A not so obvious reason to overwinter kale is for the florets that appear in spring. Once the row cover came off, we cleaned the kale plants of dead debris and nipped off the forming seed heads to encourage the growth of side shoots and additional florets.
These are a mix of florets from Siberian and Red Russian kales. We’ve been grazing on them while in the garden, or tossed in a salad. With a harvestable amount of florets this week, there’s enough to serve on their own.
They can be treated much like any flowering brassica, such as rapini or broccoli raab. At its simplest, steam or saute the florets briefly, then season with some good olive oil, a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
This is my first year of growing kale and I’ve yet to have it flower so I will be interested to see what the florets taste like when they appear. They sound delicious.
This is the first time we’ve over-wintered kale, and are waiting to see how long they’ll continue to produce now that the florets are cut off…
That’s a lovely harvest.
I too harvested in a few ounces of kale and collard florets from the overwintering plants then I pulled up the plants and discarded them to make room for new plantings.
We’ve planted a couple of new rows of kale, but hope to continue harvesting from these overwintered ones until the spring ones come in.
My kale plants are all younger starts at the moment so I don’t have any emergent flowers to nibble on but I think my broccoli has started to form the first of their main heads and I am excited to see their arrival.
We haven’t had much success with broccoli, and have been encouraging the kale florets as a kind of substitute… not quite the same, but does offer some variety when there’s so little to harvest…
those look yummy, mine haven’t bolted yet but are already a bit tough; I’m feeding them to the chickens and rabbits since I have more tender greens available.
Spring is very cool here, and keeping the kales sweet but also makes for a long delay before anything else comes up. Sounds like your chickens and rabbits eat well!
Something new every day! Those florets are lovely!
We’ve been learning more about the different edible parts of what we grow, the lazy approach to extending the season!
Funny — I’d just read a post on a favorite west coast blog, Tea and Cookies, about eating kale flowers. Here it is, if you’re interested. http://www.teaandcookiesblog.com/2012/05/eating-flowers.html (It’s a beautiful blog.) I have one little overwintered kale plant that’s flowering right now. Lucky me!!
Hey Eleanor, thanks for the link! We’re letting one of the kales flower to have their blossoms to add to kale salads…
Never even thought of eating kale flowers.. learn something new every day! However, I seem to fail miserably in getting kale to germinate, so I probably won’t be trying kale flowers any time soon.
We’re still learning which parts of the plants we grow are edible… don’t want to make a mistake!
I never thought to eat the flowers either! Amazing! Most of my kale is flowering now so I’ll have to give it a try! :-)
We’ve really come to appreciate things we used to overlook…