Kale is a vegetable that is full of fiber, vitamins A, K, C, B6, B3, Iron, Calcium, and Copper. What makes kale appealing is that it is easy to grow, and it comes in many different varieties.
Different types of kale have different flavors, textures, colors, and various benefits, depending on how they are being used. Some kale is best eaten raw in salads, others are better braised or baked into chips. In fact, some are ideal for soups and smoothies.
#1. Winter Red Kale
Winter Red kale is an excellent winter garden vegetable. Interestingly, all kale varieties are great winter vegetables, as lots of them can survive in cold temperatures. This variety possesses smaller sized leaves, which are flat with wide, well-spaced teeth.
The leaves are green in hue with bright red stems and stalks. It has a tender texture that blends perfectly into the salad with a light olive oil-based dressing.
#2. Scarlett Kale
This kale variety has a dark purple color, they are curled in nature. The leaves are firm and crunchy. They are best eaten raw. Scarlett Kale matures slower than some varieties, it takes approximately 60 days but that is to ensure that the deepest red shade of all the kale varieties is developed as well as to gain a sweeter and lighter taste than other green-colored vegetables. They are resistant to cold temperatures. Scarlett kale most times benefits when grown beside herbs such as thyme, sage, and mint.
#3. Tronchuda Kale
This variety is relative to the Portuguese, it is easily noticeable from others by its unique appearance. Its leaves are soft, open, circular, and bluish green. Its stem can be white or light green. It thrives well in both hot and cold climates, it adapts easily. Plants mature in 55 days.
Tronchuda’s soft, thick leaves make it suitable for making juice. It is preferred because it is one of the easiest kale varieties to germinate. It is short but can grow to a fairly large, 8-inch diameter. Its shape resembles that of collard and it tastes like mild cabbage.
#4. Abundance Kale
It is micro kale, green in color. Because it is small in size, it makes it a favorite variety to grow in a container garden since it does not take up much space. They grow multiple times in a single season. This variety is rich in antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol which are strong disease-fighting allies.
#5. Lacinato Kale
This variety is rare amongst other varieties. It thrives well in hot and dry climates. It is of Italian origin. It originates from Tuscany. It has thick leaves which make them suitable for boiling and braising. It can be added to stews and soups to boost its flavor and nutrient.
#6. Red Russian Kale
This variety has a red stem. Its leaves are soft, thin, and light green that darken when cooked. Its leaves are also wide-toothed. Younger leaves are delicious when eaten raw while mature leaves are perfect in salads.
Red Russian has the highest amount of vitamins and minerals amongst other varieties. It is incredibly high in calcium which strengthens bones, vitamin C, and iron. This kale variety is also highly resistant to diseases and pests that harm most other brassicas.
#7. Siberian Kale
Siberian Kale has long, thin stems with plenty of glossy, small, round leaves that are held firmly on the stem. The plant is also called annual rape or rape kale. It is unique because its seeds produce oil and its flower is yellowish in color.
The oil produced is known as rapeseed oil, it is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The oil is referred to as canola oil in North America. It is not advisable to eat this variety raw, because the taste of its firm leaf can irritate the taste buds. It is best eaten when cooked.
#8. Gai Lan
Gai Lan is also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale. This variety has a thick, light green stalk that separates into smaller stalks halfway up the shoot. The leaves are dark green and are shaped like inverted teardrops. They are almost glossy in appearance and have a strong, almost bitter taste. As such, they are often served in sweetened sauces.
#9. Vates Blue Curled Scotch Kale
This variety has dark, extremely curly blue-green leaves. This is the curliest kale variety ever known. The twisty, semi-firm leaves are a perfect and nutrient-dense addition to salads.
Because of its frilly texture, it might be too overwhelming for some to eat raw. They grow well in containers and do not bolt in high temperatures.
#10. Walking Stick Kale
Walking Stick Kale is quite noticeable in any garden because it can grow to over 6 feet tall if permitted. It draws its name from the fact that if its stem is dried out, it can be used as a sturdy cane or walking stick.
This variety has a straight, sturdy stem that opens up at the very top of the plant into multiple huge green leaves. Due to its impressive size, it requires more attention than most other varieties. The plants should be watered regularly at a rate of about 2 inches per week and the soil’s PH balance should be ensured not to go overly acidic.
It is also important to ensure that the overall climate the plant is growing in stays at a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Its huge leaves are still absolutely edible and delicious. Their large size makes them ideal as gluten-free spring roll or tortilla wrappers. In certain African cuisines, the leaves are also used as edible plates and serving platters.