Each morning the frost-kissed grass becomes increasingly brown. Each day there is a little less sunlight, and leaves on trees are just a distant memory. Gardens look barren, but if you take a closer look you will often find dark green leaves of kale, collards, cabbages or Brussels sprouts peeking out from the under the frost. This December we celebrate a whole family of vegetables known as Brassicas, prized for their hardiness in cold weather.
Members of the Brassica family are planted at different times throughout the growing season. For example, kale can be planted in early spring and continually harvested through most of the winter. Other Brassicas, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, will grow for a while and produce a head which is its one harvest.
Through our work with nearly every school-aged child on the Island, we have yet to meet someone who did not like a kale chip. Easy and fun to make, they are a crunchy, savory snack that even self-professed non-vegetable eaters will enjoy. Most children even relish in telling us that they love to eat broccoli, often just steamed and added to pastas, salads, or curries. Next time you are looking for an exciting side dish, try drizzling cauliflower or Brussels sprouts with some olive oil and roasting in the oven until lightly browned.
Try making these family-friendly kale chips at home:
A bunch of kale, washed
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Pick all of the kale leaves away from the stem. Tear them up into chip sized pieces.
3. Place kale pieces into a mixing bowl and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and add a dash of salt. Massage kale pieces until they are dark green and lightly coated in oil.
4. Spread kale pieces evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet and place into oven. After 10 minutes, take out the kale chips and give them a stir. Place back in the oven until crisp, but not burnt, about another 10 minutes.
For more serving ideas, shopping tips and recipes visit our website: islandgrownschools.org/harvest-of-the-month.