Sunday, January 06, 2008

Local Foods Update

Recently Harvested Kale

We have had a good six weeks of winter weather so far this season with fields and gardens covered in knee deep snow. Christmas week, my husband went to our local farmers' market and purchased this enormous head of kale for three dollars. The farmer told him the kale had been picked that day in the snow.

This highly nutritious plant is one of the oldest cultivated green vegetables and belongs to the cabbage family. It grows best in cooler climates and the taste is sweetened by frost. Once it is picked, the taste sharpens in a few days so it is best to cut the leaves from the plant as needed if you are fortunate enough to have one in your garden.

I seldom purchase kale at the grocery store as the bunches are so large and I am not sure how to cook it except for adding it to soup. Our family enjoys the taste of this vegetable, but it is hard to eat so much of it. Even with extra people around over Christmas, we could not finish all this giant kale before it spoiled. It is supposed to freeze well though.

We are enjoying plenty of local root vegetables, cabbages, brussel sprouts and storage apples right now. Today we had roasted beets, potatoes, onions and squash with fresh applesauce for dessert.

Do you cook leafy greens like kale, collards and cabbage? And what would you do with a giant kale?


  1. Oh, I'm so excited that you asked!

    I LOVE kale mashed potatoes, which is a recipe passed down through the women in my family. What you do is cook the kale, which doesn't take long. Then you put it and the water you cooked it in, in the blender and whiz it up into a green soup. (That's the part you can freeze for future use.) Use that soupy kale with potato flakes and some butter/margarine and salt to make mashed potatoes. It will be a horrific green color, but it's SO good with fresh cut tomatoes as a garnish.

    Now you've got me in the mood to stop by Andy's on the way home this afternoon and see if they have kale for sale!

  2. I eat only raw foods. Kale is one of my favourites. Every day I have kale salads (finely chopped) with avocado, celery, red pepper, tomato..whatever is available. There's something about the kale and the avocado together that is outstanding. I also drink Green Smoothies (blend handfuls of greens like kale, spinach, beet tops, collard greens... with banana and/or other fruit and some water). This is a delicious way to ingest greens for people who don't always want to taste them.
    Made myself hungry just writing this!

  3. No, but if I did, I would be kale and hearty (or hardy), I'm sure.

  4. We aren't kale people here. I love cabbage but husband shakes his head - no. Same thing with kraut.

    Oh, well. Ginger's mashed potatoes recipe sounds great!

  5. I love kale too and mix it with mashed potatoes or add it to soup. Brussels sprouts are another favorite!

  6. We love steamed cabbage and also eat a lot of coleslaw. I usually buy kale at Christmas and decorate with it - I know, I'm bad.
    Think I'd wash and freeze it in Ziplock bags.That kale is a beauty.

  7. Well, I have eaten many different veggies, but to my knowledge not kale. So no help from me.
    I was interested in your blog title--local foods. I was really quite surprised and interested to see how all the foods in London were labeled with places of origin--eggs, milk, meats, veggies--all proclaiming from whence they came.

  8. I was going to suggest Kale and Mashed potatoes as a easy way to use the extras, but I see that was covered.

    I suggest skimming through a dutch recipe book, the dutch have no shortage of recipes using kale :-)

  9. Ginger- Sounds like a great way to add nutrition to mashed potatoes. Green potatoes/"green eggs and ham" will make Dr Seuss and kids happy.

    Melissa- I was reading your food blog about your raw food journey. I have a VitaMix blender and used to buy green powder for my smoothies, but the greens were very pricey. I will have to try your methods...and I love avocado!

    AC- Always good to have a punster comment!

    Mary- Cabbage-type vegetables are so healthy, and there are so many varieties. Maybe you could sneak those green potatoes on your husband's plate ;-)

    Laura- Brussel sprouts are a family favourite here too and are in season now. They are cut long after the first frost as well and we can buy them on the stalk at the market.

    Jean- I read that kale is used largely as a garnish. We watched my husband walk up the driveway after he bought the kale and we thought it was a giant Christmas wreath he had bought.

    KGMom- I found it interesting that the London market featured local foods so prominently. I am really trying to notice where the food I buy comes from. Our supermarkets label the country of origin for our produce and meat.

    Peter- Thanks for commenting. I will have to delve into my Dutch heritage. I had never heard of kale and mashed potatoes and you are the 3rd one to mention them.

  10. I eat kale simply steamed and covered in lashings of melted butter

    and now, after reading that, I need to clear a corner of the garden in order to plant some!

  11. Here are a couple of other ideas for kale.

    -Salad with purple kale, sliced scallions, candied walnuts and sliced apples with a dijon vinagrette dressing.

    -A highly nutritious green juice called "Rejuvenator" by David Wolfe. 6 large kale leaves, 2 stalks celery, 1/2 cucumber, 2-3 inch piece of burdock root, 1/2 lemon, 1 apple. (makes 16 ounces)

    -Another good juice with kale is 6 leaves kale, 1 medium sized beet, 1-2 apples and 1/2 inch piece of ginger.

  12. Kale is great in soups, too. A favorite is Portuguese Caldo Verde. Essentially this is sauteed onions and garlic, water or vegetable broth, diced potatoes and chopped kale, simmered together with white beans until the vegetables are tender. For flavor, the original includes linguica, a garlicky sausage, but you could use a natural, preservative-free andouille from Applegate Farm or Bilinsky's, or just some smoked Spanish paprika for a meatless version.



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