Kale ‘Redbor’

Okay, so I slipped off the screen for a while. I can explain = I was finishing a book and getting all the details tied up (it will be out next July through Timber Press), more about that later in the year. Because I sweat these blogs and because I needed to garden up a storm, I just couldn’t juggle all the balls through the summer. The garden is winding down. The book is in production. And I’m back to blogging. My apologies to you all.

But what you really want to know about is kale, right? With all those bumper stickers out there urging you to eat your kale, we need to talk. During the summer, I might be prone to say that all kales are created equal on the taste test front. Correct? But after frost, I find that some varieties step to the forefront. Available from Territorial Seeds (www.territorialseeds.com among other sources), ‘Redbor’ is particularly buttery (in a chewy sort of way). Anybody else with similar reaction?

Okay, now that we’ve established it’s superiority in the edible realm, let’s get right down to the beauty pageant. ‘Redbor’ is an eye opener. The leaves are deep, royal purple with flaming magenta highlights. They’re held in a tight bouquet — like curly parsley. And like parsley, they are ultra-ruffled. Sea foam comes to mind. Mine have strong stalks; they stand 2-3 feet tall and they’re densely foliated from head to toe. They’re so handsome, in fact, that I’m not even tempted to take a nibble until after frost. And then, when only the leeks, Brussels sprouts and kale remain — then the harvest of their lip smacking goodness starts.

But the real reason to grow ‘Redbor’ happens in spring. Fast forward to spring all you Winter Warriors. The daffodils are bursting. The birdies are twittering (remember the original usage of that word?). And absolutely nothing is happening in the veg garden. Except ‘Redbor’. It’s making its scrumptious little nubbins of growth that freeze every night and melt in your mouth at lunchtime.

So grow this little goody. Do it for your tastebuds. Do it for spring fever. Grow ‘Redbor’ and nobody’s momma will need to beg them to eat their kale ever again.

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4 Responses to Kale ‘Redbor’

  1. Lisa from PA says:

    Kale ‘Redbor’ looks great in the garden. The photograph is stunning. But kale is the stuff I take off my plate when dining out, isn’t it? I have had kale in some soups that someone slipped in without my knowledge. I liked it then, but have never grown nor prepared it. Your description of its buttery taste and chewy texture has me wondering why I don’t already eat this stuff or grow this stuff at home. I guess I need to rethink kale in general, and ‘Redbor’ specifically. Might feel right at home in my Italian Wedding Soup… :)

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Oh Lisa, you’re going to have to get a recipe for crispy kale. I had it at a party and yummmm. Crunchy goodness like you wouldn’t believe in the healthy realm. Warning: Deer think it tastes great also, but only in winter and early spring when nothing else is tempting…

  2. It looks pretty enough to grow in the perennial border, right alongside all those darlings of the plant world that are held in such high esteem and yet can contribute nothing to a soup or salad. I’m going for it! Thanks, Tovah! And, welcome back! — Joe

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Yeah, those darlings of the plant world like the totally not edible morning glories that are winding around it. The morning glory in the photo is my own hybrid in a wonderful shade of purplish blue streaked in magenta exclamation points. Check out the Home Section of the NYTimes today, Joe — I make a cameo appearance in a column on houseplants…

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