National Kale Day

You all know that kale is good for you. Maybe you’ve had it in salads or, that trendy snack, kale chips. Now it’s got it’s own national holiday – sort of.

Wednesday October 2, 2013 is National Kale Day.

Usually “National” food days are only recognized in the U.S. However, National Kale Day Canada is celebrating all things kale too.

What Is National Kale Day?

According to the National Kale Day website,

It is a Kale Celebration – a Kale-leigh! Let’s celebrate: kale’s health benefits, kale’s culinary versatility, and the growing, sharing, and enjoyment of eating kale.

People around the globe are recognizing the great things that come from the production and consumption of kale!

Benefits of kale

kale infographic

Source: Nutribullet & Mind Body Green

Types of kale

Kale comes in dozens of colorful varieties, each with its own unique attributes. The downloadable Kale Hero Toolkit highlights the following varietals, most of which appear to be heirloom varieties:

Cavalo kale, lacinato kale, Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale

This well known variety is known by many names: Cavalo, lacinato, Tuscan, and dinosaur kale. If you hear any of these, they’re all the same variety. This variety is a little sweeter in flavor.
Small brag: I helped my food trivia team win one week but correctly identifying it. Kevin, our trivia host and owner of Cheesewerks, told me that the answer put us over.

lacinato kale, cavalo kale, Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale

lacinato kale

Lacinato rainbow mix

A hybrid, this multicolor kale loves the cold and is even more winter hardy than regular Lacinato.

Rainbow Lacinato kale

Rainbow Lacinato

Nagoya kale

Nagoya kale is an ornamental variety whose beautifully fringed leaves turn red in fall.

nagoya kale

Nagoya kale

Vates Blue Curled

National Kale Day calls this “Extra hardy and flavorful” and says that vates kale is ideal for grilled side dishes or kale chips.

Vates Blue Curled Kale

Vates Blue Curled Kale

True Siberian:

Salads. National Kale Day says, “Wonderfully curled and milder in flavor, the young leaves of True Siberian are superb for salads.”

I also found this statement: “True Siberian Kale to me tastes like a mild broccoli and does not require much cooking at all. It has ruffled, blue-green leaves. I use the leaves in salad, soup and stir-fries. I also sauteed with garlic and olive oil and froze in bags for use this winter.” (Source.)

True Siberian Kale

True Siberian Kale

Starbor kale

Another obscure variety is Starbor. National Kale Day’s website says, “Perfect for indoor urban gardens, the Starbor variety produces finely curled leaves year round when planted near a window.” Another website describes it as a hybrid, compact with curly blue-green leaves.

starbor kale

starbor kale

Then there are two more well-known varieties:

Curly kale

Curly kale is the most common variety. You’ll find it at supermarkets, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and CSAs. Curly kale forms in large broad leaves with kinked and curly edges. Varieties of curly kale can range in color from a light green to a dark purple, though most common is a dark green leaf.


curly kale

curly kale

Red Russian Kale

Red Russian kale leaves resemble oak leaves. They can be red or purple. Says the L.A. Times: “Of all of winter’s hardy greens, none are more popular than the many members of the kale family, and dark green, red-stemmed Russian kale may well be the sweetest of all. The tips of the leaves are tender enough to be eaten raw, but they are infinitely improved by cooking. Not only does it tenderize the tough parts of the leaf, but it also brings to the surface a surprising sweetness you might not have expected was there.”

Here’s a fun fact: According to Wikipedia, Russian kale was introduced into Canada by Russian traders in the 19th century. It was introduced to the U.S. later. See? The U.S. doesn’t get everything first.

Red Russian Kale, Red Winter kale

Red Russian Kale


Some people say that “kale is the new beef”, though it has more iron than beef. I think that it’s a great accompaniment to beef, and that it goes really well with animal fat such as bacon. Mark Sisson of primal living website Mark’s Daily Apple recently posted a recipe for Pork Belly Croutons with Kale Salad. For the purists, or those who’d prefer not to eat it with meat, massaging kale leaves with oil and/or salt breaks down the cell walls and makes it easier to chew, sort of like beginning to masticate it for you. That’s the base for a kale salad. There are so many kale salad recipes online that I’m going to let you Google to find your favourite.

Visit the National Kale Day website for resources for parents, teachers and healthcare providers. You can download the “kale hero toolkit”.

Find out how to get involved with National Kale Day: Canada.

Connect with National Kale Day

Twitter: @nationalkaleday, hashtag #nationalkaleday

Tell me:

What’s your favourite way to use kale?

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