mush when cooked in a recipe with sauce.
Lacinato kale leaves are large, measuring two to three inches wide, with a blue-green color. It can withstand pressure without wilting and develops a crispy texture.
Lacinato kale, which is also known as Tuscan kale or Dinosaur kale, is a type of kale that originates from Tuscany. It is rare for kale to come from Tuscany because most kale varieties prefer to grow in climates that are more moist. Lacinato can thrive in hot and dry climates, making it a viable option for those who reside in southern or southwestern states.
Lacinato kale is the perfect mid-winter green. You can add barley to your lentil or vegetable soup to make it more filling. This grain also pairs well with other grains or beans, or try adding some strips to a salad. This ingredient can be used in many recipes with good results. The leaves stand up well to boiling and braising.
Red Russian Kale
This is a variety of kale that is larger and not as curly as the standard curly kale. The plant has a reddish-purple color and flat, green leaves that look like large arugula leaves or oak leaves.
Red Russian kale plants usually only take 60 days to reach full maturity and can grow up to 36 inches tall. This plant grows best in full sunlight, but it can also grow in partial sunlight.
Red Russian kale is typically not carried by local supermarkets, but rather natural food stores or farmer’s markets. Red Russian kale is a popular choice for gardeners and organic farmers because it is easy to grow and is very nutritious.
There are a few reasons that gardeners love red Russian kale, but the most notable is that it is quite versatile. If you want to use the greens, you can start when they are babies or wait until they are fully mature. That’s up to you. If the leaves are firm and vibrant, they are good to eat.
This type of kale is sweeter and more peppery than others, making it unique and difficult to describe to those who haven’t tried it. The leaves can be prepared in the same way as you would for a recipe that uses curly kale or dinosaur kale.
This is a type of kale that is most often used for decorations. The center of the plant has flower-like structures that can be various shades of white, pink, or purple. This plant can grow in any area between hardiness zone two and 11.
Even though ornamental kale is called that, you can still eat it. It’s usually found in the flower section of the garden rather than the vegetable section. It’s still edible.
Why is Savoy kale separated from other types of kale?
Ornamental kale varieties are usually tougher and less delicious than other types. Although cilantro may be aesthetically pleasing in a garden or as a garnish on a plate, it is not much different from parsley. If you want to add a vitamin boost to soups or stews, you could add this to them.
Ornamental kale is only used sparingly by most chefs in meals because it is tough, and only in recipes with a longer cooking time to help soften the leaves. This type of kale is not the type you want to include in your spring salad.
Although Siberian kale is commonly referred to as kale, it is more closely related to the turnip and rutabaga families. This plant is able to withstand cold weather and has large, flat leaves that grow close to the ground. .” Siberian kale is not in the Brassica oleracea family, it is Brassica napus. The hybrid was likely created from pollen from wild plants transferring to the flower. This plant has multiple stalks that grow close to the ground, allowing it to withstand colder temperatures.
This kale variety has leaves that are more tender than others. The flavor of this vegetable is much milder than that of kale, which is often quite bitter. Frost can make the leaves taste even sweeter. Try using this vegetable as a replacement for cabbage in any recipes. It has a similar flavor profile. The best way to use Siberian kale is to add it to salads as a tender leafy green.
The Brassica oleracea plant, more commonly known as Chinese kale, is part of the Alboglabra subspecies. It is also called Chinese broccoli. It grows in a similar way to how true broccoli grows. This plant’s growth habit is similar to that of true broccoli. The main stalk of the plant is hearty, and the leaves can be either smooth or wrinkled, similar to broccoli. This type of kale has round green leaves and doesn’t grow tall like some of the more popular kale varieties. You can grow Chinese kale year-round in warmer climates because it can withstand high temperatures.
The best way to cook Chinese broccoli is with the flowering stalks, buds, and young leaves. This plant’s stem can become tough and too fibrous to eat, just like traditional broccoli’s stem. Steam or stir-fry the leaves, buds, and flowers like any other type of leafy green kale.
The Brassica family is a group of vegetables that includes cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Savoy salad is a cross between kale and other Brassicas, such as cabbage and cauliflower. sabauda. The Brassica oleracea var. sabauda is part of the savoy family. Sabauda. It has a dense head, and, because it is a crossbreed, it has leaves of different colors, including pink, red, white, and green. Savoy leaves sit directly on the ground in a bunch and look similar to cabbage.
Salad savoy is a mild and earthy type of cabbage that has been bred to have a mild, mellow flavor that can be used in almost any type of cooking! The best place to find this plant is at your local grocery store, as it has been bred specifically for this purpose. It is almost impossible to find this plant as seed. Enjoy this leafy green in salad, wraps, or soups. It can be steamed or fried as well.
Walking Stick Kale
Walkin stick kale is a great option if you’re looking for a unique type of kale to grow. This is an amazing plant that can grow as tall as six feet. The plant known as walking stick kale got its name from the fact that its stem often dries out and can be used as a walking stick.
This type of kale can be grown anywhere from USDA zones two to 11, and doesn’t need any special care even though it can get pretty big.
Scarlett kale is a great choice for colorful, edible kale to include in your garden. The plant has a dark purple color and curly leaves, making it both beautiful and edible. The leaves’ curly texture is strange when eaten raw, but it goes away when you cook the leaves.
Scarlett kale can be grown in most hardiness zones, especially if placed in an area with full sunlight and neutral soil. The plant will need a consistent supply of water to prevent the leaves from wilting and becoming bitter.
Scarlett kale takes about two months to mature. The longer you let it grow, the deeper the shade of red will become, and the flavor will become sweeter and lighter when compared to other types.
You definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to grow this variety in your garden. A plant that both looks good and provides food is the perfect addition to any household. The leaves are too firm and crunchy to be cooked. They are best used in salads or other raw recipes.
This is a type of kale from Portugal that is easily distinguished from other varieties by its appearance. This kale has blue-green leaves that are soft and have a circular shape. The stems are either white or light green.
This variety can be grown in both hot and cold climates; it adapts well to most conditions. It typically takes around 55 days to mature.
The Tronchuda kale has leaves that are soft to the touch and thick in nature, making them ideal for juicing. Gardeners love it because it is very easy to grow from a seed. Although it doesn’t grow very tall, it can reach a width of up to one foot.
The kale tastes less like the typical bitter taste and more like cabbage. This plant looks like it could be related to collard greens because of its shape.