With winter around the corner on 11/18/2013, I decided to bring in some of my Red Russian kale.
I received a baked kale chip recipe from a work-related health event this month. Being that I’m a better gardener than a cook, I usually go with easy recipes (the simpler the better). This one would only get easier if the instructions were “Just eat the kale raw.” The only issue I had with this was overcooking (also known as burning). Start checking at 6 minutes in 30 second increments.
On a side note, I learned during a work road trip that kale chips in a plastic baggy look like something else to the untrained eye. To this day people are still putting air quotes around the word “kale” as in “Don’t you get the munchies after you eat your ‘kale’?”
– 1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces (about 16 cups)
– 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
Position racks in upper third and center of oven; preheat to 400°F.
If kale is wet, very thoroughly pat dry with a clean kitchen towel; transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, massage the oil and salt onto the kale leaves to evenly coat. Fill 2 large rimmed baking sheets with a layer of kale, making sure the leaves don’t overlap. (If the kale won’t all fit, make the chips in batches.)
Bake until most leaves are crisp, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 8 to 12 minutes total. (If baking a batch on just one sheet, start checking after 8 minutes to prevent burning.)
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Note: Choose organic kale when possible. Nonorganic can have high pesticide residue.
Because of my seed saving efforts, the Snarky Gardener has signed the Safe Seed Pledge, which states:
“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative,
We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds or plants.
The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”
This does mean I’ve stopped my evil experiments to create plants that are actually snarky (with snide remarks and sarcastic attitudes), but I think we’re all better off this way.
This fall we’ve had serious snow twice so far (several inches each time) here in Northeastern Ohio. While most people have not even thought about their gardens since the first freeze back in October, the early snow had me worried. Many of my fall duties were incomplete, including digging up and bringing in my rosemary herbs (they died out there last winter – sniff). Also, the fall leaves I gathered into big honking piles did not get as distributed as I would have liked. I found out this summer that some plants (lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, peas, corn salad) could be covered with mulch 5 or 6 inches deep in the fall to “overwinter” them. Then in mid-March, you just pull off the leaves and viola, they will start growing again. Nifty trick having food producing plants when other unsnarky gardeners are still planning for the summer. Anyways, I was finally able to finish these tasks on 12/4/2013 with most of my fall babies no worse for wear.
If you look at the pictures below, you will notice some of my plants didn’t do as well by December (especially the sad Swiss chard in the middle foreground). In the back left, my mustard is going to seed, which is good because I needed more for cooking and next year’s crop. But you will also see that there’s quite a bit of green considering it’s December in Ohio. On the right foreground, my purple top turnips are looking great. I will thin these out (yum) and mulch the rest in the next week or so. Also, near the Swiss chard, you should be able to make out bright green areas near the ground. That’s my corn salad and onions, all ready to eat. We used them plus mustard greens, carrots, and kale to make a wonderfully fresh salad (again, in December in Ohio).
P.S. I don’t think “unsnarky” is a word, but with use it will soon become one.