Harvest of the Month: Kale

According to kale legend (who knew THAT was a thing?), prior to 2012 the largest buyer of kale in the U.S. was – wait for it – Pizza Hut. But the red-roofed chain wasn’t using kale for salads or spicy pies. It was decorating salad bars with the curly green leaves.

Since 2012, however, kale has become a staple in produce aisles, kitchens and eateries from coast to coast. Why? Some say this rise was simply the product of good P.R. and aggressive marketing, but others point to the leafy green’s health benefits. After all, kale is packed with vitamins, it’s one of those anti-inflammatory foods that are good for your heart (see page one), and it offers other benefits, from cancer prevention to improved skin.

Kale also has emerged as a culinary favorite because it’s versatile, able to anchor everything from basic salads to soups and main dishes. And, like Pizza Hut, you also might find that it simply looks good on your table.

When shopping for kale, choose leaves that are firm and deeply colored, and choose smaller leaves to get a milder flavor. Pass up any leaves that look wilted, or that are turning brown or yellow. The season for the freshest kale will be mid-winter through early spring, but you can find it any time of the year.

Try Kale in this Kale, Tomato and Pancetta Pasta recipe.

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