How to harvest kale
Kale sown in spring is starting to be big enough to be harvested- exciting times! My Cavolo Nero is looking lovely and we just got our second harvest. To make sure you get the most out of your plants, you need to harvest kale properly. And that means: no scissors!
How NOT to harvest kale (left photo): harvest random leaves and cut the stem of each leaf high using scissors, leaving a stub of side stem on the plant. The plant isn’t able to regrow leaves from the stub and the broken stem is still sucking energy out of the plant.
How to harvest kale (right photo): harvest starting from the lowest leaves on the stem (and incidentally the leaves on the outside of the plant). Hold on to the leaf close to the central stem, and turn it down in a single move: it will break right at the point where it meets the central stem. Your plant will continue to grow up, producing more leaves from its top, while you continue to harvest leaves from the bottom/ outside of the plant. Harvesting this way ensures a steady flow of leaves.
If you want one big harvest in a single go, you can cut the entire kale head once it have a fair number of leaves (sometimes done for the catering industry), and wait until new leaves re-sprout from the cut central stem. I prefer the sow and steady method personally.
It’s similar with chard and leaf beet- although the stems can sometimes be too thick for fingers/ hands only, so you can use scissors as long as you cut the leaf at its lowest point/ the closest to the central stem/ the closest to the ground possible.
My favourite kale recipe at the moment is to throw washed and shredded kale in a pan with hot coconut oil, and to add a couple of cloves of garlic, and either salt or soy sauce and chilli if I feel adventurous. It’s just delicious!