Growing and Enjoying Kale Buds

This spring, try some delicious kale buds

Credit: Christina Symons

Kale buds are a healthy and fun choice at the dinner table

For some, cherry blossoms signal spring – but for us, it’s the arrival of kale buds! These sweet, tender delicacies are the flower buds of over-wintered kale plants.

Picked when plump (prior to opening into flowers) with a portion of the stalks left intact, the buds may be lightly steamed or stir fried and enjoyed at the table, similar to trendy broccolini from a gourmet market.

How to grow your kale buds to perfection

Growing and enjoying kale buds couldn’t be easier. Simply plant any kind of kale at any season, enjoy its healthful leaves while it matures, then allow the plant to go to seed.

Chefs are hot for spring kale buds especially, because they’ve been touched by frost. This makes the buds extra tender and sweet. To grow spring-flowering kale buds like these, you’ll have to set out some kale plants in late summer and early fall.

Bonus, you can enjoy the leaves throughout the fall and winter season, prior to the buds forming in the spring. Other spring buds to try include Brussels sprouts (simply leave the plants to flower after picking most of your fall sprouts) and purple flowering broccoli.

Christina Symons is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in garden, home, food and lifestyle topics. John Gillespie is a landscape designer and horticulturalist, certified master arborist and green roof technician, with a passion for sustainable living. Together they are the authors of the new garden/lifestyle book Everyday Eden.