The Best Kale for Soup: Lacinato aka Tuscan aka Dinosaur Kale

KaleToday I woke up without a voice. My throat hurts. I feel a cold coming on. Winter virus season has arrived.

My mother-in-law hung up on me when my squeaky pseudo-voice led her to believe she had the wrong number. I wanted to disabuse her of this notion, but I couldn’t get the words out. I don’t blame her for hanging up; I sounded more like a fax machine than a human being.

When I feel like this, I want soup, and don’t want to work too hard to get it.

The refrigerator is full of supplies. I still have Lacinato Kale from Arctic Organics, bought at the last Farmer’s Market of the year, as well as a full complement of soup vegetables – carrots, celery, and leeks – from my Full Circle Farm CSA box.

Lacinato is an Italian heirloom kale with dark green leaves that are long, narrow and dimpled. It has many names: black cabbage, black kale, Cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, Nero Di Toscana, and Tuscan kale.

In “The Best Kales,” Mother Earth magazine decreed Lacinato is “the best bet for improving kale’s popularity among those yet unacquainted with its charms.” A kale grower quoted by Mother Earth agreed: “It is not the most productive, the most cold hardy or the most uniform, but ‘Lacinato’ is the most sought-after by customers – and by the farm crew, too.”

Lacinato kale is just right for soup because it doesn’t disintegrate or fall apart if cooked for a long time. Even after it’s reheated, kale retains its integrity. Its earthy-but-sweet flavors blend well with beans, a highly desirable soup ingredient.

Besides tasting good, Lacinato kale is good for you. In its newsletter, organic retailer Seeds of Change quotes studies showing kale has more phytonutrients than any other vegetable, and abundant vitamins and minerals.

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


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