Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Kale - winter's favourite vegetable

Kale. Quite simply kale must be one of the most amazing vegetables, obviously no one really says they like kale, in fact I had never even heard of it until this time last year when it arrived in my organic veg box, but much to my amazement OH who is no great vegetable fan announced it his favourite vegetable and so we started eating it, and buying it. And then because I needed to make OH see what a great idea it would be to turn part of our garden into a vegetable patch, growing it.

Like all winter brassicas, kale is planted in April and then forgotten about until January when it suddenly looks like you might have something to eat through the cold months. This being my first year of vegetable growing I was ignorant to the joys of cabbage white butterflies, oh look a pretty butterfly thought me until suddenly the kale was more lace curtain than lush green and OH was mighty upset. So some frantic net arranging later the butterflies were reduced (the barrier wasn't exactly perfect) and I suddenly found a regular pastime in caterpillar picking to save the remaining few uneaten leaves.

December and January saw the kale mostly ignored and then last weekend it occurred to me that after all the effort we should actually eat some of this kale, in some ways a very scary prospect after nurturing it through most of last year. Today I made the first chop and now have a wonderful looking kale head for tonights stir fry. In a bid to convince OH that my seed purchasing obsession is healthy I have purchased some more kale seeds so this year I will be finishing off the packet of Curly Kale from last year as well as trying out Starbur F1. Hopefully next year will see fewer caterpillars.


Paul and Melanie said...

lol Glad I'm not the only one who didn't know much about Kale till recently. I'd never heard of it till it appeared on my plate one Sunday about a year ago where I thought it was a kind of cabbage! Now its one of my fave veg and we've got a packet of seeds ready to sow this year so with any luck we'll have some that looks as good as yours!

Lovely blog by the way. :)


Cat said...

for someone who started last year, you've been really busy! Well done! You've done so much better than i have! great blog! Kale is something I've never really eaten, but Rick Stein had it in one of his recepies on Food Heros the other week. Looked nice! If a little green.....and healthy!

my soups are 'stick it all in a pan with a couple of spuds' but i may follow your recipies from now on.

Cat x

She Who Digs said...

Hi Cat,
I always hated kale boiled to a mush, as a child, but growing (& cooking) your own is so different. My red kale is now about 3ft tall and the birds have had the tops, even through the netting, but leave the stalk and you will be rewarded with lots of new tender growth from where the old leaves have fallen off the stem. (if kale all grows the same that is- worth a try!) SWD

She Who Digs said...

PS I've linked my blog to yours- always good to see someone starting out & give a helping hand & encouragement! SWD

Amy said...

thanks for all the comments, the kale was a great success and very tasty too. I tend to always steam it or stick it in a stir fry, but if anyone has any real recipes then please share. I have to admit that I am quite surprised so many of you are growing this stuff, I though it was just me!

Also thanks for all the linking :)