A friend of mine once told me that her mother used to persuade her to eat Brussels sprouts by telling her they were “fairy cabbage”. Little did I realise that nearly 40 years later I would remember this story whilst looking at a packet of small, frilly greens. Kalettes, when they aren’t being a superfood, are definite contenders for the “fairy cabbage” title. When they were first bred by Tozer Seeds they were called “flower sprouts” (and even “Brukale” according to one source) but the Americans decided to market them under the name “kalette” to stress the link to kale rather than sprouts.
At first sight they look like sprouts that have failed to heart up. If you’ve ever grown unsuccessful sprouts (as I did one year) you’ll know what I mean. However, because of the kale part of their parentage they have red, frilly edges to the leaves and look much more like miniature cabbage than failed sprouts.
The taste is mild Brussels sprout with an after taste of kale. Julia says it just tastes like mild kale to her. I suppose it has elements of both parents and seems like different things to different people.
The texture, though not as crunchy as a sprout, is nice and crisp when cooked correctly. (Though see my comments on that in the next couple of paragraphs).
We had two meals out of the bag, one lot we put in boiling water for four minutes. They came out crisp and perky and were very enjoyable.
I steamed the second lot and mis-timed it (about ten minutes). They came out a floppy and overdone. This was my fault though, not the fault of the kalettes.
There are other ways of cooking Kalettes, though I haven’t tried any of them yet. I’ve been back to the shop several times in the last two weeks and haven’t seen any on sale, so have not been able to buy more to practice with.
They are, as I think I said a week or so back, very nutritious. It has twice the Vitamin C and B6 of Brussels sprouts. It is also high in Vitamin K, folate, fibre and carotenoids. I’m not sure what they all do, but I’m sure that the more you have the better it will be for you.
All in all, they are highly recommended – they look better on the plate than a pile of kale and taste better, whilst they cook quicker and don’t need peeling like Brussels.
They are also the first vegetable I have known to have its own Twitter page. (I will avoid obvious jokes about some of our less cerebrally able sports and reality “stars” here.)
If you want to grow your own, ask Mr Fothergill.