Happy National Kale Day!
What is your favorite kind of kale? Or your favorite way to use it?
#kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, Manganese and Copper. It’s also a very good source of vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, vitamin E and potassium.
When it comes to other flavors that pair well with kale, the list is huge. Garlic and lemon are probably on the top as well as white beans, chilies, mushrooms and brown rice. Brussels sprouts, beets, chickpeas, bell peppers, dried cranberries, walnuts, ginger, scallions, vinegar, etc. the list goes on! I love the massaged kale salad I have been making for years now. It has red onions, red bell peppers, green onions, tomatoes and a honey, lemon and olive oil dressing. You can serve it with your favorite protein layered over it, this wilts the kale just a little and is so good! It is even better when left to sit over night in your fridge, the kale will soften and have a really great texture.
Kale is in the brassica family which means it is a host plant to cabbage white butterflies (often called cabbage moths) and their caterpillars known as cabbage worms (cabbage moth worms). To help you not lose plants look for the cabbage worms in the morning or evening and try covering the plants with a row cover before they can get to your kale or other brassicas. Nasturtiums also attract cabbage moths so add a few plants in your raised beds, but away from the brassicas. I like to trail nasturtiums on the edge or corner.
Generally you want to space kale about a foot apart when growing in your kitchen garden, think about how big the mature plant will be. Sow seeds a half inch deep, a chopstick or dibber work well for this. Kale likes sun to light shade and moderate to regular watering. Water more during growing season and less after frost. Your kale will actually taste sweeter after it has been through a frost. Kale can easily be direct sown or transplanted, it is extremely hardy. You can even let it grow through winter and it will often re-sprout giving you early spring leaves to harvest. Summer grown kale can be a lot more bitter than cool/cold season grown kale. When harvesting pick the outer leaves like other cut and come again plants. This allows the plant to keep producing more leaves. (Only harvest about ⅓ of the outer leaves from each plant.)
📷: My favorite kale salad, Various kale pictures from my garden, including a piece of kale from my garden with a cabbage moth worm on it.