National Kale Day, which is celebrated the on the first Wednesday of October, takes place to highlight kale’s health benefits and its culinary versatility, and it promotes eating, growing and sharing kale throughout the United States.
Kale is one of those lauded “superfoods” as it is among the most nutrient-dense foods on Planet Earth. According to Healthline, a single cup of raw kale (about 2.4 ounces) contains 206% of your daily value of vitamin A, 684% of your DV for vitamin K, 134% of your DV for vitamin C, 26% of your DV for manganese, around 10% of your DV for vitamin B6, calcium, copper and potassium, 6% of your DV for magnesium and 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus. Kale is essentially a multivitamin in a leaf.
Much like our good friend spinach, there are a lot of ways to incorporate kale into your diet, the most obvious being salads. Kale chips are also really popular, and you can easily make your own by drizzling olive oil on the leaves, sprinkling on some herbs and baking it in the oven until it’s crispy.
While kale is often grown to be consumed, it is sometimes also used as an ornamental plant, as it has textured leaves which can be either green or purple. Like spinach, the vegetable originated in the eastern Mediterranean region, but it is a much older cultivated goodie, dating back to at least 2000 BCE. Russian kale was introduced into Canada, and then into the U.S., by Russian traders in the 1800s. Kale is usually an annual grown from seed with a wide range of germination temperatures. It is hardy and thrives in wintertime and can survive in temperatures as low as 5º F. For those who aren’t fans of its bitter taste, there’s good news – kale can become sweeter after a heavy frost.
Want to add some kale to your dinner tonight to celebrate the holiday? Food & Wine offers up a stunning 30 kale recipes to try out.