Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Great Kale Heist

August brings harvest craziness. Raspberries, service berries and black currants are all ripe in my yard. The strawberries are finally done. A couple days ago I blanched and froze spinach greens and beet greens (the beet greens only because I was thinning them--not full harvest yet). That day my husband commented that my kale really needed to be picked. If he's noticing it, then it must be time. So today was the day. In the course of picking the kale I realized I hadn't thinned the turnips, and in thinning the turnips I discovered masses of root maggots on them, so they all had to go. Bye-bye turnips. I have enough to make a couple batches of pasties, which is why I planted them. And then I realized I hadn't thinned my carrots either, and they needed it, so I pulled up the little ones and will make one of my daughter's favorite's: carrot top and quinoa soup. Yum!

After I got the turnips in and the carrots picked, I finished picking the kale and began the production. One exciting development is that I no longer blanch my greens by putting them in boiling water. My aunt steams hers and I have found that I can do a much larger quantity in the same amount of time, and it is much less messy and likely takes fewer nutrients out of the greens. At 3 minutes per batch, I was able to blanch all of this in 30 minutes.

Tub stuffed tight full with kale
Kale in the sink being washed. Love the huge mud room sink--perfect for such jobs!

Washed kale in bucket right by the stove--ready to pop into the pots
Three pots for steaming and two tubs of ice water for chilling ready to go

Steamed kale with the water squeezed out of it, waiting to be frozen

Steamed kale spread out on parchment-lined baking sheets. They get frozen like that, then taken out and packaged to make it easier to pull them out of the package frozen.

Bags of kale--ready to go into the freezer!

 The whole process (without the turnip and carrot distractions) took about an hour from picking to into the freezer. I suspect I have a few hundred dollars worth of kale there, though I don't have the courage to actually look at the price of kale in the grocery store and usually just close my eyes and grab it if I really am wanting some kale mid-winter when my supply has run out.

Last year my 5 bags of kale, like I have here, lasted me till January, going into daily smoothies and soups. This year I'm thinking I'll have more as it is only early August yet. As I like to say, food rarely goes bad in my house as I make sure I use it before it goes "over the hill."


Unknown said...

Great harvest so far! I noticed when walking around our property that we have 4 or 5 service berry trees bent and partially snapped by black bears. Our trees were loaded this year. I was surprised to see 4 inch trees snapped!

Michelle Waclawski said...

My service berry plants are slim--less than a finger width--even though they are quite mature plants. How do they manage to be 4 inches?!

Just picked half a gallon off my two plants this year--lost lots of berries to the birds. I didn't realize they were eating them! Explains why they were leaving the strawberries alone...

Unknown said...

If you do a Google search for service berry trees you'll see what ours look like. Most of our trees are 10-25 feet tall...tallest being 40 years old or so. Ours look like a blueberry on a 1 inch stem and taste somewhat similar with a seedier inside. Most of our fireweed in Michigan grows along the lake Superior shoreline. Love your posts!