Look at all that kale! I am so fortunate to have such an abundance of this nutrient dense food. It grows beautifully and reliably in our rich soil and cooler summers. I suppose I shouldn’t speak to soon about cool summers and reliability. Every year changes and this past summer proved that it can get hotter than ever. I even lost a few crops that normally do great due to so much humidity. Fortunately kale wasn’t one of them. It came on strong and grew steady all season. I grow mostly Scotch kale and a few of the Lacinato kale just for a little variety. When we first started gardening we grew the Red Russian kale that is so popular. It too does well here. But we liked the more delicate texture and flavor of the Scotch Kale and have stuck with that ever since. Using the bioinensive method of gardening, I have beds that are 100 square feet to help portion out crop sizes more easily. Early on we planted a full bed of kale each summer. Since it is just me and my husband, we quickly realized this was CRAZY amounts of kale! Because the first planting grows all summer and you can just harvest outside leaves, we had way more than we needed to eat fresh daily and store up for the winter and into the spring. Now I plant about half a bed (50 sq. ft.) and it is still more than we need. I love this example of how little space you need to grow lots of food! Now that snow is upon us this evening, the kale that is in the garden will be about done for the season. After eating fresh and blanching and freezing what I need for winter, I decided to store more as kale pesto. While my basil grew beautifully this year, I was not able to make much pesto with it due to summer time busyness. Now that the garden is put to bed, the days chilly and the nights cold, I have time to make pesto. With the remaining kale, I should be able to make about 10 pints of pesto to freeze, eat and gift. My basic pesto recipe uses what I have regularly on hand. I am too practical to buy fancy pine nuts or Parmesan cheese (although I love both). I always have olive oil, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds and garlic available. All I need is something green and kale works beautifully. Here’s my recipe if you want to give it a try!
2 cups lightly packed, ripped up fresh kale
1/2 cup organic olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
(toast until slightly browned in a pan on low to medium heat with no oil, stirring seeds regularly to prevent burning)
4 cloves of organic garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put in food processor, blender, vitamix until desired consistency.
Eat on everything!