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Kale/kail (brassica oleracea)

A form of brassica. Most types are tall with thick stems, the most popular for human consumption being crisp with curled leaves; but some are quite ornamental with pink or white markings on the leaves. All have tougher texture and a stronger flavour than cabbage.

Kale, the name that has stuck, is in fact the Scottish name - as for centuries the Anglo-Saxon names 'cole' or 'colewart' were more commonly used in most of Britain.

It has been popular as animal feed, but although coarse in texture, can be treated all the fashionable ways given to cavolo nero; blanching the leaves in water, before finishing them by gently cooking them with olive oil and a little garlic, is particularly successful.

Kale is a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C and Niacin - as well as chlorophyll and many minerals.

It is still grown specifically for winter cattle and sheep feed. See 'Cavolo Nero'

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