Now I know that these have been quite the rage amongst the healthy folk of North American in the past few years, but let me tell you a bit about the role of kale in the Scottish diet…’cuz we like own kale babe.
For a quick refresher, kale is a member of the cabbage family but is also very closely related to broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprout & collard greens. Kale is often classed according to leaf shape and size but for us of the short & curly variety we favour Scots Kale.
Kale has been a tremendously important part of the Scottish diet, and is usually served in soups or as a hot side dish. It is also great as a salad but that is not so traditional in the cold and misty climate. It grows best in the winter months with a good bit of frost (of which we have a-plenty) it provided an essential link between the autumn harvest and spring vegetables. It was so prevalent that the name for a kitchen garden in Scotland is the ‘kale-yard’ and the word is often synonymous with the word for food, as in ‘to be off one’s kale’. It also lent its name to a school of writers in the early 20th century know as the ‘kaleyard school’ which included Scottish writers such as J M Barrie of Peter Pan fame.
One of the celebrated ‘superfoods’ of recent health claims this lovely packs a serious punch nutritionally in essential vitamins A, B & K, whilst providing major doses minerals including iron & calcium and a whole host of anti-oxidants and cancer fighting flavonoids. For those who want to know even more, you can check out some more benefits here http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/kale.html.
For those looking for a tasty & healthy alternative to potato chips/crisps, this is how you might find kale in your local shop. You can just take this bag home, whack the oven to 180 C/ 350 F get a baking sheet or two and spread the leaves out. Drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and (I have had luck with a sprinkling of soy sauce OR balsamic for a bit of extra taste) a sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and after about 20 minutes you have the crispy, yummy, dried leaves in autumn sounding pile of goodness. Upon my first batch of making these crisps I must have been a bit low on my green & leafies as I stood over the baking trays and proceeded to polish off about a kilo of the stuff!
Big on flavour, low if fat – I like ‘em, my husband likes ‘em and even my picky vegetarian and dairy-free children like ‘em, so they are now a staple in our household.
Hopefully this fun and easy modern twist on yet another of Scotland’s fantastic ancient staples will bring some yummy and super-nutritious nibbles to your everyday life!