This year my garden is exploding with kale! We have so much of it that you would have to eat salad every day of the week for the rest of the year just to use it up (or so it seems). For this blog post, I will be focusing on kale, its benefits, and what you can do to change up the way you eat kale.
Kale is a phenomenal plant. It thrives in Alaska’s chillier climate and can be planted early in the season when the ground is still cool. My brother’s landlord once told him that he keeps his kale going as long as he can in the winter just by brushing off the snow. He even mentioned that it often tastes sweeter in the winter. If you are looking to boost your kale productivity, try using grass clippings, straw and compost in order to conserve moisture and keep the ground cool. Kale likes full sun but can do well in partial shade. Kale grows best in soil with a pH of about 6.5. If you find that your soil is too acidic, try adding crushed limestone or shell limestone to help increase alkalinity (Burpee).
Not only is kale an easy plant to grow, and one that thrives without a lot of attention, it also contains important vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, K, B6, as well as potassium, calcium, iron, and manganese. Looking for more dietary fiber in your diet? Kale is a great source for this! In addition, the sulfur compounds found in kale are a way to defend against cancer (Shallcross, Cooperative Extension Service).
This summer my family has been eating kale with everything, but we have started to become bored with the way it has been prepared. Lately while browsing Fred Meyer and organic food stores, I have come across many different kale chip products. Many of these products cost an arm and a leg for something that can easily and affordably be prepared in your own home! This past week I was inspired to make some for myself.
The first step is to harvest as much kale as you would like to make into chips. Once it is cooked, the kale shrinks up so I suggest cutting more than you think you’ll want. There are many varieties, but my favorite is just to toss the kale with a little bit of olive oil and some salt (I used a smoky habanero sea salt…yum!). Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are the crispiness you prefer. Throw them in a bowl and invite your friends over to enjoy them with you! Experiment with other ways to spice your kale chips up by melting some cheese on top or using other seasonings.
As you can see there are many ways to get creative around harvesting season. Making kale chips is just one healthy and easy snack to prepare. So put away the potato chips and get ready for a new alternative that your family and friends will love!