Why is kale so expensive?

As kale’s popularity has soared, more and more growers have been planting it...

By Hugh Wennerbom

As kale's popularity has soared, more and more growers have been planting it. Hence this winter, it'll be more reasonably priced. Sure, there'll still be bunches for $6 in upmarket stores, but I've already seen it at $2 a bunch in some supermarkets and greengrocers.

The mania for kale over the last 18 months has been remarkable nonetheless. It reminds me of the fad for kale's sibling, cavolo nero, a decade or so ago, and the craze for wild rocket a decade before that. It's more intense, though, because kale's moment has been driven by a zeal for its supposed health benefits.

For those of us who take our super-foods with a grain of salt and pepper, I can highly recommend it as a worthwhile addition to the veggie patch. Kale, like cavolo nero, is a kind of cabbage that doesn't form a head. It's easy to propagate and enjoys frosty mornings. The leaves are very firm; so much so that you can deep-fry them or drizzle them with oil and crisp them up in a hot oven. I like to shred mine finely and sauté it quickly - long enough just to wilt - and finish with a smidge of garlic. I serve it as a bitter foil to rich food, such as duck confit.

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  • Author: Hugh Wennerbom