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Kale: rising 'queen of greens'

Source: Jamaica Observer-
KALE, a dark green leafy vegetable, is slowly becoming more visible, and dare I say popular, as a vegetable of choice in Jamaica. It has started appearing regularly in the produce section of a few supermarkets and is also a staple at UJIMA Organic Farmer's Market, twice monthly, in New Kingston.
Kale or brassica oleracea is a member of the cruciferous group of vegetables, which also includes cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
This "queen of greens" comes in two varieties: curly kale, which has frilly leaves, and larger, smooth-leaf kale, also known as dinosaur kale. Besides the dark green colour, there is also purple, white and pink kale.
Throughout Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia, it is very popular and widely grown as a common vegetable. It is incredibly easy to grow and can withstand many types of climate. More recently, it has been gaining a lot of popularity in North America, especially for those on a vegan, raw or vegetarian diet. Fortunately, on this side of the world, we are now getting our own 'taste' of the delicious flavour, many health benefits and rich nutrients found
in kale.
* High fibre, zero fat
* More calcium per calorie than cow's milk
* Antioxidant rich
* A great detoxifying food for the liver
* High in iron
* Ten times more vitamin C than spinach per calorie (immune support)
* Lowers cholesterol
* Offers cardiovascular support by lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer
* Great for skin and eye health
* High vitamin and mineral content: Vitamins A, C, K, B6, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, manganese
* Low in calories
* Known to contain cancer-fighting carotenoids and flavonoids
* Delicious flavour.
Kale can be enjoyed raw or cooked, whether steamed, sautéed, grilled, baked, in soups, or stir-fried. I personally love it raw!
It is an excellent vegetable to use in green/vegetable juices or smoothies because of its high fibre, vitamin and mineral content. In salads, it adds texture, flavour and sustenance to the usual offerings. Some varieties of kale have a slightly bitter taste and do well when paired with dressings that have a mildly sweet flavour with citrus, honey or stevia as the sweetener.
Whether raw or cooked, kale should be washed thoroughly and some might prefer to remove the stiff, sturdy stem before eating, unless being used for juices and smoothies.
So when next you are shopping for fresh green produce, I dare you to try kale. You will be surprised by how easy it is to add it to your diet, and be pleased with its effect on your body.