Monday, March 9, 2015

Sea Kale - Beautiful & Yummy

Above is the beautiful (and delicious) sea kale (Crambe maritima) but more on that later... It was a beautiful and sunny day over 50 degrees F which is nice warm up compared to recent weeks.  Of course this comes hand in hand with sloppy roads, paths, etc. but the rest of the week looks to be quite warm and sunny too.  I'm going to look for early blooms out in the gardens tomorrow as this heat will encourage some to start peaking out.  Maybe I'll run across winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) and/or snowdrops (Galanthus sp.).  We had an excellent crew here today.  Larry H., Ron R. and Alan M. were all out in the gardens bringing in more displays and other elements from the Holiday Lights Show (HLS).  With most of the lights processed, both Pat M. and Urban were able to get outside for some pruning.  Jim, Ron Y., Vern and Bob K. continued work on the Garden Art Projects (see our website for information) which will be available for pick-up next Monday, March 16th.  Jenny M. and Dr. Gredler worked on painting and both Larry and Bill prepared the next wave of "paintable objects" as we'll have help throughout the week.  Maury ran lots of errands for us and Terry and Marv were out in the gardens bringing in more of our temporary trees from the HLS for shredding in to woodchip mulch.  Gary worked on more signs and Kay came in to process more seeds and prepare handouts for upcoming presentations.  Jenny E. and Cindy B. were the dynamic duo preparing signs for our incoming annuals this spring.  We also saw Garrett, Lisa I., Bob T. and many others today.
This blog is a tribute to sea kale (Crambe maritima) which has long been one of my favorite perennials for foliage.  Native to sea shores in the UK and other portions of Europe, this cabbage relative (zone 5 hardiness) has a long history of use in the kitchen.  The entire plant is edible (roots, shoots and flowers) although many prefer blanching (excluding sunlight) from the plant for a more tender taste.  Shoots can be steamed like asparagus and this plant is high in Vitamin C, protein and other nutrients.  Descriptions on how to prepare it includes raw, boiled, baked, braised, etc.  Thomas Jefferson included this plant in his 1809 Garden Book and it will be included for the second year in a row in our Thomas Jefferson Collection.  We've long had specimens in our Scottish garden and most of these photos are from our own plants. I love that shade blue! 


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