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K is for Kale
Following a long hiatus, this was my first year back into vegetable gardening. Last summer, we prepared the soil: adding lime to balance the pH, mixing in organic matter hauled in from a local farm, mixing in the "dirt" our composter produced from all our fresh produce scraps.
This initial year my garden plan was not too complicated. I planted plenty of garlic last fall, which grew well (it's pretty hard to mess up with garlic) and is now curing - hanging on hooks in the shed. Greens are an important part of my daily menu so chard, spinach, mustard greens, and kale were on my list. Carrots, beets, onions, potatoes (my first experience with potato beetles @##&$!!), squash, leeks, summer turnips - with tomatoes, one jalapeno plant, a few (prolific) cucumber plants and some herbs filling in the rest.
Some vegetables produced better than others - due to the timing of planting, the amount of rain (I had to supplement with hand watering), and the care that was given to it (which was on the short side for the veggies - not to mention the weeds: apologies to my Mom, whose gardening example I couldn't follow).
The biggest rewards have been my tomatoes, the volunteer squash that grew from the composter dump, the herbs - and the kale, which just goes on and on.
I try to have a green smoothie or salad every day - plus toss extra greens into sauces and other dishes. I still have kale left in my garden.
On the recommendation from Gisele, a good friend and cook extraordinaire, I am freezing it for future frostier days. I've tasted Gisele's green smoothies made with her frozen kale and am confident in encouraging you to try this too.
How to freeze kale.
Wash kale leaves carefully (those little green worms can easily hide) and remove as much water as possible in a lettuce spinner.
Place a piece of waxed paper about 12"X12" on the cupboard and cover with torn kale leaves. For the amount of smoothie I make, I use about 2 1/2 oz. of kale.
Carefully tucking in the leaves, roll the wax paper up into a tube.
Place tube in a Ziplog freezer bag. Once your bag is full of kale "rolls", put into freezer.
Take out rolls as needed to use in smoothies (or soups, etc.).
Freeze your kale - forward your garden's goodness to cold weather nutrition.