My parents never grew kale in their garden. There wasn’t much that they missed growing in our garden, but I know for sure that kale was not a crop they planted.
The first time I saw this veggie, it was growing in a flower garden – so what a switch for me to be here, on a soap box, telling you that you should definitely grow this crop!
Kale is one of those crops anyone can successfully grow. It is a part of the cabbage family and it can ‘take’ the cold weather extremely well. Put it in full sun in the spring and you will be harvesting it in about two months. It really prefers cooler temperatures and is even sweetened by a touch of frost. A spring and fall crop of kale does extremely well in our zone 5 Colorado.
So, now you’ve grown the stuff. What do you do with it? If you let the kale leaves get too big, you’ll note that they will get bitter. Take care to harvest the young, tender leaves as they mature. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and calcium. It’s high in fiber, a super source of beta-carotene and also possesses carotenoids to help keep UV rays from damaging your eyes. OK, OK – I get that, but kale is not just one of those veggies you will sit down and eat by the bowl full in front of the TV!
Baked kale chips are amazingly delicious, and when my friend, Katie, told me about this recipe, I decided to try it that same night.
Baked Kale Chips
After harvesting a bunch of kale, wash and thoroughly dry the leaves. On a cutting board, remove and discard the center rib and then tear the leaf into bite-sized pieces. I like to put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a plastic bag and toss the leaves in to coat. Place on a baking sheet, spreading the leaves apart so they are not overlapping. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees turning and moving them around as they shrink to make sure they crisp evenly.
We like to top with grated Parmesan cheese – returning to the oven for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.
The first time I made kale chips, I was a bit hesitant. They are green for heaven’s sake! Amazingly, they were delicious – and as I picked up the dinner dishes, I watched as my husband tipped the paper towel to get the last crumbs.