Baby Kale: The Nutritious Kitchen Staple AND Trendy Superfood

Baby Kale: The Nutritious Kitchen Staple AND Trendy Superfood

Any kale fans out there?

Well let me introduce you to baby kale - the milder, sweeter, younger, more palatable version of kale. 

Many of us may think of kale as a bit of a trendy superfood when sprinkled with olive oil, pink salt and chilli flakes before being crisped to perfection in the air-fryer (yum!). However, my Mum has memories of my Granny growing it in her English garden to feed her children after the war. And my father-in-law always has a crop growing in his orchard which he adds to broths or stir-frys along with beans and other vegetables of the season for a simple, nutritious meal.

Kale is reported to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor (Turkey), where it was cultivated for food beginning by 2000 BCE at the latest. Curly-leaved varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat-leaved varieties in Greece in the 4th century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales.

Kale gets the label of 'superfood' for good reason as a single serving (21 grams) of raw kale contains approximately:

  • Vitamin K: 68% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 22% of the RDI (more than a medium orange)
  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDI (from beta-carotene)
  • Vitamin B6: 2% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 9% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 4% of the RDI
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
  • It also contains 3% or more of the RDI for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus
  • 7 calories
  • 1 grams of carbs
  • 0.9 grams of fibre
  • 0.6 grams of protein.

Kale contains very little fat, but a large percentage of the fat in it is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic-acid (ALA). This is the food fat that's essential for brain health, is reported to reduce Type 2 diabetes risk and boosts heart health.

Given its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.

According to some sources, commercially grown kale is one of the most likely crops to have residual pesticides. So choosing organic kale (or growing it yourself!) is highly recommended. Whether it be juiced, wilted, fried, dehydrated, or sautéed it is recommended to eat with a fat (olive oil, avocado or parmesan cheese for example) to aid with the absorption of vitamin K. While a squeeze of lemon will optimise the absorption of iron.

I like to chop my baby kale and add it to a simple herb omelette with a grating of parmesan cheese and side of avocado for the perfect (and super easy) breakfast.

Grow a crop of pesticide-free baby kale in your Garden Gizmo and keep it to hand for your green smoothies, soups, salads or just to nibble on. Harvest your kale regularly - and keep the water in your Garden Gizmo topped up with Premium Plant Cuisine - to keep it looking and tasting its best. The more you use it the better!

Keep an eye on our Garden Gizmo YouTube channel for a video on how to prune and care for your kale.

Happy growing.

GG xx

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