Written by Samuel Phineas Upham
Did you know that kale is a lot like a primitive cabbage? The cabbage has evolved to include many veggies we know and eat every day: broccoli and cauliflower being just two of the more well-known varieties.
Kale is sometimes called “borecole,” but the name “kale” is Scottish in origin. The Greeks used the world “coles” or “caulis,” and the Germans called it “kohl.”
The interesting fact about kale is that none of it is new. We’ve known almost every species of kale currently on the market for at least 2,000 years. They are native to Asia Minor, but they have been shifted frequently by traders throughout the ancient world. Therefore, we don’t know where they originated from.
Though the Greeks grew both kale and collards, they did not make a distinction between the two veggies. It’s likely that the Romans inherited kale from the Greeks, then brought the plant with them during their conquests throughout Europe. Though the Americas first mention kale in the late 1600s, it’s likely that the plant was cultivated far before then and was merely a garden favorite not worthy of a full cookbook.
Today, eating kale is considered the ultimate super food. Nutrition experts have tried for several years to popularize kale because of its nutritional benefits, but the taste is not palatable to everyone. In the West, kale is a primary ingredient in fruit-based shakes, where the nutrition of the plant is gleaned through drinking rather than eating.