Different Types of Kale: A Comprehensive Guide to Kale Varieties

Different Types of Kale: A Comprehensive Guide to Kale Varieties

There are many different types of kale, with at least 6 main varieties that gardeners can choose from. One of the most common types is Nero di Toscana, also known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. This variety has large dark leaves and is often used to make kale chips or winter soups.

Another popular variety is Redbor kale, which has beautiful purple-red leaves. Black kale, also known as Russian kale, is another type that gardeners often choose for planting. Its dark green leaves and thick stems make it a favorite for soups and stir-fries.

One of the more unique types of kale is Gai Lan, or Chinese kale. This variety has thick, flat leaves and grows in loose heads. Its slightly sweet taste and delicate flavor set it apart from the other kales. Another interesting variety is Siberian kale, which is said to grow best in cold winter gardens. It has curly leaves and adds a little touch of color to any garden.

Kale is a member of the Brassicas family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. It is a cold-weather plant that can withstand frost and is often used as a source of fresh and nutritious greens during the winter months. Unlike other vegetables, kale tends to taste better after a frost, as the cold temperatures improve its flavor.

In addition to being a delicious and nutritious vegetable, kale also has some interesting forms. One of the more popular varieties is the Kale Hendricks, which has ragged leaves and is often used in salads. Another form is Winterbor kale, which has tightly bunched leaves that are great for adding texture to dishes. Finally, there is Portuguese kale, which is known for its dark green leaves and rich flavor.

9 Kale Varieties You’ll Want To Grow

When it comes to salad greens, kale is among the most popular choices. Known for its hearty and nutritious leaves, there are many different varieties of kale to choose from. Each variety has its own unique flavor and characteristics that make it a great addition to any garden. Here are 9 kale varieties that you’ll definitely want to consider growing:

1. Curly Kale: This is the most common kale variety, and its leaves have a thick and curly texture. Curly kale is great for soups, salads, and even chips.

2. Lacinato Kale: Also known as dinosaur kale, Lacinato has long, flat leaves with a dark green color. It has a more subtle flavor compared to other varieties and is perfect for adding to wraps or stir-fries.

3. Redbor Kale: This kale variety has beautiful reddish-purple leaves that add a pop of color to any garden. Its leaves are thick and crinkly, making it great for adding texture to dishes.

4. Siberian Kale: Siberian kale forms a rosette of blue-green leaves that are tender and sweet. It is considered one of the hardiest kale varieties and can withstand colder temperatures.

5. Russian Red Kale: This kale variety has deep purple-red leaves and a milder flavor compared to other kales. It is great for salads, soups, or simply sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

6. Scotch Kale: Scotch kale, also known as Ragged Jack, has dark green leaves and a more delicate flavor compared to other varieties. It is often used in traditional Portuguese dishes.

7. Winterbor Kale: Winterbor kale is a variety that produces attractive, tightly curled leaves. Its leaves are rich in calcium and can be enjoyed in salads or cooked dishes.

8. Portuguese Kale: This kale variety has curly leaves that are dark green in color. It is commonly used in Portuguese cuisine to make delicious soups and stews.

9. Tuscan Kale: Also known as Dino Kale or Italian Black Cabbage, Tuscan kale has dark green leaves with a bumpy texture. It is often used to make crispy kale chips or added to pasta dishes for extra flavor.

When planting kale seedlings or starting from seed, it’s important to care for them properly. Kale tends to thrive in cool weather and should be planted in well-drained soil. Regular watering and fertilization will help promote healthy growth. Harvesting kale leaves when they are young and tender will provide the best flavor.

With so many kale varieties to choose from, there’s sure to be one that suits your taste and gardening needs. Whether you’re looking for a kale variety to add to your salads or to cook in a delicious soup, the diversity of kale makes it a versatile and nutritious vegetable. Start growing your own kale garden and enjoy the benefits of these leafy greens!

Curled Leaf Kales

Curled leaf kales, also known as curly kale or Scotch kale, are a common type of kale that can be found in many grocery stores. They have dark, curly leaves and are typically larger than other types of kale.

There are different varieties of curled leaf kales, each with its own characteristics. Winterbor kale, for example, has deeply curled leaves that form a tight head, making it a great choice for salads. Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, has dark green, crinkly leaves that are sweeter in flavor.

Savoy kales are another type of curled leaf kale. They have curly leaves, similar to Winterbor kale, but with a more ragged appearance. Red Russian kale has reddish-tinted leaves and is sweeter than other types of kale.

Chinese kale, also called Kailaan, is a type of curled leaf kale that is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It has large, olive-green leaves and is often stir-fried or added to soups and stews.

Curled leaf kales are easy to grow and can be planted in the winter or early spring. They usually require little care, although some types may need a little extra attention. For example, Winterbor kale is a winter vegetable, while Lacinato kale is more suited to growing in the spring and summer.

If you want to add more color to your garden or plate, consider planting different varieties of curled leaf kales. They can be a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as a flavorful addition to salads and other dishes.

Jack Hendricks, a garden expert from UF/IFAS, said that there are about 13 different types of curled leaf kales, although some of them may be less common in mass production. One of the most common types is the Vates kale, which has blue-green leaves and curls tightly.

To care for curled leaf kales, keep the soil moist and provide them with plenty of sunlight. They can tolerate some shade, but they will grow best in full sun. Harvest the leaves when they are young and tender for the best flavor.

In summary, curled leaf kales come in different types and have various characteristics. They can be a colorful and nutritious addition to your garden or plate. Whether you prefer the dark, crinkly leaves of Lacinato kale or the curly, ragged leaves of Savoy kale, there is a curled leaf kale for everyone to enjoy.

Common Curly Kale

Common curly kale, also known as green curly kale, is one of the most popular varieties of kale. It is considered to be one of the first types of kale to have been grown, and it is widely appreciated for its flavorful, dark green curly leaves. This variety is typically sweeter and more tender compared to other types of kale, making it a favorite choice among many kale enthusiasts.

Curly kale is a member of the Brassica oleracea species, along with other kale varieties such as Lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale), Redbor kale, and Winterbor kale. Despite their differences, all these kales share similar growing characteristics and taste.

The curly leaves of this kale have a ragged, crinkly appearance, which adds a decorative touch to your garden or plate. The leaves are typically dark green, but there are also reddish and purple-red varieties available, such as Red Russian kale and Red Winter kale.

Common curly kale is versatile in the kitchen and can be used in various dishes. It can be added to salads, stews, and stir-fries, or used as a wrap for sandwiches and burritos. The slightly sweet flavor of curly kale pairs well with a wide range of ingredients, and its leafy mass provides a good source of nutrients.

When planting common curly kale, it is important to keep in mind that it is a cool-season vegetable and can tolerate mild frosts. It is recommended to sow the seeds directly in the garden, starting in early spring or late summer. This variety typically takes about 55-60 days to mature, depending on the specific cultivar and growing conditions.

To start growing common curly kale, prepare the soil by mixing in compost or well-rotted manure. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and space them 12-18 inches apart. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Once the kale plants reach a height of 3-5 inches, you can start harvesting the outer leaves by cutting them with scissors or a sharp knife.

In addition to its flavor and decorative appeal, common curly kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. It also contains antioxidant compounds that have been linked to various health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases.

So, if you’re looking to add some variety to your garden and boost your intake of leafy greens, common curly kale is an excellent choice. Its tasty, colorful leaves and easy-to-grow nature make it a favorite among both beginner and experienced gardeners.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.