Harvesting kale

Posted by & filed under the accidental gardener.


I wrote about harvesting my carrots in the last post. As a matter-of-fact, that’s the carrot bed with the carrot top mulch next to the kale bed.

If I thought that was a time-consuming endeavor to harvest carrots, that was nothing compared to harvesting my kale.

I picked most of the kale clean, only leaving a couple of leaves, which may still grow and give me a bit more kale before the cold weather kills it completely….


First step for the kale, now that it is picked, is to wash it…

washing kale

Because, joy oh joy, there are worms on it. Because I don’t put anything on my kale. Organic gardening, you know. There are some oils you can use, and I suppose if the cabbage worms were decimating my kale (they came close to it, at times), I might go that route. But dealing with them by hand worked this year.

I just have to say, I’ve come a long way. There was a time – and I’m sure that time is now for some of you reading this post – that if there was a bug on my food, I wasn’t eating it. Even if it was no longer on there.

So, back to the washing. First I submerge the kale in a really big canning pan of cold water. By the way, this is only one portion of my kale. Did I say yet that it was a lot of work? And that I still have more to process? I’m trying not to think of that last part for a couple of days. Luckily, kale keeps well in the fridge.

Next, I swish it around some, trying to loosen the little buggers.

Some of them hold on tight though. Which is why I then fill another pan – repeatedly – with water and take a few pieces at a time and swish them even more violently. That gets most of them off.

You know that whole triple washed thing for greens you get in the store? I’m beginning to think this is why. I always figured it was to get the dirt off. I don’t think that anymore. (Enjoy your next batch of triple-washed spinach, or lettuce, or kale.)

Still, even though I’ve come a long way, I still am not keen on eating a bug. Not keen at all. So, I take each piece of kale after the second wash and inspect it. Carefully. Which is why this takes so long. Inspection beats a third wash in my book. I need to know I got all those buggers off.

Okay, kale – at least the first batch – is washed. I figured I’d dry the first batch and make it into green powder. I got both my ovens going. 5 trays total of kale.

drying kale

It takes a long time to dry on the lowest oven setting possible. And then the dried leaves get crumbled into a powder…


It sure does shrink down a lot.

The next batch, I made into kale chips…

kale chips

Made a couple of batches of these, actually. Cooked again, slowly, on a really low oven. This results in less browned kale than what you get if it is cooked at a higher temperature. And this time I tried a new recipe that had a special sauce made of tahini among other things, and brewer’s yeast (really great cheesy-like flavor.) They are good! The problem with kale chips, however, is it’s hard to stop eating them once you start.

But that’s okay. I’ve got plenty more kale in my fridge. You might say my kale harvesting has only just begun.

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