Able to take a freeze, hardy kale supplies fresh garden greens well into fall/early winter

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/28, 2013 at 07:15 AM

Rainbow lacinato, featuring deep green leaves and purple stems.

Kale is a superstar in the fall garden. The plant is tough as nails, able to take some very cold temperatures. In fact, myself and many other gardeners have harvested kale from under the snow.

Along with its toughness, kale has many other good properties. It’s very easy to grow, can grow in part shade, and is quite tasty. It is best after a couple of good frost/freezes, which give the leaves a sweet flavor and cuts down on the bitterness.

There are many varieties of kale, and here are a few of my favorites:

- Lacinato, aka dinosaur kale, black palm kale, tuscan kale, cavolo nero: A beautiful kale that features long, bumpy leaves that grow up a long stem, making it look almost like a palm tree as you harvest leaves from the bottom of the stem up. This kale is a traditional ingredient in minestrone soup. There are now varieties that feature purple stems, such as rainbow Tuscan kale, which are striking garden plants.

- Blue curled scotch kale: This kale has blue-green, crinkled leaves that have a fantastic nutty taste. An easy kale to grow that offers high yields that also seems to be resistant to insects. If you harvest the leaves, new ones will replace it even in autumn.

- Russian red kale: Oak-shaped leaves on red stems makes this kale a good one to plant in an ornamental garden. The flavor is also good as well, and this variety is an excellent choice for kale chips due to its broad leaves.

What to do with kale? You can saute it in olive oil and garlic, make kale chips by roasting the leaves flat on a cookie sheet, and use in soups. I personally enjoy this recipe:

Kale with sesame seeds

Ingredients

About 1 1/2 lbs kale, leaves removed from tough stems
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

 

Steps

Toast sesame seeds in small frying pan until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Mince garlic and add to about 2-3 tablespoons hot oil, saute garlic just until soft.
Keep heat at medium, add broth and wine, then add kale. Toss kale to coat.
Cover and cook until liquid has disappeared, stirring occasionally.
Season with salt and pepper, add balsamic vinegar and sesame seeds, and toss.
Serve hot. Goes well with pork and beef.

Tags: recipe | garden | kale |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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