Date Published: 7 February 2020
Kale is a great source of nutrition harvested in February and throughout the year
Kale is one of the relatively few 'superfoods' being harvested fresh in the northern hemisphere during February.
Eating mainly fresh foods in season is appealing but does not always seem easy to achieve. Large supermarkets stock a wide range of fruit and vegetables (as well as other items) sourced from across the world. Some items have travelled great distances. Some have not been picked or harvested as recently as would be preferred. Not everyone has the space, time or inclination to grow their own food for cooking at home for friends and family. In the modern world, especially if living mainly indoors and driving between home, work and necessary errands such as supermarket shopping, it can be easy to lose awareness of which foods are being harvested locally - especially during the dark quiet winter months of January and February.
During winter in Europe and North America, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, tangerines grapefruits and so on) are harvested in the southern parts of the northern hemisphere, such as in Florida and Spain. Further north the fruit season is gone but hardy leafy vegetables have much to offer. In many areas February is the coldest month of the year with a chance of frost. Even so, kale can be harvested in February in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Some horticultural sources1 suggest growing kale in the same beds as leeks, which can also be harvested and enjoyed fresh in February.
Kale is sometimes considered a 'superfood' because it is particularly densely packed with a wide range of nutrients. A recent article2 on medicalnewstoday.com explains that due to its nutritional content of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins (especially C and K) and minerals (including calcium and iron), kale may be beneficial in supporting the body against diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as well as supporting good bone health, digestion, skin, hair and eye health.
Information made available by the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA)3 states that 100g of raw kale contains:
- 4812 IU Vitamin A (241 ug Vitamin A, RAE)
- 0.113 mg Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- 0.347 mg Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- 1.18 mg Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- 0.37 mg Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- 0.147 mg Vitamin B6
- 62 µg Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- 93.4 mg Vitamin C
- 0.66 mg Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
- 389.6 µg Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
- 254 mg Calcium
- 1.6 mg Iron
- 33 mg Magnesium
- 55 mg Phosphorus
- 348 mg Potassium
- 53 mg Sodium
- 0.39 mg Zinc
Although it is generally well known that kale is a healthy leafy vegetable, it is perhaps not as commonly used in home cooking as other vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, cauliflower, brocolli and cabbage. Even those who are used to cooking with kale can appreciate new inspiration from time to time.
For receipe ideas see Kale: The Everyday Superfood: 150 Nutritious Recipes to Delight Every Kind of Eater, Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Pleaseand Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table among others.