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Palm tree-like fronds are a characteristic of the Black kale. Also called Italian Black Cabbage, these curly-edged leaves grow out of a central stalk. When the central stalk is harvested, mini-black cabbages are produced on the stalk. This variety offers its very own subtle green cabbage flavor that has a tangy bite with an almost sweet aftertaste.
Black kale is available late fall through spring.
Low in calories, Black kale offers vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and potassium. It is said Black kale stimulates the immune system and can help in preventing certain types of cancer. Juiced Black kale is claimed to be helpful for arthritis, gastric ulcers, depression, and gout.
Young raw Black kale leaves are tasty in salads. Pairs well with beans or pork. Cook until soft in olive oil with a generous amount of garlic for a palate-pleasing side dish. To use Black kale leaves as food wrappers, blanch leaves briefly in lightly salted water. Place cubes of favorite cheese in leaf; wrap and bake. Risotto is superb wrapped in kale leaves as are shrimp and scallops.
A mythical Italian Franciscan monk, Friar Foreteller in his almanac provided tips on home cures that utilize vegetables, herbs and fruits. The entire kale and Cabbage family is esteemed in his writings for its scar-healing, disinfectant, anti-rheumatic, decongestant and anti-diabetic powers. Blanched kale leaves can be applied topically to burns or irritated skin for relief.
Black kale is an international hybrid and a prized Tuscan specialty referred to as "cavolo nero" or black cabbage in English. Abundantly available in Tuscany, Black kale supplies are very limited in other parts of the world. Italian cuisine especially favors Black kale in the cold-weather cooking season. A member of the Crucifer or mustard family, Black kale is a prehistoric Mediterranean wild plant.
Recipes that include Black Kale. One is easiest, three is harder.