Kale has been around for a long time, but this green leafy vegetable has been particularly in the past few years. Many people love kale because it’s versatile, nutritious and tasty. This particular veggie is low in calories (perfect for people looking to stay fit) and packed with vitamins and minerals.
On top of growing butter lettuce and serrano peppers in your home garden (which we’ve covered in the past month), consider planting dinosaur kale to get more greens in your diet. This will allow you to whip up healthier dishes for you and your family.
What is Dinosaur Kale?
Dinosaur kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that is well-known in Italian cuisine. It goes by many names including dino kale, lacinato kale, cavolo nero and Tuscan kale. The leaves are so hearty that they retain an excellent firm texture even when well cooked. This makes the dinosaur kale a fantastic choice for adding to stews or braising.
What makes dinosaur kale different from other leafy vegetables is that it’s sweeter and less bitter than other types of kale. The relatively mild taste of this veggie can appeal to individuals who typically do not like kale or similar leafy green vegetable.
What’s more, dino kale is easy to prepare. You can eat both the rib and the leaf either cooked or raw. Washing the dinosaur kale, and then blanching them, will get rid of some of the bitter taste.
This type of kale was once inexpensive. Although dino kale is not terribly expensive, the price has gone up due to increased demand. Rather than buy dinosaur kale at the local grocery store or supermarket, you’ll be better off purchasing kale seeds and growing this veggie in your home garden.
Tips When Growing Dinosaur Kale
Dino kale is easy to grow. It’s not an incredibly picky plant in the garden. As a leafy green vegetable, it does require well-drained soils along with good soil fertility to grow properly.
Dinosaur kale requires a steady supply of nitrogen to produce tender and sweet leaves, so don’t forget to amend your soil with compost before transplanting seedlings and sowing seeds.
Once the dino kale is set, thin them to approximately 12 to 18 inches apart, as this green leafy vegetable will grow to become a fairly big plant. You may also mulch kale using a layer of organic material, such as straw. This will help reduce weeds and keep the soil moist and cool.
Although dinosaur kale can tolerate drought, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can water this leafy green vegetable sparingly. It still prefers steady moisture. The flavor and quality of dino kale leaves will suffer if this veggie becomes too dry. Water your crop as needed to maintain consistent soil moisture.
How to Take Care of Dinosaur Kale
Dinosaur kale is unfortunately vulnerable to the same insects that infest cabbage and broccoli, including nematodes, cabbage aphids, flea beetles and cabbage loopers. This plant can also suffer from diseases, such as black leg, black rot and clubroot.
Growing dino kale during the cooler months of the year can help keep this leafy green veggie free of pests. Think about rotating cabbage family plants to various areas in your garden on a three- to four-year cycle to help minimize plant diseases.
Dishes You Can Make with Dinosaur Kale
As mentioned earlier, dinosaur kale is a versatile vegetable. You can use it as an ingredient for salads or make delicious creamed kale.
Apart from that, you can whip up the following dishes:
Lemony Kale Pasta
Making this hearty weeknight meal is easy. Simply toss dino kale along with lemon, pecorino cheese and any pasta of your choice. Then, cook. This recipe will be filling thanks to the pasta, but feel light from the kale and the lemon.
If you are looking for a healthy alternative to the potato chips you’re buying at your local convenience store, try cooking kale chips right at home. Making this snack is incredibly simple. Bake dino kale in an oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, season the veggie to your liking. Some seasoning suggestions include sea salt, onion powder and smoked paprika.
Crispy Kale Bars
Forget the energy bars you’re getting at vending machines. Check out this recipe to whip up crispy, toasted seed-enhanced power bars that you can bring with you to the office or the gym.
How to Store Kale
If you’ve got leftover dinosaur kale, you’ll want to store it properly. You can freeze kale properly by storing this vegetable wrapped in plastic in the fridge for five to seven days. You also have the option to wrap the stems in moist paper towels. Then, place the wrapped dino kale in the crisper.
Unlike other tender greens, dinosaur kale does not store better if you wash it first, and it may actually start to go limp. Put off this task until you are ready to use the veggie. Once cooked, refrigerate and consume it within a few days.
Dinosaur kale is no longer the icky green leafy vegetable that people (especially kids) only ate when their parents made them. Many are now growing and cooking this trendy and nutritious veggie in their kitchens.