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Red Kale, also known as Red Russian Kale, is a purple/burgundy coloured variety of the curly green kale most food lovers are familiar with. Featuring wide dark green fronds with brilliant magenta veins and deep purple stems, Red Russian kale is one of the few kale varieties with a sweet edible stem and soft leaves. It has a slightly less intense earthy taste and is a touch sweeter than green kale. The leaves are also a little more tender and delicate. Red Kale is typically ready for harvest in Ontario in late summer. Although still perfectly delicious, naturally grown kale is known to have slight blemishes and holes from hungry insects.
Kale is very fibrous and nutritious. It is best enjoyed chopped up into salads or sauteed into stir-frys and pastas. Kale leaves, due to their fibre and thickness, are excellent for making into chips! It is best kept in the fridge and can be frozen for longer storage. Red kale adds a beautiful vibrant burgundy colour to fresh salads.
Kale originated from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. It's earliest known cultivation for food was by 2000 BCE. Red Kale was was first introduced to Canada by Russian traders in the 19th century, who brought it from Siberia where it was first cultivated. Kale is a hearty leafy green, and can thrive in mildly-cold temperatures. Kale can taste a little sweeter after a heavy frost. There are many variations of kale; they can come in curly, flat, or bumpy leaves. Kale can come in leaves ranging from dark, bluish green to burgundy-red.