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Updated: Jan 11


Do you have a hedge of kale ready for harvest?


Good then you are in the right place!

Do you have a plan ready for after the harvest?

Yes, then you can just jump down to the recipes below!


No?


Perfect! Want to know how to plan for beyond the harvest with kale?


Then I am here to help!


I'm going to explain the ins and outs of when and how to harvest your kale, but more importantly I am going to share with you the steps needed to go beyond the harvest. I'm going to show you how to have kale on your plate today AND in the middle of January!


Today, I'm going to be using my 4-step strategy that can be found in this blog post!


Kale and Why Grow It


Kale is packed with vitamins and nutrients and is an amazing superfood that benefits your whole body! Kale is part of the brassica family and is very easy to grow. It is best sown in early spring or autumn, as the cool temperatures will bring out it’s sweet nutty taste. Kale grows best in very nitrogen rich soil and full sun.


List of How Kale Helps Your Whole Body


  1. Kale has been known to help lower cholesterol.

  2. Great source of vitamin k to strengthen your bones.

  3. Rich in fiber and Magnesium to help those with diabetes.

  4. Full of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and antioxidant sulforaphane, which helps with inflammation.

  5. Good source of Potassium that can help detox the body.

  6. It is also a hunger depressant because it contains thylakoids, a natural remedy for reducing insulin and ghrelin our hunger hormone.




When Do I Harvest My Kale?


Picking your Kale leaves at their peak is your goal and that comes with knowing the perfect time to pick. Here is how:


  • Kale will be ready to harvest in approximately 30 days after sowing. You can find the exact days to maturity on the back of your seed packet.

  • If you know your planting date you can easily find your estimated harvest date. For example: if you sowed your kale on April 15th then your estimated harvest date, with 30 days to harvest, would be May 15th.

  • This is when you should begin observing your kale for signs of harvest.

  • Kale should be picked continuously starting from the outer leaves.

  • Harvest them when leaves are about the size of your layed out hand.

  • Kale leaf size will tell you when they are ready Snow Peas are best grown in the late spring and/or Autumn when temps are around 60° to 70°.


How To Harvest Kale


Once your kale is ready to harvest they are going to need to be picked in just the right way. Here is how:


  • Harvest kale with a serrated knife. Cut outer leaves from the base of the plant one leaf at a time.(Discard any yellow or torn leaves)

  • It is important you don't cut the terminal bud or center of the plant or you will stop production.

  • Kale is best picked in the morning when it will be crisp & crunchy for fresh eating.

  • They should be cooled quickly to preserve their freshness and sweet taste. The sugar in kale, quickly turns to bland starch after harvest unless cooled.

  • Keep plants picked to increase your harvest.

  • Also keep them well watered through your harvest period.

  • Kale will actually improve it’s taste after a light frost.

  • You can extend it’s harvest by using frost cloth in the late autumn.



How To Preserve Your Kale


Freezing is the best way to preserve your kale to last you through the winter. I personally don’t blanch it. Here is how to best use kale:


  • eat or store shortly after picking to preserve that sweet taste.

  • trim thick stock out of leaves as they can be bitter.

  • Store kale in the fridge if you plan to use that evening. They will last about 5 to 7 Days in a sealed plastic bag

  • to preserve for the winter by freezing: wash and trim thick stems, blanch for 2 minute, and place in a sealable freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Label with name, date and place directly in the freezer. (Fill bags with however much your recipes on your menu plan need. I usually store 1 cup in each bag.)

  • To preserve for the winter using canning: Yes, you can pressure can greens of all shapes and sizes. I recommend following your canning instructions to the T, especially with pressure canning. The recipe below was copied out of my Ball Blue Book.





Pressure Canning Greens


2-6 pounds of greens per quart

Salt(optional)

Water


Wash greens thoroughly and several changes of water. Discard large, tough stems. Heat greens until wilted and just enough water to prevent sticking. To hasten wilting and prevent overcooking, turn greens over when steam begins to rise around the edge of the pan. Cut through greens several times with a sharp knife before packing. Pack hot greens into hot jars, leaving one inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint jar, 1 teaspoon salt each quart jar, if desired. Ladle boiling water over greens, leaving one inch headspace. Remove all air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 10 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 30 minutes, at 10 lb of pressure in a steam pressure canner.


How To Cook Fresh Kale:


If you want the full benefits of fresh kale the small tender leaves can be used in any tossed salad!


To cook kale for a tasty side dish:

  • bring a few cups of water to a boil. Enough to cover the amount of kale you will be cooking.

  • Once water is at a rolling boil, carefully place kale into the water.

  • Stir gently and let boil, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Kale is done when stems are tender!

  • Drain water and enjoy!

Or Saute

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tsp Olive Oil or leftover Bacon Grease.

  • Add two cloves chopped garlic and heat until fragrant, 1 minute.

  • Add three cups chopped and destocked kale and cook stirring often until Kale is wilted.

  • Serve Warm



How to Use Frozen Kale


Frozen Kale is very versatile and because it is already slightly cooked you can just defrost and add to any of your favorite kale recipes. Here are a few ideas.


  • Smoothies

  • Soups, Chilies, or Stews

  • Substitute Snow Peas in My Cheese Tortellini Recipe (my exclusive tip to those who receive my newsletter)

  • Saute in the recipe above

  • Add to scrambled eggs or quiche

  • Or top your vegetarian pizza


How to Use Canned Kale


You can use canned Kale in the same way as frozen but because it is cooked, it’s ready off the shelf, it just needs to be warmed.



The next step is to add the above and more recipes to your menu plan. I got you started, now, have fun planning!


Pray, Just Plant

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