The Brassica naups varieties from Knold & Top belong to same species as Hannover-salad, nabicol and Siberian kale (rape kales). Those kales have been selected over the last centuries as a Brassica naups leaf vegetable. Parallel to this the oil crop of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) was selected for oil and seed yield. From around 1960 the oil crop developed into one of the biggest oil crops of the world because new qualities of the oil and seed were discovered (canola) and bred into the crop.
Our kale varieties have been selected out of oilseed rape, their seeds have the canola quality and their leaves have the rape kale quality - or in our opinion: An improved rape kale quality.
We discovered new genetic backgrounds without the strong bitter taste normally present in leaves of oilseed rape. This makes the leaves of our kale varieties very tasty. The Knold & Top varieties are as closely related to rape kales as an English foxhound is to a Siberian Husky. But our varieties are even less bitter compared to a classical rape kale (Siberian). The Knold & Top varieties have a mild but still distinct taste. Through crossings we are trying to combine the properties from our new salad types with traits from the old rape kales to breed disease resistant, tasty salads with new shapes and colors.
Like the leaves from the cabbage family colza leaves are rich sources of glucosinolates. To some extent glucosinolates prevent certain types of cancer, diabetes 2 and other diseases.
Our new kales are more productive than B. oleraceae kales and 30 % - 50 % higher leaf yields per sq. meter have been recorded. Furthermore harvest can be made up to 5 days earlier. In general they are more resistant to downy mildew compared to Brassica oleracea kales although exceptions can be found among varieties.
From some of the varieties the leaves on big plants (until start of flowering) taste like pointed cabbage. The winter types produce a very tasty salad in the early spring where other salad alternatives are very few in the gardens.
5 varieties of colza kale have been tested for baby leaf salad production. Click for info.
Use of Brassica napus kales
The baby leaves can be used alone or mixed with other baby leaves. They can be eaten raw or slightly cooked. Big leaves are coarser than baby leaves and should be chopped, fried or boiled.