The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Kale buds, cabbage buds and Lucky (our dehydrator)


Photo: Buds from cabbage kale and purple sprouting brocolli

Photo: Buds from cabbage kale and purple sprouting brocolli

I had no idea that you could eat kale buds until Margaret Thorsom who writes this blog alerted me to the fact on a comment on my latest purple sprouting broccoli post. They are absolutely delicious and we are mixing them with our PSB. And Margaret Thorsom’s blog is pretty good too – she is a weaver and crafter and her husband is a vegetable farmer using hoop houses. I’d love a hoop house – they are really nifty. I’d also like to make rag rugs in the future when normal energy returns.

Yesterday I spotted that a lot of the cabbages that we planted last autumn were in bud and just about to go to seed without even forming heads. Perhaps I should have watered them in April as it was such a dry month? Some more, in a shadier spot are doing fine. As an experiment I snapped off the heads and side shoots and we lightly steamed some of these for supper. They were sweet and tasty. What an eye opener.

The PSB is just on the edge of going over so the dehydrator is whirring away filled with the last of the crop so we can add it to soup and casseroles for several months to come.

On the next biodynamic ‘leaf’ day I’m planning to harvest the final kale leaves and pop them into the dehydrator so I can finally sample kale chips. 

Incidentally Lucky the dehydrator is proving to be a great investment. Virtually nothing now goes to waste and we always have decent range of fruit and vegetables to run up a meal with little effort without having to go to the shops. And if we hit a sticky patch with not much to eat from the garden we have enough fruit and vegetables for about three months – all grown by us or bought in season and contained in lots of little grip sealed bags in just one large carrier bag.

This week we finally christened him Lucky as he the perfect kitchen appliance pet.

  Leave a reply


  1. Having been inspired by you to buy an Andrew and a slow cooker, and having been delighted with both, I am now determined to acquire a dehydrator. Not sure if you can get them here in Croatia, but we will be visiting the UK later this year and I’ll definitely arrange to have one waiting for me at my mum’s house. Thanks again Fiona for all your great ideas.

  2. barkingdog

    I’ve been eating my Kale buds too, I thought they were too good to waste. They do taste lovely!

  3. Joanna

    I made a hooked rug once. It turned out really nice but the process took so long I vowed never again. Maybe on a long winters evening when I have nothing else to do I may do another but I think that will be a long way off.

    I think there are all sorts of other flowers of vegetables you can eat too. This year we will probably let some go to seed deliberately though to start seed collecting.

  4. cathy

    I’ve written about kale raab (brassica flowers) on my blog Growing Curious:

    When fresh plucked, they are very sweet. They get bitter when they sit at the grocery store. I like them bitter plenty, but I really like them sweet and fresh. They can be so tender.

    And this is the single best reason to overwinter kale and other brassicas. After a sturdy winter, they want to celebrate their lives and reproduce so they’re sweeter than ever.

    Here in Oregon, my fall-sown brassicas try real hard to live on and then “die down” in December/January. In March, they re-emerge and become a lively little kale patch with no work on my part. We start harvesting leaves in late March and spend April and part of May enjoying the raab/flowers.

  5. brightsprite

    Hi Fiona – I’ve had a quick look at Margaret Thorsom’s blog – lovely to see her rugs and hats on her May Day stall, very colourful. Then I thought I would have a look at some of her previous entries – and I found her report of making marmalade, referring to the ‘neat site “The Cottage Smallholder”, in Wales’.

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