Did You Know?
So most of you already probably know about kale and its amazing leaves to harvest. I absolutely love kale! I love to make kale chips, throw some kale into my eggs or sauté kale with a little butter and salt… oh my, can’t wait to harvest my kale this spring!
But today I want to share with you something totally different about kale, something you might not already know! Did you know that you can get two completely different vegetables from the same 1 kale plant?
Well I am here to tell you that you can! This post has been a year in the making! Don’t let that scare you, I will explain that in one moment.
Last spring (2011) I planted my kale, a cool weather crop, in the very early spring. You can also plant your kale in the fall and harvest up to your first major freeze.
I was quite surprised how hardy kale really is. I live in Wisconsin and we have some pretty brutal winters up here. In January after several snow falls, my kale was still living.
So after I planted my kale in the very early spring, I harvested my leaves until the warm summer came. Once the warm summer came, the kale became quite bitter so I knew my season was over for that kale plant.
Normally I would pull the plant, but a friend of mine told me that kale could be wintered over and produce a second harvest that is all together a different vegetable. So here is what I did!
After my spring harvest was no longer edible, I cut the kale at the base of the plant, leaving about 3 inches of stalk coming out of the soil.
This was done in the warm late summer months. If your kale continues to grow that is fine, you will still produce the second vegetable real soon. Now allow the plant to go dormant and winter over.
Growing The Same Kale Plant The Following Spring
It is now springtime 2012, 1 year later after I planted this first plant. Here is what my plant looks like.
Remember, this was planted 1 year ago and this plant has gone through freezing temperatures and now it is spring and it has started to grow as a perennial would.
Kale’s Second Vegetable
Look closely at this plant above. Notice that there are clusters at the top of the plant. Now the leaves are still edible AND the clusters are edible too.
These clusters are very similar to broccoli! Just like broccoli, the kale plant produces a flower (the clusters).
Now the flower/cluster has not bloomed or bolt to seed yet and the little buds on the clusters are still closed up. You want to make sure that you eat this vegetable before it flowers.
Once the buds open up and flower, the plant or clusters are no longer edible. Here is a close up of what your clusters look like.
How To Cook This New Vegetable
When you decide to harvest your clusters, just steam them as you would broccoli. I steamed mine for less then 5 minutes in just about a 1/2 inch of water.
The color of the clusters turned a nice bright green color! Do not overcook.
Drain and add some grass fed butter and some sea salt. You will be amazed how wonderful these truly are!
Have you ever got a second vegetable from your kale plant?
What are some of your favorite kale recipes?