Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meatless Monday: When the Frost is on the Pumpkin, It’s Kale Time!

If tender zucchini or juicy, red tomatoes are what you crave, you’ll be out of luck at the November farmer’s market. But if kale is on your list you will not be disappointed, for kale is a cool weather crop. In fact kale tastes its best when harvested after a hard frost; freezing nights trigger the transformation of some of the plant’s starches into sugars. This is a defense mechanism to keep the plant’s cells from freezing and dehydrating. Carrots do the same thing as this article from The Washington Post explains.

According to information found at Burpee.com, kale can survive temperatures to -10°F. Kale can be grown throughout the winter as far north as the mid-Atlantic states, and in even colder climes if protected by some form of cover.

I am a huge fan of this hardy, readily available green. Check out my Kale Day post to see a short list of its many amazing properties. 

I try to keep some on hand at all times for use in:
AND, here is my tip of the week. 
  • Chopped, steamed kale is an excellent addition to pasta sauce (jarred or homemade). 
Kale veterans among you know that it is essential to remove the tough kale stems from the leaves before using the kale in a recipe. One way to do this is with a sharp knife. Another is to use this nifty tool a friend sent me.

The Chef'n Looseleaf™ Kale & Greens Stripper is a small leaf-shaped plastic tool with various sizes of holes to accommodate the stems of a variety of herbs and greens. You simply insert the stem into one end and pull it through, thus separating the leaf from the stem. This tool has been much reviewed online; not all the reviews are glowing, but it did the trick for me, and it is a lot safer than a knife! With its relatively low cost, small size, and cuteness factor, it has great potential as a stocking stuffer in the weeks ahead. 

That’s it for today. Next week I hope to have some vegetarian and vegan suggestions for your holiday meal planning. Until then, eat well!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”