(Grünkohl, Braunkohl, Krauskohl, Lippische Palme, or Oldenburger Palme)
Kale belongs to the cabbage family, but unlike other cabbage varieties, its leaves do not form a head. Its leaves are large, fibrous, and rippled. Leaf colors range from light green to dark green and violet-green to violet-brown.
Kale is a winter vegetable (season: November through March) that needs a good frost to help develop its flavor. It is the cold that converts kale's starches into sugars, giving it a softly sweet taste.
Kale is a favorite in northern Germany, so much so that many kale festivals are held during the kale season. In Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen, many clubs, associations, and groups of friends take part in numerous "Kohlfahrten" (kale tours). These consist of long hikes, after which they have dinner at local restaurants. Dinner consist of kale, wurst, and schnaps. After dinner, more schnaps and dancing.
Each region in northern Germany has its own specialty when it comes to kale. In Schleswig-Holstein, it is cooked with smoked bacon. In Hamburg, kale is served with potatoes that have been browned and caramelized with a little sugar. In Bremen and Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), kale is traditionally cooked and served with Pinkelwurst - a dish known as "Kohl & Pinkel." In other regions, kale is cooked with Kochwurst, Mettwurst, Kasseler Rippchen, or pork chops, then served with boiled or pan-fried potaotes.
Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. To prepare kale, remove any stems, yellow leaves, and any rough leaves. Wash leaves in cold water then allow them to drip dry.
Kale goes especially well with duck, turkey, pork roasts, and Kassler Rippchen. To create a hearty meal, cook kale with Kasseler Rippchen, bacon, or other smoked meat.
Kale is a nutrient-rich vegetable. It is high in beta carotene, iron, vitamin K, vitamins B1 and B2, vitamin A, vitamin C, phosphorus, and lutein. It is also very rich in Calcium.
Selecting and Storing Kale
When selecting, choose kale with crisp, fresh-looking, green leaves. Store kale in the refrigerator. It will remain fresh for 2 to 3 days.
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