Kale is a member of the cruciferous brassica family along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. This nutrient-dense, dark leafy green has a slightly bitter or peppery bite when raw. Kale comes in several types from Lacinato to more tender baby kale. Each variety has its own texture, color, and flavor – all are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins A, K and C along with other nutrients like fiber. In fact, kale has 50% more potassium per calorie than a banana.
- Kale provides an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K
- Also provides folate, vitamin A, flavanols, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Kale is grown in several California growing areas. When planted from seed, kale will be ready to harvest within 55 to 75 days. It can also be transplanted as seedlings, which will speed up the growing time to about 30 to 40 days from planting to harvest. Most kale varieties are harvested multiple times. When the plant reaches maturity, harvest crews strip or cut leaves, leaving the stalk and top leaves to regenerate more leaves that will be harvested again in a few weeks. One plant can be cut 3 to 4 times yielding product for up to nine months.
Kale can be eaten in so many ways from chopped and added to salads or cooked. People also buy it by the bagful to add to smoothies.
Try this delicious salad:
Did You Know? kale is healthy and safe
Kale is a powerhouse when it comes to nutritional benefits, but unfortunately, this very safe and healthy vegetable has made it to a so-called “dirty dozen” list of the most pesticide laden produce items. Sadly, this list has potential to negatively impact consumption of fruit and vegetables, like kale, despite the fact the list has been repeatedly discredited by the scientific community and peer reviewed studies.
According to an annual report conducted by the U.S. Food and Agriculture Department (USDA), overall pesticide residues found on kale (like all fruits and vegetables produced in the U.S.) are well below safety limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Just how small are any pesticide residues found on kale? So small that a child could consume over 7,000 servings of kale in one day without any effect even if kale had the highest pesticide residue ever recorded for kale by the USDA. Now, that’s a lot of kale smoothies! You can learn more about how small the pesticide residues that may be found on your favorite fruits and vegetables really are by using this Pesticide Residue Calculator created by toxicologists with the Personal Chemical Exposure Program at University of California, Riverside.
Health experts everywhere encourage people to eat as much kale as you’d like whether it is conventionally-grown or organic.
To learn more about pesticides and produce, please visit