Kale was cultivated in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. It still grows wild in parts of Europe. In Scotland, kale was a a very important crop and is still widely eaten there too. Eventhe pot that kale soup was cooked in is called kail.
The town of Kaleland, Alberta was named by Scottish settlers after the vegetable. In Scotland, a vegetable garden (also known as a cabbage patch) is called a "kale yard". (Canadian Food Words by Bill Casselman, p 231)
Secrets of the Seed: Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts by Barbara Friedlander p 40
Kale, can be handled and cooked like other hardy greens and cabbages:
- raw and in salads
- sautéed and wilted
- in soups
- dehydrated or dried as chips
Kale has a taste that is like green cabbage but stronger. It pairs well with other vegetables and aromatics that grow in similar climates such as: garlic, tomatoes, beans, onion, herbs, olives, and also goes well with meats, fish and cheeses.
Slice it thinly after removing the thick ribs to avoid the need for a lot of chewing. The cellular fibres are quite strong. Kale leaves can actually be gently massaged with a bit of olive oil and salt which helps to tenderize it.