Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Mother Lode of Kale

These three have been keeping me busy lately but more is going on at Okra Hill than just three boys being boys.

Before Easter Ashley planted broccoli, romaine lettuce, pak choi, etc.

Now we have lots of things growing in the garden--from front to back: potatoes, peas, carrots, broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes. On the other side are garlic, onions, strawberries, lettuces, cucumbers, corn, beans and tomatoes. 

We had to harvest the remainder of our kale crop to make room for the spring/early summer plantings. I did this in batches. One afternoon I picked a bunch, put it under the stroller (how I take Tyler to the garden and to feed the goats and chickens), and forgot about it until late that night. We ate that batch up and I gave away some. 

The mother load of kale, however, we processed using our clawfoot tub. If you read my That New House blog, you'll remember this tub was a special find--an antique we had restored for our master bathroom. I have rarely used the tub but the boys love it for baths. 

When Ashley walked in one Saturday at lunch with a laundry basket full of kale, my immediate reaction was to groan..."what are we going to do with all that?" Then I knew we'd put the tub to use (after I cleaned it properly of bubble bath, of course). Levi was happy to help with the task of washing the kale. 

A year ago or so we watched Small Farm Rising on PBS and learned all sorts of useful information, including the dunking method to clean greens. We loaded the kale into the water and vigorously swirled it to loosen any sand/dirt. Once we were satisfied with its cleanliness, we scooped it back out and placed it in a laundry basket lined with a clean towel. 

Bath, anyone?

Look at all that yummy kale! 

I researched different methods on how to preserve kale and decided to go with the frozen blanched method found here. Basically, you blanch the kale for 2 minutes in batches; dunk in ice cold water for 2 minutes; salad spin off the excess water; place on towel to dry off further; and then bag. 

 So all that kale, a laundry basket full, resulted in 7 quart bags. I don't think that will get us very far but luckily we'll have lots of other garden goodness to enjoy soon enough. The boys and I ate the last of our fresh kale tonight as kale chips. I already wish we had more :o).