Friday, April 13, 2012
Ornamental chard and wild garden kale
This is the Wild Garden Kale mix developed by Gathering Together Farm in Oregon and sold by a number of catalogs (I got mine from Bountiful Gardens). The seed mix produces a variety of Siberian kales (Brassica napus) that are best planted in late summer and harvested in fall or left to winter over. My plants were protected by nothing but leaf mulch; in a harsher winter they might have appreciated a row cover. They grew vigorously through our warm March and are now starting to make flower buds (edible and yummy, by the way) so I thought it was time to bring some in for cooking.
It's a great time of year to prepare kale - no bugs! I washed the leaves carefully, but never a caterpillar nor an egg nor a chewing insect did I see.
The stems are tough, so I stripped the leaves off, chopped them, steamed them until limp, and then finished them the way we usually cook kale.
The kale came out tender but still chewy, with plenty of its own flavor enhanced by the others in the dish. I have a little more saved in the freezer, but next year I'll grow lots so we can have it for the winter.