Tuesday, April 22, 2014

kale blossom salad

Giving it a sprinkle of olive oil and maybe some salt. Beautiful and yummy, but only if you grow your own. It would also be great in a quick saute with same olive oil, salt and some garlic. Nothing else needed. I wonder if I can make kale chips with the flowers?

I am surprised to discover that there aren't many varieties of kale. The grocery stores carry "green kale" and "purple kale." I remember it was such a big deal when they started selling Italian lacinato kale, marketed as "Dinosaur Kale!" Ooh. All these are kales with tough leaves that can survive shipping. I'm growing Red Winter, which has such tender leaves, that even mature leaves make a tender salad, no cooking required. Sometimes you can find it at a farmer's market, but it does wilt quickly, and who wants to buy wilted kale?  Yes, I think purple kale (Redbor) is quite beautiful, and tasty when cooked.

Burpee has 4 varieties - Dwarf Blue, Red Russian, Lacinato and Red Winter. I've tried growing both the Red Russian and the Red Winter and I can't tell the difference.

Park Seed has 5 varieties, White Russian ("The most cold-hardy and moisture resistant Kale we've ever grown!"), that looks like basic green kale in the photo, but I haven't tried it, Lacinato, Redbor Hybrid ("purple kale"), Winterbor Hybrid ("...unsurpased for extra-mild, sweet Kale tang." Seriously? Kale tang?), and Pentland Brig, described as "Looking and tasting a bit more like a cabbage than like the tightly-curled, deeply ruffled varieties..." Sounds good, but does it have that "Kale tang?"

Seeds of Change has four varieties, Red Russian, True Siberian, Lacinato, and "Healthy Kale Mix" which I assume is an open pollinated mix of various kales. Maybe I'd like to try the True Siberian.

Seeds of Italy has two kinds of kale, Lacinato and Galega de Folhas Lisas Smooth Green Leaf. Google translates this as "Galician of flat sheets" but it also translates "Galega de Folhas" as "kale leaves" so I wonder if the translation is really just "flat kale?"But wiith a name like that, how can one resist?

Renee's Garden has four kinds of kale, Lacinato, Portuguese Tronchuda Beira, Triple-Curled "Darkibor" (looks like standard green kale) and Russian "Wild Garden Frills" which is nice marketing for "Equal parts Wild Red & Green Russian Kales."Tronchuda Beira" looks like a a cross between Swiss chard and collards, and looks interesting. I may have to try that one.

The Cook's Garden has four varieties, five if you count "kale mix." These are Lacinato, Winterbor, Wild Mix and Redbor. Boring!

Thompson & Morgan didn't have link to kale in their catalog, but a word search shows 3 types, Black Tuscany (Lacinato), Scarlet (might be Redbor, repackaged), and Rossignol (a green ruffled kale). There is also Walking Stick, which is described as "edible." I'm going to pass on that one. For some reason, I expected more from this company.

Botanical Interests also did not have a link to kale, and a word search shows five varieties, Dwarf Blue Curled, Lacinato Nero Toscana, Red Winter (where I got my seeds), Redbor, and Ornamental Kale Chidori Red.

Gourmet Seed lists Portugese (misspelling is theirs) as a cabbage, so maybe I'll rethink that one. Also has Black Tuscan (Lacinato), Red Russian, and Siberian.

I may have to try a new one or two, but really, I'm quite happy with my Red Winter.

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