Kale is a brassica and belongs to the cabbage family. It is a hardy plant, able to withstand temperatures as low as -15 degrees celsius. It has lushly dark leaves that can be curly or smooth and sometimes have a blue or purple tinge. The taste, distinct and slightly bitter, is reported to become sweeter when exposed to extreme cold such as a heavy frost, but more bitter and unpleasant in hot weather.
Kale is grown throughout Europe and in the US, available year-round, and packed with vitamins A, K and C, as well as being a good source of manganese and copper.
The leaves and stems can be eaten together. The stems are tough while the leaves are soft, so may require different cooking times. Kale can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, sautéed or even grilled. Because of its high nutritional value, kale has been dried and turned in to powder to be added to soups and smoothies and made into chips eaten as a savoury snack. It can be enjoyed as a side dish or mixed with other vegetables in stews, curries, or soups.