It’s Spring, right? Are you sure? I mean snow and sleet storms happen when it was just 75 degrees a few days ago, right? Wait. What is going on?
Spring was here. The sunshine was blasting. I had my sunglasses on and short sleeves. I was planning picnics in the park. I was ready to get the tomatoes outside. I was excited for walks for ice cream. I took my mittens out of my bookbag. Winter coat? No way, that was packed away.
Then Tuesday night came. We were on our way home from the last regular season home Brooklyn Nets game (note: The Knicks killed us, but who cares, we’re going to the playoffs unlike you Knicks) when suddenly it just started sleeting and snowing. We’re talking sleet that comes down and cuts you in the face. We’re talking a storm where you get home and you have to throw your clothes right in the washer because you’re soaked. We’re talking weather where there’s no way of not looking like a wet dog (note: I do not look cute like a dog does. I look like a monster). This all happened…. in Mid April!
So immediately worries set in for the garden. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Lettuce, Peas, Carrots, Radishes, Kale, Onions and more were already planted. We were historically set to not go below freezing again and we were definitely set for not having snow again until Winter. Then Mother Nature had to go out and have a bad day…
There’s not much you can do to protect a garden in mid storm. Yes, you can brave the sleet while getting soaked to throw on some fabric to protect them from the freezing temperatures (which is what we did), but there comes a time where you just have to hope the plants are going to be ok and just leave them be. The wait is the worst feeling. During the next morning we ventured to the roof to find our peas in snow, with more fabric being pressed into the plants due to snow weight on top.
The kale didn’t look good. The lettuce didn’t look great. The sugar snap peas looked frozen. The onions were knocked over.. but it was too early to tell as they still needed some afternoon sun to bounce back.
One thing was certain though, the kale had to be picked. If you guys remember, this kale was planted last Summer (!) and it somehow survived Winter (!) so in terms of how long it’s been planted, it was a real true survivor. I was a bit bummed that this freak storm was the one to finally destroy it, but time was not on it’s side.
So with my winter coat on with a somber heart (I’m so dramatic, I know) I picked all 6 kale plants. These kale plants really grew fantastically and even though they were destroyed by the weather, it was close to time to pick them anyways as they were starting to flower. I got pounds of kale off these plants and my entire bottom shelf of the refrigerator is now full of kale.
But first I had to take a dramatic photo of me with my baby kale and title it “Kale Mother” to post on Instagram. I love my friend Avery’s comment: PAMALEESI: MOTHER OF KALES
How did the other plants do after they thawed out? We think everything is ok. A few leaves got burned by the frost, but the lettuce bounced back beautifully and the peas are still standing tall (alongside the onions). Let’s take a collective sigh of relief as it could have been a real disaster with months of seedling planning ruined. I guess we had a little luck saved!
So now with a ton of kale.. what are we going to do? I wanted to make something right away so I could use up a few full cups of kale, as I get a little stressed with too much kale! We love our kale turkey meatballs, especially on a hoagie, so I decided to make a double batch and put a spin on this recipe with mixing the meats. This was the perfect solution because I got 1 dinner that night out of it, and 2-3 extra dinners to freeze. Lately we’ve been craving meatballs with pasta but we’re too lazy to make them when hunger hits, so now they’re all ready to be eaten (after being defrosted!)
So let’s make some meatballs! First the kale was picked. But first I had to weigh in. This year I’m going to keep track of how much we grow to see. I’ve been telling myself to do this every year but this year I’m going to do it! (I hope..)
These meatballs turned out beautifully! They were crisp on the outside, moist in the inside and full of flavor. These might be some of the best meatballs I ever made so I was happy to see them made alongside our garden kale. Having a bit of homegrown in every meal always makes it better, right? Also these are going to make your home smell great. When someone walked in our front door about 2 hours after baking they said “It smells so good in here!”. It totally did.
To freeze them, I separate them into meals and put in a freezer bag. When it’s time to enjoy them, I’ll let them sit out for a bit to defrost, then warm them up to eat, or throw in a pot to cook alongside the pasta sauce.
Baked Kale Meatballs
- 4 cups uncooked chopped fresh kale
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 pinches each of dried rosemary parsley and oregano
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 eggs
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add kale and spices. Cook until your kale is wilted.
- Put kale mixture and garlic into a food processor and chop it up. Add your turkey and egg and pulse until it's combined. Depending on food processor size you might have to do 2 batches.
- Form this mixture into 1-2 inch balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
- Put meatballs on foil and cook 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
- Enjoy right away, or freeze for later.
Makes 30 meatballs.
How’s the weather where you are? Is it finally Spring?