Lacinato Kale (also called Tuscan, Dinosaur, or Black Kale) is the easiest to handle and quickest to cook thanks to its small, crinkled leaves. Lacinato Kale leaves have a greenish-blue tint with an earthy flavor profile. This dark green, leafy vegetable provides many of the same health benefits as the common Curly Kale, but it also provides some unique benefits. Numerous studies suggest that foods rich in isothiocyanates, which are found in Lacinato Kale, may help prevent cancer and even suppress the growth of tumors. Tuscan Kale is the perfect addition to soups or side dishes.
A Brief History
Like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendant of the wild cabbage, a plant which is thought to have originated in Asia Minor and was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly Kale played an important role in early European diets as a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.
Both Ornamental and Dinosaur Kale are much more recent varieties. Lacinato Kale was discovered in Italy in the late 19th century. Ornamental Kale, originally a decorative garden plant, was first cultivated commercially in the 1980’s in California. Ornamental Kale is now better known by the name Salad Savoy.
How to Select:
Select leaves that are thick, fleshy and crisp. Kale will wilt if not kept in the refrigerator. If slightly wilted, soak in cold water
How to Store:
Keep Lacinato Kale refrigerated in a crisper or in a sealed plastic bag. It should last up to a week. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.
How to Prepare:
Always rinse your produce under cool water before using. Lacinato Kale can be eaten raw by thinly slicing and adding to a spring mix salad, or dress Lacinato Kale with a Caesar dressing to make a nutritious Caesar salad. You can also add Tuscan Kale to any soup, or steam or sauté it in olive oil and garlic for a healthy side dish.
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