Winter Is Probably Still Coming

The hoop house may have been a bust, but my cold hardy vegetables are none the wiser. The kale, chard, carrots, and beets are all growing happily.

A little too happily.

I haven’t done a big harvest in a while, and the kale has been getting away from me. My hope is that the hoop house will pull through this time and keep it alive into the winter, but I’m not putting any money on it.

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Instead, I’m freezing my leafy greens before New England gets a chance to. I’m not giving up entirely, so I left enough leaves that everybody should be able to keep growing, making for some strange shapes.

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I found myself with more loose leaves than I could ever carry in my arms. Luckily, I was lazy and never put away the containers from my poor doomed peppers and eggplants. I threw together some festive arrangements and headed home.

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Late season kale is a haven for little powdery bugs. I’d sprayed for it a few months ago, but the kale kept on living and the bugs eventually came back. I washed, leaf by leaf, until I was completely sick of kale. And then I washed for another hour or so.

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Meanwhile I boiled a big stockpot of water and, batch by batch, blanched my leaves for two minutes. This supposedly kills any microbes that might be hanging around. It also turns everything a healthy green.

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From the boiling water the leaves went straight into an ice water bath to halt the cooking process. From there they went into a colander and I went to the freezer to dig around for more ice.

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After the first batch of leaves, the water turned a distinctly orange color. Is this because kale is so high in iron? Er… yes. Let’s say that it is. Because I honestly have no better ideas.

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After draining the cooled leaves, I gave them a good squeeze to remove excess water and mould them into handy portions. No one wants a solid gallon of frozen chopped kale. I don’t care who they are or what they think they need.

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I let the leaf balls sit on their cookie sheets in the freezer over night. In the morning I had some very sturdy and very frozen balls of solid fresh leaf. I packed them away into freezer bags and stowed them in the freezer. In all, it was three or four hours’ work for an amount of vegetables that would cost me a few dollars at the store.

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No wonder people usually just buy food.

 

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