Gardeners like to talk about what works and what doesn’t, which really helps in overall successful gardening. I learned about kale from a friend of mine who grew it and said it thrived in our hot weather all summer, in spite of its reputation as a cold weather plant. She said it was good in salads, soups, pastas and all sorts of other foods.
So I bought some seeds and planted it for the first time last summer. It came up quickly and gets big enough to eat within a month or two. How cool is that? This year, I planted it in several places throughout my gardens, using it as a border plant and a filler of empty gardening spaces.
It grows in sunshine among the broccoli, dill and potatoes.
It grows in part shade as a border.
It’s a strong, sturdy leaf that’s not very good to munch on out in the garden (unlike pea pods or cherry tomatoes), but I googled recipes and experimented and found several ways to use it. Kale is the nutritional superman of the garden, packing a boatload of minerals and vitamins in every bite.
Here are my favorite ways to use it:
4 – 6 cups of whole kale leaves
red pepper flakes
Wash the kale and cut out the tough stems. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spread kale across the pan, toss with olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees until the kale is brown and crispy. You may have to turn it so it gets done on both sides.
That’s it. So simple and so yummy.
Kale and tomato salad
4 – 6 cups of torn kale leaves
3 – 4 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 -2 avocados
red peppers, black olives, yellow peppers, green olives, cucumbers, green onions or anything else that’s in the fridge or garden and looks promising to throw in a salad
olive oil, juice and zest of a lemon, a dash of balsamic vinegar for the dressing, salt & pepper
whatver chopped herbs you’ve got in the garden, especially basil, chives, thyme
When using raw kale in a salad, it’s important to put something acidic (like the tomatoes) in the salad and to put lemon or lime juice in the dressing and let the dressing sit on the salad for 15 minutes before serving. The acidity cuts the natural bite of the kale. Because kale is a thicker leaf, it holds up well without getting wilted in a salad.