"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Harvesting Volunteer Russian Kale

I have been saving seed from Russian kale for a couple years now and the "missed" seeds come up all over our garden. We decided to let the kale in our strawberry beds grow so that we could harvest them. We love to preserve kale for potato and kale soup... a staple in our diets during the cold winter months.

We picked four large bowls full of kale from our three strawberry beds... we have started selling everbearing strawberry plants in the spring, hence the reason for so many strawberry plants. They were picked in the very early morning while still fresh, crisp, and wet with dew.

The kale was blanched in boiling water for a couple minutes (two minutes for young kale, three for more mature leaves). The leftover water was then allowed to cool and used as an excellent fertilizer for other vegetables.

The kale is then chilled in ice water for approximately two minutes.

Dried on a towel... actually in between two towels.

Then mixed with a hint of olive oil and put into freezer bags using a common straw to remove excess air... frugal vacuum sealing.

Four large bowls made two gallons of freshly frozen kale, it almost makes one look forward to winter meals... almost... well not really at all, as I am just beginning to enjoy the fresh summer abundance.


Accidental Huswife said...

What a great idea to use veggie cooking water for other plants!

Stefaneener said...

I'm going to have to send Denise here. She wasn't enjoying her kale blanching experience that well.

Mr. H said...

Accidental Huswife,

I once read that vegetable water is supposed to be really great fertilizer for plants, and have been using it for just that ever since.

Mr. H said...


It is a breeze once you have done it a time or two. The trick is to time it just right so that you don't end up with a bunch of mush.

Silke said...

Thanks for that tip on how to preserve kale. We didn't plant enough this year to freeze any. We harvested four huge bowls full and ate it all. We love it sauteed with garlic and tomatoes and also roasted with sweet potatoes. So good! :) Silke

P.S. great tip about using the straw to create a vacuum...

Mr. H said...


Fresh kale is the best. We sometimes cut it up really fine like a slaw and add it to salads that way. Sauteed with garlic and tomatoes sounds good, I will try that this summer once our tomatoes are ready.

Have a great day

Anonymous said...

Do you raise red mustard lettuce? I love it and it too readily volunteers itself all over the place if you encourage it to do so. It adds a nice spice to the salad bowl.

Mr. H said...

Hi howlingduckranch,

We have spicy red mustard growing everywhere around here. I love plants that so readily volunteer like they do.

Most people do not like red mustard as it can be a little to "flavorful". I'm glad to hear that we are not alone in adorning our salad with such a wonderful plant.


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