February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health MonthFebruary is Heart Health Month. I’m guessing they chose February because of Valentine’s Day and the association with hearts. But, there’s another reason to choose February (or another winter month) for Heart Health Month. And that reason is Kale!

I know you’re probably thinking I am crazy, but bear with me. There is a connection here.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each organ system can be nourished by a specific flavor. The flavors are: Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent/spicy. And, the flavor for the heart is bitter. Bitter is the flavor of dark leafy greens such as escarole, endive, collard greens, parsley, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, broccoli and, you guessed it, kale. These bitter flavored foods can help cool the body.

Heart Healthy Kale

If you buy your vegetables at the grocery store, you may not think that any vegetable has a season. You can buy almost anything year round. In our house, though, we buy most of our vegetables at the farmers market. Our favorite market restricts the vendors to those that grow the products they sell. Kale shows up in the Fall and Winter. In fact, right now, in February, it is one of the most offered vegetables at out market. In fact, many of the greens and bitter vegetables are Winter vegetables.

Love Your Heart

One way to love your heart, then? Eat more Kale.

Eat kale. It's good for your heart! Click To Tweet

Here’s my favorite kale recipe. Or at least my favorite right now. I’ll give you the recipe and at the end suggest ways to make it your own. Enjoy.

Braised Kale

Heart Healthy Kale. Bitter greens are known to support the heart. Here's a fairly simple and very tasty recipe for kale. Read the notes at the end for how to make it your own!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Barbara H. McNeely

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp.
  2. Drain bacon on paper towels, crumble it, and set it aside.
  3. Cook the onion in the bacon grease over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove stems from kale and chop roughly.
  5. Rinse the kale in cold water and drain.
  6. Add the kale to the onions.
  7. Cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add vinegar and reserved bacon.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Make It Your Own:

This recipe can be varied in many ways, here are some suggestions:

  • If you don't have bacon or just want to save time, you can omit the bacon. I do that sometimes and use saved bacon grease. If that makes you cringe, then use olive oil!
  • Another short cut I use often is to use chopped onion in place of fresh. I buy it at Costco in the spice section. It is chopped, dried onion. I put it in the hot grease or oil for a couple of minutes and it's hard to tell the difference.
  • Often, I will double the recipe because it never seems like enough otherwise.
  • DO NO SKIP the red wine vinegar. It really makes the dish!

Want more kale recipes? Sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send you a copy of our latest pdf: All About Kale. Use the form to the left of this post or go to our sign up page.

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Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara McNeely, author and publisher in San Antonio, Texas. I coach authors who have a personal story they want to share in a book. And I consult and guide authors through the process of self-publishing their books.
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