Thursday, November 11, 2010

Superoxide Dismutase is Expialidoshus

Redbor kale at Chicago Botanic Garden (September 2010)

Superoxide Dismutase is Expialidoshus,
Even if the sound of it is something quite atrocious.
If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious,
Superoxide Dismutase is Expialidoshus!

Kale is rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrients. For example, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD,) is an important phytonutrient, an antioxidant abundantly present in kale. Kale is an all-around nutritional powerhouse; rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, lutein, beta-carotene, omega-3 (ALA,) at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. It's a sulfur-rich vegetable, which in part accounts for its reputation as a detoxifying, medicinal superfood. Sulforaphane is formed when sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables such as kale are chopped and chewed. Sulforaphane triggers the liver's production of detoxifying enzymes, helping the body cleanse itself of some of the dangerous environmental and ingested toxins we're exposed to in this chemical age.

We're growing kale in our garden for the first time. I didn't know much about it when it was planted, only that it looked cool, and would be one of the hardiest vegetables I'd ever grown. While this might be the first time kale has grown here, it won't be the last now that I know what a fantastic food it is. And, while most of the veggies are now toast following a killing frost last week, our kale is still beautiful and delicious. We can expect to still be harvesting it for weeks to come, even here in our zone 5 garden. In fact, like brussels sprouts, the flavor of kale improves and becomes even sweeter with the frost and typically chilly weather of November in Chicago.

There are many delicious ways to enjoy kale, either raw or cooked. It can even be a beneficial addition to a beloved pet's diet. George enjoys it immensely. He eats his kale raw, finely chopped and mixed in with his homemade, whole-foods diet. Kale is one of a variety of nutritious vegetables recommended by George's new holistic veterinarian. It's so rewarding knowing I'm growing some of the food that is nourishing him through his remarkable recovery from a number of geriatric health challenges.

Back in September, when I met up with Monica, Diane, Rose, and Beckie at Chicago Botanic Garden, we saw Redbor kale not only in the vegetable gardens, but also in ornamental plantings throughout the gardens. As you can see in the photo, it is really beautiful. For ornamental gardeners who don't have dedicated vegetable growing space, consider adding kale to your ornamental beds for its beauty, and be sure to harvest some for your kitchen for your own inner beauty and good health!


  1. Hi GG,

    I do have it growing in my planter boxes. Maybe I had better take another look at this for my veggie garden next year. It is very attractive!


  2. Oh, Linda, this is brilliant! I love redbar Kale and it manages to survive most winters here to bloom in the spring. It looks gorgeous with pink tulips (if those pesky rodents don't eat them). Thank you for a Mary Poppins flashback along with great information. gail

  3. Anonymous10:48 AM

    A couple of weeks ago Kale was a hot topic on Twitter and I resolved to grow more of it next year. It is nutritious as you mention, but also a really interesting plant just to look at.

  4. Hi Linda! How very nice to explore your blog again. Lovely and very interesting post. I love kale and I grow them every yesar in my potager. It is so good for you, pure health food.


  5. I have been really interested in growing kale for its aesthetic properties, now I'd like to have it even more for the nutrition and its cold-hardiness!

  6. Redbor is beautiful Eileen. I haven't grown it (yet!) I think it might be less hardy than some other kales, but it's so pretty I'm sure I'd enjoy it however long it lasts.

    Glad you enjoyed it Gail! When I read "Superoxide Dismutase," Mary Poppins was the next thing to pop into my head! I remember your spring-blooming kale. It's so cool it makes it through the winter! I may try growing redbor next year - probably wouldn't survive our winter, but it sure is pretty.

    I think kale's beautiful MBT! We have lacinato (dinosaur kale,) here. It's the prettiest deep blue-green color, and the texture of the leaves is fantastic.

    Hi Tyra! Thanks for visiting. Now that I've finally grown it, I can't imagine not growing it. I'm amazed how nutritious kale is.

    It's quite an amazing plant Rose - really beautiful, delicious, and wonderfully hardy. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts in the cold. Based on what I learned researching kale, it seems like it might be about the most nutritious thing we could plant in our gardens.

  7. Now I'll be singing this tune every time I look at my vegetable garden, Linda:) I grew some kale for the first time this year, but I've been simply admiring its attractive foliage, which still looks good in mid-November. Instead, I really should pick some and add this to my--and Sophie's--diet!

  8. I'll have to search for recipes using this neglected vegetable. I love all the unusual veggies...Maybe this deserves a try.Balisha

  9. Hi gardengirl
    Hmm, kale sound like a formidable vegetable when I read your blog. But, girl, I prefer chocolate anyway :o). Chocolate makes me happy while eating, kale not really :o). But your right it looks great!
    Take care

  10. It's a catchy little tune isn't it Rose!

    I think it's really cool that kale is so pretty, even this late in the season, and so healthful too.

    I think you'd like it Balisha. There are lots of delicious ways to prepare it. As I experiment more with it, I'll post some recipes. As soon as I can get to it, I'll post a yummy salad recipe I tried last weekend.

    Hi Alex, mmmm. . . chocolate! I love it too. If it wasn't for the sugar, it would be a really healthy food too - lots of antioxidants in cacao! :)

  11. I love the look, I love the taste of kale, Linda, and love this cute post. Just made an awesome autumn soup (posted 11/4) kale and butternut squash, the stars. The kale, so gorgeous, I photographed it! I often use it instead of spinach.

  12. I'll definitely check out your recipe Joey. I love squash, and the combo with kale sounds yummy and nutritious!


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