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5 Things to know about Cavolo Nero, The New Kale

It seems everyone is “kale-ing” it at the moment. It’s the trendy food must have.
Two years after the New York Times hailed it as “veggie chic,” the trendy veg is still red hot.
American actor Kevin Bacon was reportedly quoted as saying: “A day without kale is like a day without sunshine.” While Gwyneth Paltrow praised its virtues on her Goop website. “It’s one of the best things you can put into your system,” she wrote.

There is no doubt that this green darling is healthy. It does pack a strong dose of calcium, vitamins A, B, C and K, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre as well as other nutrients and minerals.
But claims that kale contains more iron than beef are false.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, 100 grams of raw curly kale has 1.7 grams of iron while 100 grams of grilled lean steak has 3.6 grams. Therefore, “you would need to eat just over two times the amount of kale (2.25 portions of kale) for the same amount as the steak.” 

A recent study by researchers at William Patterson University in New Jersey, which studied 41 powerhouse fruits and vegetables, found that other greens like watercress, spinach and chard were actually more “nutrient-dense” than kale.
While the trendiness and popularity of kale shows no signs of abating, there is a new green vegetable now taking UK supermarkets by storm.
It’s cavolo nero. Once deemed an underground favourite and the preserve of those in the know, it is now starting to reach critical mass.

Earlier this year, Waitrose announced that it would be “the new green star of 2015,” with “a staggering sales increase of 343%.” While at Sainsbury’s, they’ve noticed a year on year jump of more than 20% and over the past three years, a rise of more than 180%.

Here are some cavolo nero factoids:

1. It’s kale’s Italian cousin
It’s kale’s close relative and part of the brassica family. Also known as black kale, Tuscan kale or black cabbage, this green vegetable has been enjoyed by Italians for generations, even centuries.

Originating from sunny Tuscany, where it is believed to have been first harvested in 600BC, cavolo nero has long, lean, dark green and almost black leaves with a noticeably rich, intense and slightly sweet flavour.

2. Health benefits
It is packed with antioxidants, high in vitamins and minerals including lutein, vitamins A, C, K, fibre, calcium, manganese and iron. Studies suggest it may help to prevent certain types of cancers.
3. Cavolo nero – say what?
A survey conducted by Discover Kale found that 60% people didn’t know what cavolo nero was. Only 20% knew it was a vegetable, while almost half thought it was “something Italian.” Now farmers in Lincolnshire where it is cultivated want to drop the Italian sounding name and just call it “black kale” to avoid any confusion.

4. Availability
Cavolo nero has been grown in the UK for over 15 years. It’s available here from July to October.

5. How to use it
Cavolo nero had been traditionally used in hearty minestrone soups or side dishes.
But it is a versatile vegetable that can be steamed or sautéed in coconut oil to make beautiful salads and stir fries, added to colourful soups or whizzed up in tasty smoothies.

By Chantal Ouimet – Honestly Healthy Editor

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Comments

Paul:

I chop all of it including stalks about three inches in width and put in a steamer until stalks are soft, usually ten minutes.. Why throw away the stalks if you are cooking it ???

Oct 01, 2016

Clive Carver:

Rosemary, Cavolo Nero is rich in vitamins including Vitamin K which can affect your INR. A quick Google produced http://www.clotcare.com/vitaminkandwarfarin.aspx Seems that most green vegetables are similar. You cannot win can you when it comes to healthy eating?

Aug 07, 2016

Nick:

It’s only about 70p at Lidl which seems good value. More expensive than cabbage if you look at it by weight but then normal cabbage is super cheap. I have just tried it and liked it. I think it’s similar to kale and savoy cabbage and I will buy savoy in future probably due to cost.

I put the roughly chopped leaves in a frying pan with hot oil, salt, pepper and garlic and after a minute added only a few tablespoons of hot water. I put a saucepan lid over it to keep the steam in and cooked on low heat for about 2-4 mins. Ideally all the water is absorbed by the veg or is lost in steam but if there is any left just squeeze it out. Same as I do for most cabbage

Jul 19, 2016

gugu:

I bought black kale yesterday it has a funny smell. How do i reduce the smell because it is so embarrassing especially if you carry a product in public. i use the public transport so i came for shopping yesterday it was so smelling i felt so embarrassed.

Jun 25, 2016

Alexander:

Cut the leaf away from the stalks and boil for approx 5/6 mins adding a little salt and pepper along with a little chosen stock.
Drain off and serve with a knob of butter as a bed for New boiled potatoes.
Very similar to a cabbage.
The look is wonderful, the taste is thoroughly summer and the goodness is just perfect.
Enjoy

Jun 20, 2016

Michiel:

Cut out the stalk, discard. Slice the leaf thinly. Boil in some vegetable stock with half a garlic bulb (cut halfways so all the cloves are cut in half and flavour the water). Boil for no more than 6 minutes. Drain, squeeze half a lemon over and mix through, serve. YUM!

Apr 30, 2016

Steffi:

I’m impsdsree. You’ve really raised the bar with that.

Apr 23, 2016

Jayne:

I’ve also just bought cavolo Nero from lidls , trying to find out the best way to cook it , anybody have any suggestions.

Mar 27, 2016

Suzy:

First times using its yummmy will continue using

Mar 07, 2016

Rosemary Boyd-Mercer:

Just seen Cavolo Nero in Lidls…………first time ever……….and it is looks delicious. I need a lot of nutrition due to heart surgery and being on warfarine……….so am looking forward to eating it with all its goodness!!

Nov 28, 2015

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