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Best Types of Kale to Grow

 6 Best Kale Varieties to Grow in Your Garden

Find the perfect kale variety to grow for all your favorite recipes.

Kale has become very popular in the last couple of years and is very easy to grow in the garden. It's also easy to add this nutritional powerhouse to all kinds of recipes, from smoothies to kale chips. However, there are many varieties of kale to choose from, and some are delicious to eat. A few are even tender enough to eat raw. Here are six of the best kale varieties to grow in your garden, so you can give this leafy green a fresh start to use in your kitchen.

1 Ornamental Kale

You've probably seen this type of kale used for decoration in fall containers and gardens, so you might think it's not for eating. The texture is a bit tough, but ornamental or flowering kale is actually edible. This variety is one of the most beautiful of the kale family, with colors ranging from purple, pink, magenta, and white. The leaves form a rosette shape and look stunning when planted with other popular falls plants such as mums and ornamental peppers. It also makes a beautiful garnish on a plate.

2 Lacinato Kale

This type of cabbage is also known as 'Tuscan' kale because it was grown in Italy, or dinosaur kale due to its compact, almost rubbery-looking texture, resembling a reptile. The leaves are dark, bluish-green, and very thin without curling. It resembles savoy cabbage in its shape, but not in color. This variety is often called for in Italian recipes.

3 Common Curly Kale

This is the type of kale you find in the grocery store. Generally, it is deep green in color with very jagged edges. It is often used in salads, soups, stir-fries, or smoothies. A popular variety to grow is 'Dwarf Blue Curled Watts', which reaches 12 inches tall and matures in about 55 days.

4 Siberian Kale

The blue-green leaves are curled at the edges like curly leaf parsley. It's not often found in grocery stores, but it's one of the best kale varieties for a raw salad because of its smooth texture and low bitterness. Frosting sweetens and enhances the flavor of this kale variety, which is very cold-tolerant. A popular variety is called 'Dwarf Siberian', which attains a height of about 16 inches and reaches maturity in about 50 days from sowing.

5 Chinese Kale

Although it is also called gai lan or Chinese broccoli, this plant is still part of the kale family. The leaves are flat, shiny, and blue-green in color. The stems of Chinese kale are thick like asparagus but have a much sweeter flavor. The dark, glossy leaves have a bitter, earthy smell. This variety is deliciously steamed, fried, or added to Asian-inspired soups.

6 Red Russian Kale

It is an heirloom type of kale that looks like large blue-green oak leaves with a red or purple tinge. In cold weather, the red becomes more intense, but when cooked, the leaves turn completely green. This variety is the hardest of all kales because it originally came from Siberia and was brought to Canada by Russian traders in the late 1800s. The leaves have a very mild, sweet flavor that makes them an excellent choice for salads.


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