Did You Know Those Little Buds on Your Kale Plants Are Edible?

Garden Betty

Those tiny yellow flower buds that appear on your kale plants at the end of the season don’t necessarily mean the end of your crop.

In fact, just the opposite: the florets are a bonus crop you can eat, and they turn even sweeter if the plants have been through a hard frost.

Dare I say, they’re sometimes even better than the rest of the plant! (And, you might have eaten other types of brassica flowers before and not realized it.)

What are kale buds?

Kale buds are simply the unopened flower heads on a mature kale plant. They appear when kale starts bolting at the first wave of heat in late spring to early summer.

Can you really eat kale flowers?

Absolutely, and you’d be missing out on a culinary delicacy if you didn’t!

If the concept of eating kale flowers seems strange to you, you’ve probably cooked with other forms of brassica buds and not even realized it. Take broccoli raab, for example.

Raab (derived from rapa, Italian for turnip) is just a fancy word for the flowering tops of plants from the brassica family, such as kale, broccoli, mustard greens, and Chinese cabbage.

The point is, brassica plants make all kinds of edible parts beyond what you typically see in the store. So then, you might be wondering, why doesn’t anyone ever sell kale florets? It’s simply a matter of demand and the fact that eating kale florets has never been a part of American food culture.

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Garden Betty