Yesterday I decided to harvest the rest of my Tuscan "dinosaur" kale. It had over-wintered in the garden, and we'd eaten quite a bit of it by cutting leaves and cooking them half a dozen times over the months. The heavy frosts and morning temperatures well below freezing that we had in January didn't bother the kale at all.
The reason for harvesting the dinosaur kale now was that it was getting ready to go to seed. It had sent up hundreds of flower buds that were about to burst open. That would have been pretty, but I don't need the seeds, because I brought another package of them back from N.C. in February.
I've been told that the flower buds are good to eat, so I cut them and cooked them with some of the tender leaves and flower stalks. We'll eat some for lunch today and see how good they really are.
There is still a lot of kale for me to trim up and get ready to put in the pot. Many of the leaves are huge and probably fairly tough, but many are small and tender. Yesterday I gave the plants a good first washing in the utility room shower stall.
To harvest the plants, I took a big pair of limb-loppers out to the garden plot and cut through the fat tough stems of the plants. Then I could bring the tops, with all their leaves and flowers, into the house and cut off the flower heads before pulling all the leaves off the stems.
Washing and trimming the kale leaves and flower buds is a lot of work, but Walt and I both enjoy eating kale, and we think it's good for us. So the work is worth it. I still have quite a few leaves to wash and trim this morning. A lot of this kale will go into the freezer after it's cooked.
Here's what the plants looked like on a frosty morning two or three weeks ago. Tuscan or dinosaur kale leaves remind me more of collard green leaves than other kinds of kale do. They're "meatier" than curly kale or Russian kale leaves, and I like their texture after they're cooked.