This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

kale survived the winter

kale 2 kale 1
Yesterday I finally made it over to my garden (10 feet from my house) and checked on the kale. The Tuscan is dead. The Red Russian lost all its leaves, but looks like it is regrowing some small leaves now. The Winterbor looks fantastic. It also tastes great fresh from the garden with no cooking. Sweet and a bit of a broccoli-like bitterness. I love vegetables that have a real flavor!

So I picked a big bunch and cooked it up. I love the combination of potatoes, garlic and kale. Unfortunately, the result was mealy and flavorless. Oh well. I'm wondering if it was the way I cooked it or if the kale just isn't good anymore. It did get well down into the single digits (about 7*F) this winter and has been a long, cold and snowy one.

My recipe was to blanch the kale for 4 minutes, boil potatoes til tender, saute spring onions and garlic in butter and olive oil, then add kale and potatoes and saute about 3 or 4 minutes. I think this would be a really good recipe with fall kale, but was lousy with late winter kale.

I think I'll give the kale another try with a very quick stir fry (with garlic and thyme?) or even try it uncooked in a salad.

kale 5
kale 4 kale 6

Kale (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group)




Blogger Gail said...

How was it stir fried? It might not have tasted good but it looks pretty! gail

March 12, 2009 10:47 AM

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March 12, 2009 10:53 AM

Blogger Susie said...

I am so impressed! I never thought that something like that could survive the winter.

March 12, 2009 11:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make that same recipe all the time!

I think the mealiness comes from over-blanching. 4 minutes seems like a long time.

March 12, 2009 12:21 PM

OpenID Collin said...

We Dutch use the following reciepe for kale (I was lazy so I translated it with google translate):

Put the peeled, chopped potatoes with water and a little salt in a pan. Put on top of the kale and smoke sausages. Let cook gently 30 minutes. Remove the smoked sausage from the pan, pitch the rest together with some milk and butter, make it a smooth whole. Add pepper to taste and salt.

That's the traditional way we cook it. You can also try adding a bit of freshly grated nutmeg at the end.

And kale is at it best when it had some frost. Never harvest before any frost, it tastes better then.

March 12, 2009 12:59 PM

Blogger Dan said...

Your recipe sounds good, I will have to give it a try. I just seeded the tuscano kale yesterday and once it gets some true leaves I am going to put it out into the coldframe. Maybe this way I can have some tasty baby spring kale.

It seems potatoes and kale go together in many recipes. I saw a Portuguese Kale soup I want to try this spring or fall. You cook potatoes, finely sliced kale & onions and chorizo sausage in rich soup stock. Once the potatoes are tender mash the soup so it thickens well leaving a few potato chunks. Then serve in bowls with a few thin slices of the chorizo on top.

March 12, 2009 4:38 PM

Blogger Randy Emmitt said...

Kale, swiss chard any of the greens try this. Chop a teaspoon or more of garlic and ginger, add olive oil to your cast iron skillet, saute the garlic and ginger for about a minute then add your greens. Stir fry until mostly cooked them add soy sauce a tablespoon or more and cook for about a minute. This should make your greens yummy.

Likely this overwintered kale is too old to have any taste.

March 12, 2009 6:32 PM

Anonymous Amelia said...

Oh, that looks delicious. Good to know about Winterbor vs. other varieties. Thanks for passing that along!

March 12, 2009 7:25 PM

Blogger Sandy said...

I was just noticing that some of my Siberian Mix Kale is starting to come back to life. And some stray late summer seeds that I planted have finally decided to sprout. Exciting. Do you like Kale Soup? I loved all of the recipes in the comment section. Terrific.

March 12, 2009 9:28 PM

Blogger Sue said...

Your kale looks fine to me. My kale leaves did not survive winter, but I think it's time for me to cut them back, because there are little green buds on them, that I think will grow into leaves.

I broke down and bought a bag of chopped kale at the store that was on sale the other day. I cut up potatoes and onions, and cooked them until almost done in the microwave, then put a few handfuls of the kale and a little butter on top and cooked a few more minutes. It was good, considering the kale wasn't overly fresh. I added some fresh to my salad, too. I hope I get my own soon, and yours puts out new growth.

March 12, 2009 9:37 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I do LOVE kale soup. Here's a link to kale soup I made last year with dried shell beans from my garden too. Incredibly good.

March 12, 2009 10:31 PM

Blogger Matron said...

That is the joy of brassicas, they last right through the Winter when all else has failed. Another bonus is that they are not covered in caterpillars and slugs this time of year either!

March 13, 2009 10:10 AM

Blogger Melinda Gustafson Gervasi said...

I have a bunch of frozen kale, left from our CSA last year. I like to add it to a quiche. Chop it up, stir it in with onion, garlic, and pepper. It works for us!

I'm eager to give gardening a try (first time), but winter hasn't given up is grip in Wisconsin. The low the other night was 3 degrees.

March 13, 2009 11:04 AM

Blogger Wayne Stratz said...

It's been an eon since we had Kale and Potato soup. Glad you got to eat some fresh. The biologist in me wants to know what gene mutation has led to the evolution of such hardiness. but I don't have the time to research that, well maybe I can incorporate it into a lecture this week.

March 15, 2009 5:45 PM

Blogger lkw said...

I'm puzzling over why your Winterbor wasn't tasty.

We had some delicious Tuscan kale and collards this evening that had been through some tough weather this winter, although nothing like yours.

I'm wondering if the variety isn't such a good cooking one -- it looks nice, certainly, but maybe it was bred to more decorative?

March 15, 2009 9:19 PM

Blogger kathy said...

It may well be that I just overcooked it. Soon I'll give it another try. I have plenty of it left.

March 15, 2009 10:12 PM

Blogger pjkobulnicky said...

Kathy .. our Winterbor was terrific even in late Feb. after the winter deep freeze it went through. It is my favorite kale for taste at any time. I can't imagine what happened. See if it happens again next year.


March 25, 2009 11:51 AM


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