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Kale: 5 varieties and how to use them.

The queen of 21st century vegetables, adopted by Beyonce’s stylist and then turned into crisps; “kale”, is yet to be overthrown. Google trends confirm that Kale’s popularity has “stabilized”. Foley’s have featured it as a star of their Veggie dish as well as accompanying their hake, Gilbert Scott have it alongside some smoked aubergine tortellini to add texture; While having kale in a dish may give the health-conscious yummy mummy a justification to eat at your restaurant, there is plenty more reasoning to feature it on your Autumn menu. Roast, dehydrate & deep fry for a crunchy texture, braise & steam to utilise the rich earthiness is can give to dishes.

Sutton Community Farm, one of our producers often sell up to 5 different types of kale. So what’s the difference between all of these? Is there even a difference? Foodchain have looked into all of these sorts and summarised in short, which kale you should want for which dish.

Dwarf Kale


Besides looking “cute” due to its smaller size, it’s easier to position for fine-dining dishes where presentation is paramount. It’s attractive, with tightly frilled leaves, being part of the Scotch kale family, it’s best for making kale chips to add textures to dishes due to the extra curls.

Scarlet Kale


With a deep, dark, red-purple colour, this is the prettiest of kale varieties; you could even keep it in your restaurant as an ornamental pot plant, tear a few leaves off every now and then and claim you have a London kitchen garden. It’s great edible plate décor and while young makes a delicious salad leaf.

Red Russian kale


Red Russian Kale has flat leaves which look a little like giant bits of rocket. The leaves can have a slight red or burgundy tinge to the stems. While it’s a very woody, making it difficult to chew or break up into pieces, it makes up for this in its beautiful sweetness and pepperiness.

Cavolo Nero


The most elegant of kales, Cavolo Nero has heartier, dark — blue-green leaves which give wonderful deep colour to a plate as well as offering a firmer texture when cooked. It’s not as bitter as curlier kale varieties and has a delicate nutty sweetness to it. Cavolo Nero still makes great kale chips, but being gentler in flavour is the best option for accompanying a white fish.

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