Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Kale Situation

Many moons ago, when the summer air was turning toward cool autumn temperatures, I was busy planting seedlings in my garden. I have three 4x6 planter boxes in the front yard, and I try to keep them going with various goodies. At the farmers' markets, there are always vendors selling various seasonal seedlings - greens, herbs, veggies, berries, and so on. So, all those months ago, I bought four 6-packs: Dino Kale, Winterbor Kale, and two Collards - and planted them all in the ground. By the grace of god, one of my collards turned out to be a 6-pack of broccoli, and three of the other collards never really went anywhere.

Nonetheless, I have been eating a lot of greens. That's fine, because (obviously) I like greens. But Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats most vehemently does not - so I'm not really sure why I went quite so overboard with the planting.

A few weeks ago, with the advent of springy weather, I noticed that ALL 12 kale plants and 3 surviving collards were beginning to bolt (flower and go to seed), and it was much, much more than I could comfortably consume in such a short time.

So, over the last couple of weeks, whenever time allowed, I have been harvesting and processing and freezing mountains and mountains of greens for later consumption. I followed the instructions on this helpful site.

Here's a batch of greens all laid out to go into the freezer. The only problem with this method of freezing them is that the frozen greens are very bulky... so when you transfer them to the baggies, they take up a lot of room. I officially am OUT OF ROOM in the freezer...

... due to about 11 or 12 sandwich baggies full of frozen kale and collards. Wooo hooo! I cleared out the planter boxes, amended the soil, and will soon be ready to plant a summer garden again. Yippee!

Also, thanks to the encouragement of my loving PPK friends, I finally tried my hand at the famous Kale Chips - basically kale bits tossed with olive oil and touch of salt and roasted for about 10 minutes at 375. I think I may have roasted them a little too long? Maybe some of you kale chip experts out there in cyberland can tell me if they look right or not. They are quite good, even if maybe a little overdone. I haven't run them through the Mr. VE&T test yet, but we'll give it a go later tonight...

EMERGENCY UPDATE: Mr. VE&Ts from the kitchen "Oh, those are good!" ...pause... "These are REALLY good!" ... pause ... "I guess I like kale." zing! bang! wooo!

In the meantime, I'm quite relieved to have that Kale Monkey off my back, and a freezer full of ready-to-eat good stuff!

ps. Next up, The Escarole Situation


22 comments:

  1. Love the shedir hat! :) -Eve

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  2. woo hoo, he likes it!!!! nice one!

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  3. Ha, I love it! I'm going to try those kale chips for sure.

    Do you have any idea if kale grows well in a pot? I am starting a potted garden due to a tight rental agreement about changing the landscape. (:

    Kale is on the agenda, most definitely.

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  4. Hah. The chips were a hit.
    I'll have to try that (and the freezing...learn something new!)

    Why doesn't the kale get damaged in the freezer. (Roger says the cell membranes are tough enough to stand up to ice crystals?)

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  5. Hi Amey! It's Crystal from the Vivacious Vegan blog (although I took it down and took a really long break). Missing all my little blogging buddies I decided to give it another go but I've got a new venue (http://www.thatveganblog.com).

    I'd love to have a "Kale Situation" but my freezer's stuffed too full for anything else. I keep telling Marty that we need to get another freezer just for those exact situations but he's not going for it! Glad you enjoyed the kale chips. They're my favorite (when they're not overdone).

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  6. Ashley - I think kale would do just fine in a pot... but the plants get pretty big, so be sure to leave enough room for them to grow. The root ball ends up about half-way between a softball and a soccer ball.

    Design Ingenue - kale and collards definitely freeze well! Just think of frozen spinach, which is such a tender little green!

    Crystal! So nice to hear from you!!! Welcome back. I'm gonna go check out your blog! :)

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  7. Anonymous4:34 AM

    I make "cheezy" kale chips, which are far better than the plain ones.. I'll send you the recipe. Do you ever make green smoothies? I've just gotten into them, and love how energizing they are! I blend about 40% sweet fruits with 60% greens (adjust this to your taste). Yesterday I used collards as my greens. Good! I routinely use kale and spinach. You can make these in any kind of blender.

    Kim

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  8. Woop!
    The conversion of a kale hater, love it!

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  9. Those kale chips look perfect to me!

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  10. Whoa lady, that is a lot of kale! Frozen greens are awesome. Did you freeze them raw or cook them down? My Granny freezes big batches of slow-cooked greens that are perfect for thawing for a quick meal.

    A love kale chips! I always cook mine until they're super crispy, almost burnt. And then I dip 'em in ketchup.

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  11. Yummy Kale. How cool to have so much kale and to have enough to use for kale chips! Great treat. I can't wait to start my garden.

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  12. Wow that is a LOT of kale! Those chips look really great though, I think I'll have to try them out sometime.

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  13. I wish I was in your situtation. Here everybody seems to hate greens, I can only get frozen and already shredded kale. I clearly need a garden!

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  14. Woohoo! Kale VICTORY!!! :) I love kale so much.

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  15. Kale chips are great. We love kale. Our 1 year old will eat it. Our 3 year old will only eat it in chip form or if I sneak it into his smoothie.

    P.S. I love your blog.

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  16. Amey, have you ever made colcannon? It's one of my favorite Irish potato dishes & it's full of kale. Being Irish, it calls for nearly a cow's worth of butter & cream, but I bet you can omit that and make it magically delicious just be glancing at it the right way. :)

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  17. Anonymous11:08 PM

    You need this! JJTWH

    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/crispy-kale-and-tofu-salad-with-coconut

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  18. I love your "emergency update"! He is too funny.

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  19. amey!
    try baking them a lot lower for longer--around 225F. i also toss mine with no oil--just brags, nooch and sriracha (if you want spicy).

    <3
    can't wait to see you!!!

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  20. Great idea. Thanks for posting tips for Kale.

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  21. I am SO jealous! Kale is our fave around here. I would have taken some off your hands! haha.

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  22. Note to self: must make kale chips!

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