Growing kale is easy and rewarding, but knowing when to harvest it can be tricky. This article will help you identify the best time to harvest your kale so that you can enjoy its delicious leaves for as long as possible.
When To Harvest Kale
To determine when to harvest kale, look at the leaves. They will change in size, shape, and color as they grow. The first signs that a head of kale is ready to be picked are when it reaches about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.
Kale is ready for harvest when the leaves become large, dark green, and firm; curly; smooth; or shiny on top. The best way to test this is by picking off one or two leaves from around the outside of your plant and comparing them with other parts of your garden’s kale plants.
When Is The Best Month To Harvest Kale?
The best month to harvest kale is in the fall. Kale is harvested in the fall because it is sweeter and more tender, but you can also harvest it in late summer or early fall.
Can You Harvest Kale Too Early?
While harvesting your kale earlier than normal may seem like a no-brainer, there are some drawbacks to consider before jumping the gun and harvesting your crop too soon. Kale’s flavor and nutrition content grow stronger as it gets older, so if you harvest too early, you could be missing out on some of the nutrients that make it one of the healthiest vegetables out there.
Additionally, if you harvest too early and then freeze or preserve your kale for later use, it will lose its vibrant color and become dull after cooking—not quite what you had in mind when trying to eat healthily!
How to Harvest Kale
Kale can be harvested in several different ways.
Hoeing: Hoeing is done when the plants are young and tender. A garden hoe is used to remove weeds from between the rows of kale plants. This allows sunlight and water to reach the leaves of each kale plant more easily.
Plucking: Plucking involves pulling individual leaves off the main stem of each plant. You should only pluck leaves that are ready for harvesting; otherwise, you may damage them or cause them to rot faster than they would if they were left on your kale plants.
Cutting: Cutting involves cutting off entire branches at their base with pruning shears or a knife. You can also use scissors or kitchen shears if you want smaller pieces of kale for cooking purposes.
Storing Kale After Harvesting
Kale is a hardy vegetable that can be stored for up to two weeks after harvest. The longer you store kale, the more bitter it will become. When you’re ready to eat your kale, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you want to store your kale in the refrigerator, it’s best to cut off the ends of each leaf and place them in a large plastic bag. Seal the bag and make sure there’s plenty of air in it so that the leaves don’t get soggy. Put the bag on a shelf in the fridge and use it within two weeks for optimal freshness.
To freeze kale, wash off any dirt or debris from the leaves using cold water, then dry them well with a towel or paper towel
Roll up each leaf individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them upright in an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag. You can also blanch your kale by immersing it in boiling water for 30 seconds before freezing — this will help prevent oxidation, which can cause brown spots on your leaves after they’re cooked.
I hope that this article has helped you better understand the many facets of kale harvesting, and perhaps even inspired you to start growing your own! Kale is a wonderful vegetable, so if you haven’t tried it yet then we urge you to do so. You’ll be glad you did.