Friday, 29 October 2010

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Kale/grønkål/羽衣甘蓝 [yǔ yī gān lán]


From 8 months, though I prefer to be cautious and serve it to J around 10 months.

Directions:
1. Wash, rinse and de-leave 6 stalks by cutting off the stem.

2. Steam for 5-7 mins

3. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and puree with blender

Storage:
1. Cool down, pour into ice cube tray and freeze.

2. Once frozen, knock the cubes out and store them in freezer bags (makes 1 ice cube tray, can store up to 8 weeks)

Nutritional Value:
The leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. It has gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients.

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium.

Human population as well as animal studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer.

A study of Chinese women in Singapore, a city in which air pollution levels are often high putting stress on the detoxification capacity of residents' lungs, found that in non-smokers, eating cruciferous vegetables lowered risk of lung cancer by 30%. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk an amazing 69%!

Warning:
1. Kale contains measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kale.

2. Green leafy vegetables like kale contains nitrates and should not be served to babies under 8 months old. If you prefer to make your own homemade baby vegetables, an alternative is to choose organic produce. Organics do not use commercial nitrate fertilizers and thus the risk of nitrate contamination/concentration is minimized, but not eliminated. Around the age of three months, an increase in the amount of hydrochloric acid in a baby's stomach kills most of the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite. By the time a baby is six months old, its digestive system is fully developed, and none of the nitrate-converting bacteria remain. In older children and adults, nitrate is absorbed and excreted, and methemoglobinemia is no longer a concern. Adults are not affected by nitrates or nitrites because their stomachs produce acids that fight the bacteria that help convert nitrates into nitrites.

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Additional Information:
I am tired of serving broccoli to J and am looking for another super green… and then I found this super vegetable, kale, from the book Super Baby Food. For the benefit of Wimin, I bought the kale from Irma Supermarket. It is in season in Denmark right now, so it is very cheap - 15kr. 1 whole packet.

Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

To get the most benefit from your cruciferous vegetables like kale, be sure to choose organically grown varieties (their phytonutrient levels are higher than conventionally grown), and steam lightly (this method of cooking has been shown to not only retain the most phytonutrients but to maximize their availability).

Tips for Adults:
For stir-fry recipe, see this link http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3089617&l=47f37dd88d&id=705043347

References:
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

http://articles.smashits.com/articles/home-and-garden/83926/baby-food-carrots-contain-what-nitrates-and-homemade-baby-food.html

http://chihe.sohu.com/20070630/n250841548.shtml

You can buy from Netto Supermarket, pre-cut and pre-rinsed for 18 DKK per pack of 250g. Very easy and convenient :-) If you buy this packet, you don't have to use any salad spinner to spin dry. You just need to pat dry with kitchen towel.

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