Ready for the next hot vegetable to hit your local organic grocer? Then keep your eyes peeled this season for kalette, AKA lollipop kale sprouts, AKA BrusselKale. From that last moniker, you might get the idea that this leafy, new salad vegetable is some kind of a cross between brussels sprout and kale. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what it is!
What is Kalette?
Did you know that brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and kale are all cultivars of the same plant? It’s true! As variations on the plant Brassica oleracea, these vegetables, as well as savoy and bok choy (Chinese cabbage), are all members of the same species, just like a Great Dane and a Chihuahua are both dogs despite their differences.
And just like the Great Dane and the Chihuahua, these B. oleracea variations can be crossed to create new, interesting varieties.
In this case, researchers in Great Britain have crossed brussels sprouts and kale. The result: kalette (plural: kalettes), an innovative green that is tasty, and packed with all the vitamin C and minerals that kale has become so famous for.
Expect this one to be a hit with people who can’t quite bring themselves to like either of kalette’s parents. The combination is reportedly milder than kale and far less earthy than brussels sprouts.
How does kalette look like?
Kalette looks something like a little head of kale growing out of the side of a purplish stem. The leaves and the dark tint of the stem will look familiar to anyone who has bought kale from the store, but the way the leaves group into little flowers is both unique and beautiful.
The little heads are also tantalizing natural portions, each one practically begging to be picked and sauteed in something. There’s no question that people will want to throw this new green into salads, too. In fact, anywhere kale can go, kalette can, too. Considering its purported nutty flavor, it might even find its way into green smoothies, casseroles, and stir-fries. No matter how you plan to use it, the important thing is it’s worth having it.
Is Kalette GMO?
Though it looks like it ought to be a Frankenfood, kalette is a perfectly natural cross-pollination of kale and brussels sprouts. Theoretically, it could have happened by itself, though in this case, British researchers have devoted 15 years to getting it just right. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be grown without the use of pesticides, so when you encounter kalette in your supermarket, be sure to check for the USDA sticker.
Nutrition facts and health benefits of kalettes
Besides being a great vegetable to stoke up upon, these small cabbage heads are loaded with quite generous amounts of certain vitamins. 85g, or a cup and a half of kalettes, guarantee you 40% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, and the astonishing 120% of vitamin K. Furthermore, the same serving of kalettes provides your body with 8%, calcium, 8% iron, 10% vitamin B6, and 4% vitamin A. Besides that, kalette has zeaxanthin and lutein, two carotenoids with antioxidant properties. And just like vitamin A, they help for the preservation of eye health.
Since kalette is one of the best vitamin K food sources there is, it automatically gives us the nutrient’s qualities. Vitamin K is known for its ability to stop excessive bleeding, and improve blood curdling. Vitamin K is crucial for preventing heart disease and maintaining a healthy bone system. Deficiencies of vitamin K may hinder the functions of vitamin D, as both vitamins are narrowly connected.
Of course, with nearly half the recommended daily value for vitamin C in 85g of vegetable, the health benefits of kalette expand even further. Vitamin C is one of the most prominent vitamins, there’s hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of it and its major influence on human health (and animal for that matter). Vitamin C is one of the most common immune stimulators, and is used for the prevention of colds and flu. Many people also use it for the relief from skin infections such as acne, and gum disease, as well as for the relief from HIV and respiratory problems like bronchitis.
Furthermore, the vitamin has been used at some occasions to boost the recovery of infected prostate and gall bladder. Dysentery and stomach ulcers are also positively affected by vitamin C. This important nutrient has been shown to improve iron absorption from food, plus some documentation states that it has been used for depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Where can I buy Kalette?
Though it’s a hit in British stores, it’s already enjoying popularity in American grocery stores and gardens. According to Reuters, a Minnesota-based company called Golden Sun Marketing will soon be promoting kalette to grocery stores in the States.
Seeds are slowly becoming available, too, though kalette’s long growing season might present a challenge for dedicated gardeners. If you’re still looking for a gift for the green thumb in your life, however, the seeds of a brand-new, about-to-be-popular vegetable might be just the thing! You can buy kalette seeds…
In case you use the seeds to grow your own kalettes, or you manage to find fresh kalettes, you may want to learn a few kalettes recipes to enjoy this superfood.
Keep your eyes peeled and your salad tongs at the ready for this up-and-coming trendy green. It may not be long before kalette is the new toast of the town.
Featured image credit: therawfoodworld.com