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Column: Kale for everyone!

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A handful of kale grown in the Garfield Park Community Garden.

Kale. It’s not just for vegans and yuppies anymore. Kale has become a nationally popular salad green in the past several years due to a renewed interest in health foods.

Maybe you’re asking yourself why I’m writing an article about kale. Personally, I didn’t know what kale was until I moved to a small farm in 2011, in the Colorado mountains. Before that, my salad itinerary was limited to the popular varieties of lettuce one encounters in your average supermarket.

Kale is a member of the cabbage family and goes great in salads, stews, stir fries and holds up well when frozen. It can even survive uncovered during the winter and continue thriving the next year. I’ve used frozen kale that is up to eight months old in stir fries.

The leafy green is a great source of vitamin A, C, B6, as well as a good source of dietary fiber. If you’re afraid that it’s too late to start growing some kale from seed, don’t worry, pretty much every local greenhouse and a lot of local supermarkets have kale, along with almost any other vegetable you could want to grow available for purchase.

The uses for kale don’t end in the salad bowl or skillet. A popular method of preparing it is making it into baked kale chips. This can be done by breaking the leafs into smaller, chip sized bits and brushing them with a thin layer of oil and covering them with your desired seasoning before baking them in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the leaves are slightly brown and crispy. Kale chips are available in many health stores but I personally haven’t found a particular brand I like better than making them myself.

So make a salad, a stir-fry, stew, or chips, and enjoy kale’s many benefits.

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