Food For Thought: A Short History of Kale 9 years ago

Food For Thought: A Short History of Kale

We need food and drink to survive, to nourish us and to keep us in tip-top shape. But did you ever wonder about the history behind certain foods and drinks?

This week we’re bringing you the history behind kale.


Kale’s origin dates back over 2000 years and was in fact one of the most widely eaten green vegetables in the Middle Ages.

Its resistance to frost meant that it was particularly popular in colder regions. Varieties of the leafy vegetable existed in hotter areas of the world like Greece ,where it was described as Sabellian kale. This is considered to be the ancestor of the modern-day kales we see today.

Leaf colours in the vegetable can vary from light to dark, to violet and green and also differences can be seen in height with varying stem lengths.

Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant and are members of the Brassica oleracea.


It’s said that Red Russian kale was introduced across the Atlantic into the US and Canada by traders in the 19th century.

Its cultivation was in the UK was encouraged in World War II because it provided vital nutrients and was available to supplement rationing.

And rest they say, is history.



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Image via Wikimedia Commons