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Success! Harvesting through snow after subzero temperatures

 
steward
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Well, after paying $2.99 for a small bunch of collard greens (imported from California) from my local organic grocery, I decided to get out there and dig through the snow to see what was happening. I found a collard plant and a lacinato kale, frozen solid, but with properly green leaves. I harvested leaves by grabbing them one at a time and pulling sideways, filling a plastic shopping bag.

I've brought them inside, and lo and behold, they have thawed into crisp leaves! (I was worried they might thaw into mush--I was still going to try to make kale chips, but this is terrific!)

We've gotten below zero in the past week, but these leaves are fine. Some of them have dessicated spots, but not much. Definitely worth getting cold.
 
pollinator
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I really like your post maybe we should start a section for winter harvest esp winter green and root harvest to show to people whats possible.
I feel that alot of people buy the extra summer/fall foodforest thing but very few see it working for winter spring.
 
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I made kale chips to go with Christmas dinner with the kale I harvested in the snow. Everyone liked it and it's really easy.
 
Julia Winter
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Kale/Collard chips are yummy, and more popular than many other ways to prepare green leaves. I've made them a few times, and this is what I've come up with. It's easy to have too much oil on the leaves. The best way I've found to prepare the leaves is to first remove the center ribs, cutting the leaves in half, and stack them up in the biggest bowl I have.


Then I dribble olive oil on the pile and start rubbing it onto the leaves--like applying lotion, really. Then I sprinkle with salt and rub around some more (I've also had issues with too much salt, but no salt is not popular). Some recipes use a spice mix in addition to salt, and that's very nice. You want your spices finely ground. Then I lay them out on cooling racks in baking pans in a single layer (you could probably get by without the rack, but you might have to go in and turn them over halfway through).


I put the leaves into the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, but I've seen all sorts of temperatures for doing this. I figure a lower temperature preserves more nutrients. I'm lucky in that I have a convection oven, so I have it set to "convection roast" and it blows hot air over and under the leaves so I don't have to turn them. I've heard of making kale chips in a dehydrator, but I haven't tried it.
 
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We do that with kale here in Fairbanks. It's one of my work saving strategies; no need for blanching and freezing and all that; just a bit of digging in the snow. Brussels sprouts work pretty good too.
 
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S Bengi wrote:I really like your post maybe we should start a section for winter harvest esp winter green and root harvest to show to people whats possible.
I feel that alot of people buy the extra summer/fall foodforest thing but very few see it working for winter spring.



I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a section on Winter Harvest or a Far North section. There are so many of us that live with harsh winters.
 
Julia Winter
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Here's a picture to show how much the leaves shrink when baked:
 
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Somebody dumped a pair of meat rabbits nearby, and they have now ate all our greens. They are just running around here like they own the place. I might just have to eat them!
 
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The Amish Use Straw a great deal to yield early crops.
 
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.....with possible single digits (F) on the way.  The gamble is that November could actually be rather nice.....around 30s and 40s F.    Thoughts on harvesting all of it now for blanching and freezing or just tarping it for he worst of the weather and hoping for the return of nice days?  Patch is about 12 ft X 8 ft, mixed curly kale and Red Russian kale, all very mature from the summer's growth.  Location is outside of Fargo, ND, so sun is diminishing fast.  Thanks!

[Edit:  Note....just saw this thread:  https://permies.com/t/20245/Success-Harvesting-snow-subzero-temperatures     Please feel free to merge.  Thanks!]
 
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Weather seems to be changing, there are no real winter's any more. I plant lots of stuff in autumn/ end of summer.
Garlic, spring onion, endive, mustard leaves, black radishes, Brussel sprouts, Kale, Brocolli, Palm Kale, Minutina, Landcress, Winter Salads, Swiss Chard, red beets, golden beets, most of these covered in a ground cover of lamb's lettuce or miners lettuce. Many herbs like to be planted outside in autumn too, thyme planted in autumn survived the summerheat gloriously, the spring ones had problems.
It grows slow but steady, i take a leaf here and a sprout there kind of thing. All stuff that can take quite some freezing temperatures, but the slow growth of winter i prefer above the ground flea attacks of summer.
It could be that i will lose all my effort to a very strong freeze, but i like to imagine i am saving the seeds of the most frost resistant specimen and work with those the coming years. The pressure of weeds changes as well in winter. More grasses and the like.
And in spring these plants that survived just explode into abundance while others are speaking of start ups.
I guess saving seeds has made it that i take chances, if they die bummer, start again in spring.
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