Though we’ve been eating kale for weeks now, we had our first major harvest the other day. We had an annoying infestation of cabbage moth worms doing some damage a few weeks back, so I spent some time picking off the caterpillars (the chickens LOVED them), and trimming off the worst of the leaves. The plants bounced back after this. Vigorously.
So, we harvested about six and a half pounds in one go, leaving some rather pathetic looking stalks with a few baby leaves growing out the top to re-create the whole plant. We easily threw an equal poundage of leaves to the compost or chickens right from the garden. They were too badly damaged from the worms to be worth using. It was frustrating to toss so much, but made easier by the hefty grocery bags we carried to the kitchen anyway. And especially so by the thought of what a doubled harvest would have meant for preserving work.
The kale leaves were rinsed in a sink of water, trimmed of their center ribs, chopped roughly, dumped into a glass bowl, and microwaved with a little water for a few minutes. Drained, submerged in an ice bath for another few minutes, and spun dry, the now-wilted leaves were smushed and smashed into muffin tins. We found this technique allows us to compact the voluminous kale so it doesn’t take up our entire freezer, but also doesn’t result in a single, massive kale blob. Instead, we now have multiple, serving-size kale bombs, perfect size for tossing into soup or casseroles later this fall and winter when those types of food are actually appetizing. From 6.5 pounds fresh kale, we got about 30 kale muffins, filling about 1 and a half gallon ziplocks. Or, plenty enough.