Saturday, May 31, 2014

Putting Up and Eating My Harvests

This morning was a big one on the preservation front. The first chore was to chop the rest of the good kale leaves off the plants. Kale is a mainstay of my winter eating. So I like to freeze a lot of it. For greens I shoot for about 40 servings of the chenopodiums with about half spinach and half chard. And about the same amount of the brassicas split between kale and broccoli.

I picked about four and a half pounds of kale from the Blue Curly Kale. Despite it being a more dwarf plant, it gave me a much bigger harvest than the Winterbor. I think that is because the Winterbor starts to bolt earlier than the other.

After blanching I divided the kale up into packets to freeze. I have two servings in each container. Once they freeze I'll take them out and vacuum seal. With 18 servings they end up being about a quarter pound each, which is a nice size.

This is the last of the kale leaves. And all told I have 28 servings frozen. So the kale did decently. Lets hope the broccoli can make up the 12 I still need. I didn't eat any of the kale leaves fresh this spring but that doesn't mean I was deprived of kale. I had lots and lots of kale blossoms to eat. I probably had them at every other meal for the last three weeks. It has been a good kale run. I'll be sad to see it go. I might get another serving before I rip the plants out, but maybe not. I do want to get the parsnips in soon.

The oregano in the herb bed was just taking over, so it was the next plant to get harvested. I only harvested half because I didn't think more would fit in the dehydrator. I'll save the other half for another day.

But I was wrong. I could only fit about half of that in the dehydrator. So I had to use the oven method for the rest. I turned the oven on at its lowest temperature which is 170F. Then turned it off and put in the herbs. Four hours later (because I forgot about it) I turned it on until it heated up again. It is slow going that way, but at least the oregano won't mold on me. I expect that when the dehydrator is empty I'll refill with what is in the oven. I could just leave the oven on at that temperature, but it is a bit hot. I'd really like to have the herbs not see anything over 115F for better quality.

I've been playing with salad dressings recently as I've been eating salads everyday for lunch. In the last couple of weeks I was experimenting with blue cheese dressing. I hated blue cheese as a child, but tastes change and blue cheese is supposed to be really good for you. So I tried it out again. And yup I do like it now. But the real garden dressings are ones that use your homegrown herbs. So today I tried making a Green Goddess dressing. It has parsley, chives, and tarragon. All herbs that grow in my garden. The verdict is that I like it, but I'll have to play with it some more. The classic Green Goddess is made with a mayo base. I'm not a huge fan of tons of mayo. I don't mind some. So I cut it in half with buttermilk which was good. But I may replace some of the mayo with sour cream too. And it needs a lot more herbs.


  1. What a great kale harvest! I don't know how you got your oregano to be so nicely mounded like that. Mine is sprawled all over one corner of a bed. Your dressing looks good. We always made ours with mayo and buttermilk too.

  2. Freezing some of the harvests now for the winter is a great idea. In the spring & early summer, I tend to forget that we don't HAVE to eat all the greens as they are picked but that I can put some of them up for winter. BTW, that herb bed looks gorgeous.

  3. I can't wait until I have a nice mature herb bed like yours. I feel like I'm desperately missing out on fresh herbs at the moment.

    I'm not a huge fan of mayo either. It's just a bit too rich for my taste.