Kale and Cavolo Nero

Until the middle ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe.

There are many varieties available and they can be low, intermediate or high length of stem with various leaf types and colours.

Curly Kale

Kale, often known as curly kale, is full of nutrients. It is from the brassica family and is an attractive vegetable, with a deep green colour and curly leaves. Young curly kale leaves can be used as a garnish. Some varieties of green kale are also known as collards or winter greens. Kale can be cooked in similar ways to cabbage. It is necessary to remove the thick stalks before cooking.

Cavolo Nero

Cavolo nero (pictured above) is a type of kale also known as black cabbage or Tuscan kale. It is non-hearting with long strap-like leaves similar to savoy cabbage in texture. It has a blue-green colour that cooks to an intense silver beet green. Cavolo nero can be used the same way as cabbages, or in dishes with a distinct Italian flavour.

What to look for

Choose crisp green leaves with firm stalks.


Kale is usually available late April - September. Cavolo nero is available all year.


Refrigerate in plastic bags.

How to prepare

Remove loose and discoloured leaves. Remove leaves from stalk, wash well, shred or coarsely chop if required. Stuffing or braising; soften whole leaves – blanch, refresh, remove thick central ribs.

Ways to eat

Kale and cavolo nero are versatile vegetables and can be used in a variety of dishes. Use in smoothies or add shredded leaves to mashed potatoes, stir fries, soups, pasta or pies. Bake or dehydrate kale for a crisp snack. Add young tender kale leaves to salad greens.

Cooking Methods

Bake, boil, braise, microwave, sautéed, steam, stew, stir fry, stuff.


Kale is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables. It is a good source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene), C and K plus copper. It is also a source of folate, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and manganese plus potassium. In addition it contains an array of phytonutrients including flavonoids, carotenoids and glucosinolates.


Display on refrigerated shelving. Buy small quantities regularly to ensure freshness. Trim ends and offer pre-packaged bags. Customers may not know how to use kale or cavolo nero, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 0°C with a relative humidity of 90-100%. Kale and cavolo nero are ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing products.

Purchase kale and cavolo nero with the New Zealand GAP logo.


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Roast tomatoes and kale crisps

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