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This member of the cruciferous vegetable family boasts unsurpassed health benefits.
A winter vegetable, kale lacinato has long, dark blue-green leaves, and is a little sweeter and less pungent than the more familiar curly kale. Early in the season, the tender leaves of this Italian varietal are best enjoyed cooked quickly, sautéed or steamed. You can also serve them raw, in salads. The larger leaves further into the season taste best when cooked for longer periods of time—it’s traditionally used in the classic Tuscan soup, ribolitta, which the Italians leave to sit for a day to allow its flavours to develop.
Like other varieties of kale, kale lacinato is especially rich in glucosinolates which, when ingested and digested, can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. It also has nearly twice the amount of vitamin K that most cruciferous vegetables have (vitamin K helps blood to clot and contributes to bone health). And in addition to vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese, cavolo nero also provides us with an extensive range of lesser known flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin; many of which function both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
When buying kale lacinato, pick leaves that are firm, not wilted or bruised. They should look rich and vibrant. Smaller leaves will be tender and milder flavoured. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for no more than a few days.
Organic kale lacinato is available at SuperNature Forum and online.
With an earthy, sweet flavour and long tuberous root, it comes as no surprise that the parsnip is closely related to the carrot. This fleshy tuber is chock-full of vitamins, essential minerals and dietary fibre.
A sweet alternative to the regular Russet or Yukon gold, this humble root lends itself to a plethora of different cooking methods. Great as a casserole dish or simply steamed, this spud is no dud when it comes to health-boosting benefits.
An apple cucumber gets its name because of its resemblance to a green apple. It has a crispy, juicy flesh, very sweet taste, and can be eaten without peeling the skin off. After it ripens, it develops soft prickles or spines that are white.
Black Knight carrots are readily distinguishable by their ink stained skin with variegations of orange and ivory blushing through from the root's core. The flesh's colour is a contrasting warm yellow.
Higher in beta carotene, and vitamins C and A than its green counterpart, red oak lettuce also provides a good proportion of fibre, folate and minerals. Enjoy this attractive, frilly leaf in salads, sandwiches and side dishes.