Thursday, July 31, 2014

Brassica oleracea var. sabellica L.

Summer is not the right season to write about Brassica oleracea var. sabellica L. vulgo kale or borecole in English and Grünkohl (green cabbage) or sometimes Braunkohl in German. We call Grünkohl a Wintergemüse (winter vegetable), so on my last two visits to the States I was greatly surprised to find kale in restaurants as a preferred salad.

Boerenkool by ©Rasbak (Wikipedia)
Why do I mention it? Today Alexander Hofmann wrote in the Badische Zeitung about: Grünkohl down under. Kale as superfood has now conquered the younger generation in Australia. There are kale smoothies, kale chips, and kale in pancakes. There is strong competition for kale leaves between the young people down under and those Australian rabbits so prices are soaring.

Why is this kind of cabbage so popular? We read in Wikipedia: Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.

The origin of the two English words kale and borecole is quite interesting. Kale comes from the Scandinavian kål and the German Kohl (cabbage) whereas borecole originates from the Dutch boerenkool and the Lower German Burenkohl (farmer's cabbage).

Kale is most popular in north-western Germany around the towns of Bremen, Oldenburg and Hannover. Following the first night of freezing temperatures* the kale leaves are harvested, cooked and stewed. The stew is eaten together with Bratkartoffeln (roasted potatoes), Kassler (smoked pork shop), Mettwurst sausage, or Pinkel (groats sausage).
*It is said that kale needs some frost to "sweeten" its somewhat bitter taste

Red Baron loves kale that unfortunately is mostly unknown in southern Germany. Every winter season I am tempted to take the train north for a real good meal of stewed kale.

Not enough kale but too much meat ©Wittkowsky (Wikipedia)
The picture taken from Wikipedia although gives a wrong impression: Red Baron prefers his dish with lots of kale, a few roasted potatoes, and just one sausage.

Is there some hope that, following the example of the Australians, my country fellows living below the Weißwurstäquator (the Main river) will eventually discover the virtues of kale?

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