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Harvesting Kale Buds

April 14th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my ‘Red Russian’ kale plants that overwintered in the garden were starting to bud. I checked on them every day waiting for the perfect time to harvest, which happened to be last Saturday. Imagine my surprise when I logged on to Pinerest and noticed someone else pinned a post by about harvesting kale buds. I’ve never really seen anyone else talk about eating kale buds.

I steamed them for a few minutes, then we enjoyed them drizzled with olive oil and a healthy dusting of freshly ground sea salt and pepper. They were quite good, not as sweet as broccoli, but since the weather is still cold at night they weren’t as bitter as they can be. I especially like that they have leaves attached, which are sweet and delicious, like sautéed kale. Next batch will be drizzled with chipotle infused ghee for a bit of spicy heat, which I really like with brassicas!

I harvested the main sprouts and the side shoots will produce as well. After another harvest or two I’ll let them set seed which I will save for future plantings and to use as sprouting seeds in the winter.

Harvesting the kale buds is a wonderful way to extend the harvest and maximize your plantings. One plant, 3 different ways to enjoy it on your dinner plate: sprouts, leaves, and buds!

Have you ever eaten kale buds?

14 Comments to “Harvesting Kale Buds”
  1. Maria on April 14, 2012 at 6:59 am

    No ~ but I did notice that my Kale is budding…something to eat this evening – looking forward to it!

    Reply to Maria's comment

  2. Allison on April 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Hmmm, no I haven’t but I will have to keep an eye on mine this year!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  3. Melissa on April 14, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Never thought about eating those. Although mine would probably be on the bitter side with this hot early spring we’ve been having. Not sure if I have any that haven’t gone to seed.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  4. Jenny on April 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Thank you so so much for this post! Especially since you posted before I decided to pull the overwintered kale out of the garden. I think the local restaurant will love to get their hands on our kale buds.

    Reply to Jenny's comment

  5. Sincerely, Emily on April 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

    My kale has budded and already flowered and the seed pods just need to dry now. I am trying hard to be patient because I need the garden space to plant other things right now. I have never eaten kale buds. What a great way to extend the use of that plant. Your buds look great!

    Sometimes I miss a few little broccoli shoots before they are about to pop open into flowers. I still cut them and steam them to eat.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  6. KimH on April 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Yum!! I’ve never had kale buds but they look & sound awesome! Something to tuck into the back pocket for another day! Thanks!

    Reply to KimH's comment

  7. risa on April 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    All the time. Doesn’t everyone?? Gee, have led a sheltered life …

    Reply to risa's comment

  8. Dorothy on April 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    We eat kale, broccoli, collards, and other leafy hardy greens as rabe. Sometimes you get more rabe than the original, intended harvest.

    Reply to Dorothy's comment

  9. victoria on April 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    This is my first year growing kale…looks like I have much to look foward to! I’m growing lacinato & a curly leaf variety. Hope I have enough for a batch of kale chips.

    Reply to victoria's comment

  10. Patricia from on April 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Yes, they’re quite good! The flowers are nice, too, I put them in salads. :)

    Reply to Patricia from's comment

  11. Annette on April 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I have never caught the knack for growing brocolli, so I use kale buds in place of brocolli alot. I eat the leaves, and then the buds, so I get more food from the same amount of space.

    Reply to Annette's comment

  12. Andrea Duke on April 15, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I had the area around my front porch planted in ornamental kale/cabbages for the winter and they flower the same way. Sends lots of stems up the middle with pretty yellow flowers.

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  13. Estelle on April 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I tried rhem for the first time last week right after seeing you could eat them on DigginFood. I made a bouquet of them with a few leaves that I kept for a couple of days in my kitchen before eating them sauteed. They were quite tender and delicious, will definitely eat them again!

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  14. Mmm kale buds on April 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Just scoffed an omelette with ham & steamed kale buds. Very nice

    Reply to Mmm kale buds's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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