Earlier this spring, I mentioned that I wanted to start eating more in tune with the seasons. That meant that as a first step I had to start learning what is in season when. And I figured a great way to do that would be to start growing some food.
I have experimented with gardening in the past, mostly with disastrous results. My main problem is that I’m not great at follow-through. I don’t say that to slam on myself, it’s just a fact. I tend to enjoy short, intensive, inspiring projects more than long hard slogs. You might say consistency is not my forte…
Okay, enough psychoanalysis. Where was I? Oh yes, kale. If you live in the northwest of the US you might already know–”You can’t fail with kale!”…and it’s true. The stuff grows beautifully here, and it was the perfect beginning choice for my umpteenth attempt at gardening.
But successful growing (check!) is only one part of the gardening equation in my book. My challenge is to actually eat all (or close to all) that we grow, so nothing goes to waste and we save some on grocery bills. And that is yet another reason kale was a great choice! I can use our kale from the garden in three different ways…
You already know I love smoothies, and my favorite recipe is here. I’m bagging and freezing lots of my kale fresh from the garden these days, and I know as long as there is space in the freezer nothing will go to waste. This is also where I’m seeing the most visible grocery savings–every bunch from our garden is one bunch of greens I don’t have to buy at the grocery store. That’s very motivating.
2. Sauteed Kale
I never thought I would enjoy this! I thought it would be all slimy and I would haaaaate it. But it turns out I like it just fine, especially in vegan bowls with quinoa and black beans or tofu (or any grain and bean combo). We’re eating this several times a week, and it’s super-convenient when I’m thinking about dinner and I know at the very least there is a vegetable always available in the yard.
3. Kale chips!
I have to say this is my favorite recent discovery. So easy and so yummy. There are all sorts of recipes around the web, and all different ways you can season them but I just do it straight up:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove stems from (about one bunch) of kale, cut into about 3-inch pieces and place it in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. (If your kale is packed very closely you might want to remove it from the oven about halfway through and move the pieces around a bit with a spatula so they don’t clump.) After removing from the oven, salt to taste.
Overall it’s just a huge kick for me to walk outside with Z, snip off some kale and have it as part of dinner. It really is way more satisfying to eat something I have grown myself!
What are you growing and how are you using it? Do you have another use for kale I haven’t mentioned?