29 March 2017

Red Russian this time

It wasn't even two weeks ago that I harvested a big crop of Tuscan "dinosaur" kale that had over-wintered in the garden. Yesterday I was at it again, but the harvest was red Russian kale this time. I don't think I'll need to grow any kale in this year's garden.

Red Russian kale in the vegetable garden, growing...

The two kale varieties are pretty different from each other. Red Russian is more like spinach or chard. The leaves are fairly tender, but with a little bit of croquant or "crunch" to them. In a way, they remind me of mustard greens, but with a milder flavor. Tuscan kale has dark green leaves that cook up more like collard greens, "meaty" and flavorful.

...in the kitchen sink, washed and drying...

There must have been eight red Russian kale plants out in the garden, where they too had over-wintered. After the recent rains, they were beautiful and hadn't yet been attacked by bugs and slugs. I cut them off at ground level and brought them in. Each plant was made up of three, four, or even six thick stalks covered in leaves.

...in a big pot on the stove, seasoned...

I didn't take very long to strip the leaves off the stalks and then strip the tender greens off the leaf ribs. When I had finished, using no tools but my hands, I had two kilos of pretty leaves — more than 4 lbs. That was enough to fill an 11.5 liter pot twice, with the leaves packed down tightly.

...and in plastic containers for the freezer.

I seasoned the kale with fat and broth left over from roasting a capon a while back, some white wine, salt, pepper, a little bit of garlic powder, and just a small quantity of hot red pepper flakes. As the first batch cooked down and made room in the pot, I gradually added the rest and let those leaves cook down too. Cooked, the kale came in at between 2 and 3 liters... for the freezer and future meals. We'll be looking for more kale recipes and ideas, for sure.

8 comments:

Gosia k said...

I like your plant

chm said...

Your Red Russian Kale reminds me so much of the California's invasive pest that is Sahara Mustard. Wish I had tried to cook the tender leaves if only I had known and see if they were edible and good. If that was the case the Sonoran desert, as it looks now, overtaken by that pest could feed the whole world in greens!

Evelyn said...

The prettiest kale of all. I would remove those large stems also.

sillygirl said...

I have made crisp kale chips, put them in containers for the freezer squished down a bit and months later reheated them in the oven and they are almost as good as freshly done. I have also compacted them to almost dust for adding to soups and stews. A big pile goes down to a small container.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I read this about Sahara Mustard on this site: "Edible – The young leaves and shoots are edible if cooked. Do not consume in excessive amounts as these may be toxic." Many plants are toxic if consumed in large quantities. Kale, for example, but the toxicity is minimized and digestibility is maximized if the leaves are well cooked. I guess it's never a good idea to eat too much of any one food — better to have a good variety of different vegetables and grains in your diet. The Sahara Mustard might also be pretty bitter-tasting. I once tried to eat some wild asparagus that cam up around the vineyard here but it was so bitter I had to throw it out.

Ken Broadhurst said...

The next time I grow kale I'll have to try making those "chips" — but I will probably go back to growing collard greens this year. I wonder if those would make good chips.

Ken Broadhurst said...

The stems don't bother me if they are well-cooked. But in this case there was so much kale that I saved and cooked only the small tender leaves. We ate some yesterday as a side dish with quiche lorraine and I can attest that the kale is pretty tasty and tender.

Ken Broadhurst said...

The red Russian kale is beautiful in the garden.