February 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.
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.
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.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 small onion
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, crumble it, and set it aside.
- Remove and reserve kale stems. Cut along leaf on each side of the stem.
- Roughly chop the leaves.
- Cut stems into small pieces. (optional)
- Dice the onion.
- Cook the onion and kale stems in the bacon grease over medium heat until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the kale to the onions and stems. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The kale leaves should turn bright green.
- Add the red wine vinegar and the bacon.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- 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 NOT SKIP the red wine vinegar. It really makes the dish!
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