Kale provides great nutrition all year round. (Submitted)

Kale provides great nutrition all year round. (Submitted)

Mary Lowther column: Kale has long history, and long list of nutrients

Egyptians ate it, 4,000 year old Chinese pottery contains fossilized kale remnants

By Mary Lowther

Soup was Mom’s forté, but she didn’t call it soup. All her delicious elixirs were dubbed “kale”, even if they never contained the stuff. “That’s what we called it back in Scotland,” she explained, so presumably soups back then were based on kale, and it probably explains why mom was so healthy. She was never sick growing up and developed strong bones and teeth even though she never drank milk.

Her traditional kale-rich diet explains her robust health and bone strength because the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index gives kale the highest nutritional score possible. Kale contains mega amounts of vitamins A, C and K plus iron and calcium. Dr. Annemarie Colbin, author of the book The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones, says that with protein, kale protects bone health better than calcium from dairy. Abundant in trace minerals and phytonutrients, kale also has few oxalates. Oxalates interfere with the uptake of calcium and magnesium.

Some paleobotanists speculate that forerunners of kale may have fed the dinosaurs since fossilized leaf impressions resemble today’s kale. Egyptians ate it, 4,000 year old Chinese pottery contains fossilized kale remnants, and an ancient Turkish saying translates as: “Every leaf of kale you chew adds another stem to your tree of life.” I could use another stem or two.

Given how seedlings from kale that has gone to seed in my yard continue to pop up every year in sidewalk cracks, behind the shed and everywhere there’s a spare inch of soil, I understand how widespread it has become. Because it’s so easy to grow, one might be tempted not to bother developing rich soil for it, but that would be a mistake. I want ALL my food to contain as much nutrition as possible to add a healthy stem to my tree of life, so I give kale the same tender care as everything else and it rewards me all year long.

Although kale will grow in the shade, the most nutritious results come when they receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. I prepare the soil in the spring by digging under the winter cover crop then spreading a quarter inch of compost and letting that sit for two weeks to let the crop degrade and the birds have at the compost. Then I sprinkle my fertilizer over the bed at the rate of four litres per hundred square feet and rake that in, then sow the kale seeds down the bed in a row because that’s where I’ll lay the soaker hose once the seedlings are up. As I thin them out gradually to their final position at 18 inches apart, I eat the thinnings.

Here’s a nice recipe for Kale, Fish and Potato Cakes:

4 cups mashed potatoes (I leave skins on for more nourishment and fibre)

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried dill

¼ tsp. nutmeg

2 cups finely chopped kale

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup minced green onions

2/3 cup grated cheese

1 pound fish (canned or leftover)

Oil for frying ground nuts for coating

Mix everything except the oil and nuts in a large bowl. Form into flattened cakes, coat with ground nuts and fry in oil until nicely browned on both sides. You can add corn to the mixture and serve with salsa or applesauce or maybe butter melted with herbs or lemon or garlic. Fried onions on top might be nice too.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: It’s the highway’s fault!

One component of Vision Zero (our current road safety strategy) is highway design.

Moira Mercer spent her summer riding her e-bike around Cowichan Lake and beyond, collecting any empties she found along the way. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan 2020 in review — conclusion

What were your top stories from 2020?

Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Garden additions at request of staff

I’ll sow the catnip in flats on the seed table inside

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Most Read