Wednesday | August 23, 2017
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Kale is good for your health

Kale likes the cooler weather of Volcano and has been thriving in my greenhouse, especially the cold weather we have been having recently. I have heirloom or lacinato, also called dinosaur kale, that was given to me from Don, who had seedlings that were not doing well in Paradise Park. I also have growing in black pot Russian Red and curled Scotch.

Kale or borecole is from the cabbage family and is related to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. It is also very similar to collard greens, all classified as cruciferous vegetables.

Insects don’t care for it so it is easy to grow, it tolerates all soils, and just needs good drainage. Even the cabbage moth, which enjoys my Chinese cabbage leaves and daikon leaves, does not touch my kale.

There are various types of kale which are classified by leaf type: the curly leaf of Scots kale lutes; Siberian or Russian; heirloom “lacinato”; blue-green kale; and Japanese kale for decorative and ornamental purposes.

Scotch kale includes dwarf blue curled Scotch, redbor or red winterbor, and winterbor.

Siberian kale includes red Russian, blue curled kale and white Russian varieties.

One cup of chopped kales is 33 calories, containing 9 percent of the calcium you need daily, 206 percent vitamin A, 134 percent vitamin C, and a whopping 684 percent vitamin K. It is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorous.

So let’s look at the 684 percent of vitamin K in kale, a powerful antioxidant thought to reduce the development or dying from cancer.

If you are on Warfarin, or any other anticoagulant, vitamin K will interfere with the effects of the drug because vitamin K helps with normal blood clotting. It also has antioxidants and promotes bone health.

Kale contains oxalates, which naturally interferes with the absorption of calcium. So don’t eat kale together with calcium rich foods like dairy because it will counteract the calcium.

While in Southern California and Oregon, kale Caesar salad was a popular special salad of the day.

Wash kale well a couple of times. I add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 4 cups water to be sure no bugs cling to the leaves. Cut very thinly, dry and place your favorite Caesar dressing.

Dr. Andrew Weil calls kale medicine because it is loaded with vitamin K, A and C.

His recipe for Tuscan kale salad is simple and very similar to a Caesar salad.

Tuscan Kale Salad

Dr. Andrew Weil

Serves 4

Whisk together:

Juice of one lemon

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, mashed and chopped fine

Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Crushed pepper flakes, to taste

Remove mid ribs, clean and slice leaves of:

4-6 cups Lacinato, dinosaur, cavolo nero kale

Pour dressing over kale in a serving bowl and toss well. Add:

2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano, Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Let salad sit for at least 5 minutes. Add:

1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread


Kale is a great vegetable addition in soups as it can stand up to long cooking. I love kale in Portuguese bean soup. Here is a bean soup with kale from Cooking Light Magazine, one of my favorite monthly periodicals. It is a wonderful entrée dish to make for a cold and rainy night, taking only 30 minutes from start to finish.

Two-Bean Soup with Kale

Serves 6

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add and swirl to coat pan:

3 tablespoons olive oil


1 cup chopped onion (1/2 large round onion)

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped celery

Saute until vegetables are tender.

Stir in:

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

Stir in:

3 cups vegetable broth

7 cups stemmed (remove center rib) chopped kale

Simmer for 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.

Place in blender:

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 cup vegetable broth

Process until smooth.

Add pureed bean mixture into soup. Add:

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.


Making smoothies with kale is great for a pick-me-up or the start of the day.

Kale and Berry Smoothie

Serves 2

Place in blender with one cup water and 2 ice cubes:

1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems

4 kale leaves, center ribs removed

1 cup frozen berries — strawberries, raspberries

1 banana, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon ground flaxseed


If you are growing your own kale, keep the slugs off the leaves. If you see a slimy trail, even if you wash it off, there is no guarantee of riding it of rat lungworm disease. If you do not have pets, Headline slug bait seems to work well.

My niece, Carla has a blog about happenings in Hilo,, which informs residents and visitors about activities around town. I did not realize there were so many things to do in Hilo in any given weekend.

Please feel free to e-mail me at if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.


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