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|Food Buzz: History of Kale|
Beira is a non-heading, loose leaf kale that forms a single basal rosette. It is a large variety averaging 60 centimeters tall by 60 centimeters wide. The broad wavy leaves are aqua-green with thick fleshy white ribs that are similar to those of collard greens and Swiss chard. Beira kale has a succulent and crunchy texture due to its rich water content. The sweet flavor is not at all earthy like other kale varieties, but more comparable to baby green cabbage.
Beira kale is available winter through early spring.
Beira kale is a variety of Brassica oleracea acephala that looks, tastes and grows more like a cabbage than a kale. In fact, there is some debate as to whether it should be categorized as a cabbage variety instead. It is an important ingredient in its native home of Portugal where it is known as Couve Tronchuda. Other common names include, Portuguese cabbage, Portuguese kale, Gallician cabbage, Braganza cabbage and sea-kale.
Beira kale is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
Beira kale is particularly crunchy yet tender, more akin to a young cabbage than kale. It may be eaten raw or cooked. The succulent ribs are sweet and crisp and may be used similarly to celery on a crudité platter or cooked in soup. The entire leaf may be steamed, braised, stewed, fried, sautéed, or left completely raw. It is great in hardy soups which contain smoked meats, potatoes, beans or barley. Other flavor affinities include, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, red pepper flake, nutmeg, shallots, onion, tomato, sweet potatoes, cheddar cheese, Parmesan, cream, roasted meats, chorizo sausage, pancetta and chicken.
Beira kale is the traditional variety used in making the famous Portuguese soup, caldo verde. This “green soup” is composed of broth thickened with mashed potatoes and highlighted by kale and linguica, a delicious pork sausage flavored with paprika and garlic.
Beira kale is a unique variety of kale from Portugal that is remarkably tolerant to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. It thrives in most any well-drained soil, but tends to get tipburn in overly sunny, hot weather. Beira kale is best for spring or fall harvest when it is particularly sweet.
Recipes that include Beira Kale. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Brazil Kitchen Abroad||Caldo Verde - Portuguese Green Soup|