Do you love kale? Or has kale’s moment faded? Does it matter? Kale stormed every manner of meal in 2012 (ok, dessert might be a stretch), and there is no putting the green monster back in the pantry. Trends come and go, but nutrition is forever. The question then becomes, “Is this food you are ready to accept into your life?”
Whether or not you’ve already answered that for yourself, here are eight facts you may or may not have known about kale.
1. We’ve Cultivated Kale For Over 2,000 Years
While kale has only been trendy for a few years now, we’ve been growing kale since the fourth century B.C. As a hearty plant that is easy to grow, it was one of the most popular vegetables in Europe through the end of the Middle Ages.
2. Kale Becomes Sweeter After A Frost
Kale is a notoriously bitter leafy vegetable, but it, along with other members of its family that include Brussels sprouts and broccoli are not only frost tolerant but react to frost by producing sugars. That’s not to say it would make a great dessert topping.
3. One Cup Of Raw Kale Packs A Nutritional Power Punch
Let’s hit you with some numbers. How does 684% of your daily allowance of vitamin K, which helps play an important role in blood clotting?
Need vitamin A for healthy skin, teeth, and eyes? Kale provides 204% of your daily allowance. We all know how important Vitamin C is, right? These leafy greens have 134% of your daily allowance.
If that isn’t enough, kale also has plenty of calcium and iron.
4. Germans Have A Festival Dedicated To Kale
At this annual northern German gathering known as Grünkohlfahrt (Curly Kale Hike), participants essentially tackle a hike while downing beer and korn (liquor made from fermented rye or corn).
To cool down afterward, they gorge on grünkohl (kale) and keep on drinking. Eventually, they get around to announcing a Kohlkönig (Kale King), honoring the person who ate the most of it, complete with a trophy (typically, an inscribed pig’s jawbone).
5. The “Kale Mary” Is An Actual Drink
While this bloody mary with kale has no booze, that’s not to say it doesn’t have a kick. Made with tomato juice, along with horseradish, soy sauce, hot sauce and celery juice, this one’s a way to re-up your heart, soul, and mind. Probably not a bad hangover cure either.
6. Kale Comes In More Colors Than Just Green
With over 50 varieties of kale, the plant comes in numerous colors — which, in addition to green, can mean white, purple, and a bluish-green. Sadly all that explosion of color is lost when blended into a smoothie.
7. Kale Sprouts Exist (Kale + Brussel Sprouts)
The health dream of aging hipsters is here. Created by a British firm, this hybrid goes by many names including, “kalettes," as well as “brusselkale,” “flower sprouts,” and “lollipops.”
As both plants are members of the same species, brassica oleracea, this adorable hybrid could honestly become the biggest trend if word got out, so keep a lid on it!
8. Kale Has A Madison Avenue Publicist
Think all of this hullabaloo is the result of dumb luck? Think again. The American Kale Association hired Oberon Sinclair, a public relations expert who’s worked with names like Hermès and Vivienne Westwood to bring kale to the masses. We’d say she succeeded.
Bonus: There’s A Book Called Fifty Shades of Kale
Yup. Just throwing it out there in case you have one hell of a fetish.