It's Red Russian Kale! Or Is It?

We (the tenants in our buiulding) bought half a dozen trays of “mesclun,” mixed greens, from Home Depot for our first garden this year. I’ve spent the last month trying to identify them.  This fifth variety was the most difficult to track down.

I finally found a similar leaf in a photo on NPR.org with the caption “Freshly picked greens — including Swiss chard, escarole, Bull’s Blood beet purple beet ‘greens,’ Tuscan kale and Red Russian kale — are headed for the salad bowl.” So I googled every name listed, and found a plant with the big light green leaves we had, called — Red Russian kale!

According to my husband, the Russian word for “beautiful” is very close to the Russian word for “red.”  This big light green leaf might be called “red” because it is beautiful.  It was also described as having “purple-pink veins,” which could be another reason it got called “red.”

I went to my favorite online seed store, Seeds of Change, because we want to grow more of this.  Of all the varieties of mesclun in the garden, this one was voted tops in taste!  There I found “Red Russian kale” with a photo showing the veins very brightly. 

The leaves of our plants, however, had white veins.  Well, I was browsing around looking for other seeds I might want to order at the same time, and behold!  I discovered that Seeds of Change has another kale variety called White Russian kale.

So there are Red Russians and White Russians among the kale. :)  I think that for the Garden of Union, we will stick with the White Russians.  I have also ordered some True Siberian kale seed.

When we were first planning the garden, I suggested kale, but nobody else thought it sounded tasty.  Now I know how to get people to taste kale — don’t tell them it’s kale!

I am glad that my friends and neighbors have decided they like kale, even if they don’t know it’s kale.  It is very good for you!

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