These cabbage like plants are native to the eastern Mediterranean or to Asia Minor. They have been in cultivation for so long and have been so shifted about by prehistoric traders and migrating tribes, that it is not certain which of those two regions is the origin of the species.

Kale has a strong flavour and is very nutritious. Predominantly a winter vegetable, it can be used as a green vegetable or added to soups, stews and casseroles. Kale is an ingredient of many national dishes, for example colcannon which is a traditional Halloween dish in Ireland, caldo verde which is a traditional Portugese soup, or as a green to accompany Brazils national dish Feijoada. Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland also have a long history of using kale as part of the traditional diet.

It is available from February to October.

Kale is a very good source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K and carotenoids.