Curly kale is a sturdy winter brassica with an earthy flavour and frilly leaves that grow from a central stalk. It’s a sprouting plant, without a heart, rather like broccoli or spring greens, and is highly nutritious. Other varieties of kale include Red Russian kale, cavolo nero (or ‘black kale’), and thousand-head or hungry-gap kale.
Curly kale leaves should look fresh and crisp, with no sign of yellowing. Reject any with leaves that look bruised or slimy. Curly kale is available from September to March.
Curly kales deteriorate more quickly than green cabbages, and will keep for only a few days before turning yellow. Store, loosely wrapped in plastic, in the fridge or larder.
Cut away the tough central ribs of curly kale before you chop or shred the leaves. For best results, either cook very briefly in a large volume of ready-boiling water or stir-fry as a side dish. Add a small amount to soups, pasta sauces, bean dishes and colcannon.
Article by Clarissa Hyman