Hail, Kale!


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

This is the time of year when I appreciate kale the most. Yes, I use it in summer, particularly in morning smoothies. But now that my lettuce is done, green beans are long past, and even Swiss chard is finished, my kale gets used more than ever. Only Brussels sprouts are out in the cold with the kale.

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Kale is an easy crop to grow. It does best in full sun with lightly moist, rich dark soil. But I have some growing in partial shade by a plum tree, and it has done fine. And it is absolutely frost hardy. In fact, I think it is tastier after frost.

Kale in december is still good to eat.

There are many types of kale, and I suppose I have tried them all. But I return, year after year, to Winterbor, Ripbor, Starbor and Redbor. Despite the “bor” in each name, I’m never bored with them. They produce curly leaves that taste good every time. And they produce more food per plant than the flat-leaved kales like Red Russian or Toscano. All are available from Johnnys Selected Seeds and are easy to start from seed in the spring.

Redbor kale

I like kale in soups and stews. I recently made what I call a Portuguese stew: kale cooked with spicy sausage, onions, leeks, tomatoes, winter squash and potatoes. The amounts – and ingredients – vary every time I make it, but it’s always good.

And if you want to save kale, it freezes nicely. Just immerse it briefly in boiling water – 60 seconds is fine – cool it in a sink of cold water, spin it dry and freeze it in zipper bags. I remove the center rib before blanching it. Unlike spinach, it keeps its crunchy character even after freezing.

Winterbor kale is my favorite.

I’m not big on bumper stickers, but I do have one that says, “Eat More Kale”. I think you’ll be pleased if you do. 

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