Edible ornamental kale

January 6, 2011 | By | Comments (4)

Who knew you could actually eat ornamental kale?  I sure didn’t. For this week’s post, I was struggling to figure out what to make. Our gardens are looking a little sad and a little frost-bitten. When Elaine Johnson, our associate food editor, suggested I cook up some ornamental kale bordering our garden path, I jumped at the chance. Here’s the beauty I picked from the garden:


I chose to prepare the kale very simply:

Buttery ornamental kale

1 head ornamental kale, thoroughly washed and torn into pieces

Salt, to taste

About 1 tbsp. butter

1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan (fill the pan about 3/4 full, as you would when cooking pasta). Add a generous amount of salt (any type will do). Add kale and stir to submerge (I used tongs because I find them handy for turning large amounts of greens).

2. Cook kale, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour kale into a colander to drain. Add butter to saucepan and return kale to pan. Stir to coat kale with butter and add more salt to taste. That’s it!

How’s that for a super-simple side dish?!


Here are some other great greens to try.


  1. Agnes

    Yes, i do agree with Sharon about growing Toscano!!

    January 20, 2011 at 7:31 am
  2. sharon

    Even though you can eat ornamental kale, it’s not what I’d plant if my intention all along was to eat it. There are a lot tastier varieties. So, Mike, I’d say your advice to your parents isn’t really off track.

    Tell them to grow Toscano, aka dinosaur kale. With its dark blue-green crinkly leaves, it is very pretty in the garden. And is a really delicious kale.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm
  3. MIke Lieberman

    Whoa, so you can eat ornamental kale? I was telling my parents how dumb they were for growing the ornamental instead of the edible version. Whoops. Won’t be sharing this article with them.

    January 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm
  4. Matti

    Easy peasy. BTW, do you have to cook it, or just taste better that way? Matti

    January 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm

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