Kale is a nutritional powerhouse you can easily keep in your garden year-round.
Kale is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, lutein and zeaxanthin. This leafy vegetable also has notable amounts iron, calcium, and B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. She has powerful antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. Her vitamin C content even exceeds that of oranges!
A member of the Brassicaceae family, kale is cold-hardy and can even last through snow here on the west coast. Kale can be a fine addition to ornamental gardens, and there are many varieties to choose from. In June, for fall and winter harvest, direct sow a few seeds every 12“ and thin to the strongest seedling. Kale prefers well drained soil high in organic matter, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Keep it watered through the summer. Partial shade is also preferable in hot weather. Crop rotation is also important to help prevent disease.
If you don’t have Kale in your garden right now, it not too late to transplant some young seedlings for overwintering. Don’t forget gardening in the winter is more like storing the vegetables than it is growing them. You can still harvest the greens, but once the soil goes below zero degrees new growth stops until it temperatures rise again.
Kale buds, which taste like sweet tender broccoli, are one of the first of spring foods in the garden. These are delicious eaten raw, or cooked as you would broccoli. Tender young leaves can be used in salads. Larger leaves are sweeter after frost, and great sauteed, or added to soups, stews, and stirfries. They’re also a healthiful addition to smoothies, and make a delicous snack when baked…
Baked Kale Chips
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Preheat an oven to 175°C. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale (drain or use a salad spinner). Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake 10-15 minutes until the edges brown but are not burnt. Other additions could include garlic, pepper, or nutritional yeast. Feel free to experiment!
Give yourself a little green vibrancy during the dark days of winter, it’s sure to enrich your spirits – and your recipes!
By: Kira Desorcy