CAVOLO NERO KALE CHIPS + The Winter Garden

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips

If you are not a huge kale fan then you must try kale chips, you might be surprised. My 4-year old daughter will sit down and eat a whole bowl - equating to half a bunch of kale! I know crazy, but children seem to love the crunchy melt-in-the mouth texture. I have used cavolo nero [aka: black kale / Tuscan kale] as my curly kale is still teeny weeny and would only make a handful of chips. See directions below for curly kale.

Ingredients

  • approx. 20 large leaves cavolo nero
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Flavour additions:

  • splash of tamari or soy sauce
  • squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • garlic crushed
  • pinch of chilli

Instructions

  • Preheat oven 150C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
  • Wash the kale if required and thoroughly dry. Place in a large bowl and drizzle over the olive oil, add the salt and other flavour additions. Gently rub the oil into the kale to evenly coat - the aim of the game is to lightly coat the whole leaf. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking tray - it is OK if the leaves are touching just not over-lapping too much. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Check the chips, they should be dry and crispy. I sometimes find the leaves in the middle may need an extra 5 minutes to crisp up, but first remove the chips that are ready or they can burn.

Notes

Curly Kale Chips: Using approx. 6 large curly kale leaves, remove the tough stalk and spine and tear into 'chip' sized pieces. Continue as above.

Kale is something I hold dear to my heart. I actually met my husband over a bunch of kale at the Nelson Market. And after several years of admiring each other from afar we eventually connected over a cup of hot chai (incidentally at the market again) and a conversation about kale. As they say the rest is history. And we often joke that it was the copious amounts of kale we ate one winter that landed us pregnant with out first baby. I am sure you have heard how awesomely nutritious kale is for us.

However, I do have a rule when it comes to eating kale, it must have endured a good frost before we start eating it. I often see kale at the farmers market in late summer but fibrous kale really needs a good freeze to burst the complex sugars contained within. This will 1. sweeten it, and 2. make it more digestible. Seriously, it tastes so much sweeter after a good frost. Last week we had our first heavy frost and I have been going kale mad ever since. Luckily the husband doesn’t complain – obviously it has already been ascertained that we are both mad kale lovers. The garden kale offerings are still rather minimal so luckily we can buy HUGE bunches of curly kale for a couple bucks at the Farmers Market from a happy organic grower.

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Growing Kale

It is relatively easy to grow kale at home. Being a brassica like broccoli and cauliflower, I find it often gets a good going over from the white butterflies when I first plant the seedlings in February/ March. The best defense is to cover with cloches when the plants are small, and check leaves regularly squashing any little white eggs you find – they are quite miniscule so look carefully. I have also found a diluted spray of eco dishwash liquid – about 5 mls in a 500ml spray bottle – on the plants several times a week helps to deter the butterflies landing on the leaves and laying their eggs. Companion plants include onions, leeks, garlic, dill, sage and rosemary. Although this winters crop is planted next to a row of leeks with a rosemary bush nearby, and we still had caterpillars so I am not completely convinced about companion planting. Brasiccas are heavy feeders so I often lay seaweed from making seaweed fertiliser around the plants. I also give the plants a feed of diluted seaweed fertiliser once a month – if I remember! If you have any tips for growing healthy brassicas please share them below.

Winter Garden | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

In the Garden – Winter

Most of the winter vegetables in the garden I planted out in late summer but there are still quite a few vege you can plant at this time of year. Most importantly it is time to get your garlic in the ground in the next month or so – up until August. I have prepared a garden bed with compost and chicken poo and will plant our saved garlic from last seasons crop in the next week or so. You can read more about growing garlic HERE. Although it is getting too late in the season to plant kale seedlings, other winter seedlings/ seeds to plant this month include:

  • silver beet/ chard
  • winter spinach
  • hardy lettuces such as cos and iceberg do fine through the winter but they like good sun during the day
  • Rocket
  • Radish – direct sow
  • coriander – every winter garden needs coriander, it simply loves the cold
  • parsley
  • broad beans and snow peas – SO good for the soil and easy to grow – direct sow, find directions HERE

Cavolo Nero Kale Chips | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

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  1. Cornelia says:

    That sounds delicious, will try soon. Thanks for sharing;-)

  2. Thanks for that recipe – my daughter (21) is crazy over kale chips too and I have never made them.
    Have you tried diatomaceous earth to keep your brassicas free of pests? Also, I’ve heard, but haven’t tried it myself yet, that rhubarb leaves over cauliflower heads will confuse the white butterflies so that they leave them alone.

    1. Thanks Anne, I haven’t tried it but I have heard about it and will look into it now you have reminded me. Thanks for the tip about the rhubarb will try that next cabbages I plant. I hope you enjoy the kale chips.

  3. Zoe McGovern says:

    Have you ever tried using coconut oil instead of olive? I haven’t yet, but would like to – just curious if there would be a reason not to. Thanks!

    1. Hi lovely, I haven’t tried coconut oil mainly because I am too lazy to melt the oil before rubbing into the leaves. Our coconut oil is rock solid at the moment. We can also get lovely locally grown and pressed EV Olive Oil in fill-your-own bottles so try and use local over imported where I can. But I have heard coconut oil makes very yummy kale chips so will try it sometime soon!

  4. We go crazy for kale chips in our house…it’s first in best dressed!
    Coconut oil is usually my oil of choice, it’s rare that it’s solidified here in Perth unless it’s unusually cold and it makes for a lovely flavour.

    1. Thanks Tammi, will definitely try with coconut oil tonight as I am sure it would crisp the chips up nicely.

  5. What a fitting way to meet your husband 🙂
    I have tried interplanting kale with citrus marigolds (tagetes) and that helps quite well, since their scent is so strong. But only covering brassicas with horticultural fleece is 100 % effective.

    1. Hi Vera, lovely to hear from you. I know a perfect match 🙂
      Thanks for the citrus marigold tip will try and source some seed for next season. I have covered them also a few seasons ago and it was very effective but I didn’t have the best cover material so will look into something better.

      1. Old net curtains are fantastic covers that let water and sunlight through. You just need some hoops of wire or other cloche hoops to drape them over. And you need to anchor the curtains down at the side with stones or something, because the little beggars get in at any gap. I planted lots of stuff late summer (incl cavolo nero!) while the white butterflies were in abundance and everything came through pretty well, it’s feeding us now.

        1. Thanks for the tip Andrea, I like this idea. I have used frost cloth but it is quite bulky and difficult to pin down. Will look out for some net curtains at the Op shop. Enjoy your garden 🙂

  6. Wonderful! I found this post just in time for some kale chips with dinner 🙂

    1. Awesome! Enjoy, just remember to check your oven is not on fan bake or use 130C if you you have a fan-forced oven. If the temp is too high the chips will burn.

  7. Kale’s sweetness in winter is always a lovely reminder to me of nature’s magic – when we most need nourishing, immune boosting greens, they taste their best! In our climates it really is easy to stay healthy by eating deliciously with the seasons. Thanks for all your winter gardening inspiration 🙂

    1. Hi Sam, yes I love eating with the seasons and find produce in season just has so much more flavour and vibrancy!

  8. I have had kale chips before but have never actually made my own, will use this recipe. Pinned!

  9. My 7 yr old and I love kale chips, they are also good with a squeeze of lemon added before baking

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