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Kale is an absolute star in the kitchen, where it's a power pack of good nutrition, and in the garden, where it's one of the hardiest of the leafy green vegetables.
Because kale is such a hardy plant that grows well even in extreme weather and most soil types it's ideal for boosting your body's natural immunity over the winter months when other fresh vegetables are few and far between.
I plant it all year round so there are always a few mature plants in the garden from which to pick a few leaves for a smoothie or stir-fry. It can be grown from seed or seedlings in a pot or planter in a city courtyard, and the baby seedlings make tasty microgreens to use in salads or as a garnish.
To harvest, simply snap off the leaves when they reach the size you require, leaving the rest of the plant to continue growing. Use smaller leaves for salads and kale chips, and larger leaves for smoothies and stir-fries.
Kale is rich in the vitamins A, K and C, as well as the minerals calcium, magnesium and manganese. It's also high in protein.
Some people find the robust flavour of kale too strong for their taste and the texture of the mature leaves a little coarse, but everyone will be won over by kale chips. For a simple, tasty way to include this superfood in your diet, try tossing kale leaves in olive oil, salt and chilli flakes and baking in a single layer on an oven tray for 40 minutes at 120˚C.
Kale is also surprisingly good whizzed up in a smoothie. Remove the tough stems from two or three large kale leaves, then whizz in a blender with a banana, kiwifruit, yoghurt, fruit juice and honey.
One of my favourite ways of serving kale is quickly stir-fried in my Kale and Cranberry Toss.
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