Sea Kale (Crambe maritima)


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Incredibly hardy, open-pollinated perennial. Native to the seashores of England and Ireland and popular in Victorian England. Once grown on a large scale as a winter substitute for asparagus, cultivated for its blanched tender delicate ivory-colored leaf stalks that can be boiled or steamed to provide a good source of vitamin C. Sea Kale grows up to 3′ forming a beautiful rosette of wavy-edged thick silvery-grey leaves and dense racemes of small white sweet-scented flowers in midsummer. Fragrance is similar to propolis, the wax extrusion in the honey bee hive. Smells of honey and wax, hundreds of feet away. Blanch the tender, slightly bitter early spring shoots in absolute darkness under large pots, and harvest when the stems reach 3–10″ (exposed to light in its natural state, Sea Kale is bitter).

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