I was introduced Kale quite accidentally and ever since then have tried to know more about it. In fact, I’ve talking to people about ‘the most nutritious leafy vegetable’ belonging to the cabbage family. Scientifically known as Brassica oleracea, Kale is known as ‘karmasag’ in UP and Bihar while in J&K called Haak. It’s only in Jammu and Kashmir that it’s considered a delicacy and used in meat preparations and in salad.
Grown all around the globe where the temperature conditions are not extreme, Kale is available throughout the year and can grow anywhere and in any soil. According to WHO “Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and one way to be sure to enjoy the most nutrition and flavor from kale is to cook it properly.”
Says the website worlds’ healthiest foods (whfoods.com): “While not as well researched as some of its fellow cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, kale is a food that you can count on for some unsurpassed health benefits, if for no other reason than its exceptional nutrient richness. In our own website food rating system, kale scored 4 “excellents,” 6 “very goods,” and 10 “goods”—for a total of 20 standout categories of nutrient richness! That achievement is difficult for most foods to match.”
Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, Kale has been studied more extensively in relationship to cancer than any other health condition. This research focus makes perfect sense. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates.
Also called Collard, its leaves are slightly tougher than cabbage and so need longer cooking time. They can be cooked in any style a green leafy vegetable is cooked. The tender leaves are good in salad, excellent in soup and meat, and make for a tasty nutritious smoothie with a seasonal fruit.
Ever since Kale happened to me I’ve been trying to acquire its seeds and my best bet is a Kashmiri. My friend AS, a Kashmiri I have known for years and settled in Mumbai has promised to source the seeds.
“Next month my wife is going to her place. I will ask her bring haak seeds,” said AS.
We made a deal on the phone. “You give me the seeds and I promise my first harvest will be your reward,” I told him.