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How to Harvest, Preserve & Freeze Kale (perfect for use in smoothies!)

16 Aug

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

It’s that time of year when the garden is starting to overflow with goodness. The tomato plants are tall and we are starting to see some red beauties ripen up. We have already harvested and pulled out the green bean plants (and our fridge is jammed with dilly beans). Our jalapenos are taking off and our bell peppers are growing slow and steady. We have snuck a few carrots to taste test and they will be ready in a week or so. The snap peas didn’t last long with daily Lyla raids. Our broccoli is coming in quite nicely. We’ve enjoyed many, many salads from our spicy greens. Aaaaand we have some decorative gourds growing beautifully, which is funny, because we didn’t plant gourds this year. Huh.

Also, our kale. Looks. Fabulous. The only problem is that there is so much of it that comes ready at once. Our main use of kale in our house is adding it to smoothies, so I wanted to figure out a good way to preserve and freeze our kale so that it was easy to pop in a smoothie concoction. Have you checked out Lyla’s favorite smoothie recipe?

Harvesting kale is simple. When the leaves are about the size of your hand, they are ready (they are even tasty when the leaves are young and tender). Use a scissors to cut the stem or snap the stem with your hand just below the leaf. Be sure to choose bottom leaves to harvest and do not pull out the entire plant. Your kale will keep showing you love with more growth throughout the summer and into fall. It can even withstand some frost. The best time of day to harvest kale (and all greens for that matter) is early in the morning.

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

I harvested so much kale that I repeated the steps above many times because it sure wasn’t all going to fit in one pot. Go ahead and reuse the water for multiple boiling sessions. I harvested a very large bag of kale and ended up with two ice cube trays of frozen kale. It definitely becomes more compact when it’s been blanched and has wilted.

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

These small servings of kale are perfect to toss in smoothies, soups, stews, and pasta dishes. I actually think that a smoothie blended with blanched, frozen kale turns out better than using fresh – with frozen kale you lose the grittiness.

How do you use kale you’ve preserved from the farmers’ market or your summer garden?

Receive great discounts on health and wellness products through VGN Premium!

11 Jun

Village Green Network (VGN) Premium is a new online discount club. It’s the perfect membership for foodies like you who are focused on the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family and want to save money while you’re at it. We know all too well that healthy food can get expensive, even when you follow those trusty “5 ways to save money on groceries” lists. When you’re buying real food (the good stuff!) the costs can add up. That’s why we are stoked to be a part of a membership club like VGN Premium.

VGN Premium Membership

Why should you sign up?

  • You will get coupons, sales, and shipping discounts to use on some of the best real foodie brands!
  • Available discounted products include kitchen appliances, high-quality organic products, cleaning products, coconut oil, fermented food starters, real food supplements, and more. The list of products and companies is always growing.
  • You will get member-only discounts (at least 25% off!) on e-books, meal plans, the VGN Summit, classes, and e-book bundles from the best real food bloggers out there!
  • You won’t have to worry about tracking down a great deal for the real food products you buy. With VGN Premium, there is always a sale!

CLICK HERE to check out the marketplace! Why not continue buying the products you already do, but at a lower price?

Get discounts from these trusted companies for high quality products:

VGN Premium Membership Brands

For only $5/month or $49/year, you will have access to all of the goodies listed above with the VGN Premium Membership.

If you get in early and sign up in the month of June, you can join VGN premium for 20% off!

That’s only $3.99/month or $39/year! Offer expires June 30th.

CLICK HERE to join MONTHLY or YEARLY – it’s up to you!

June Link Love

10 Jun

It’s that time again to share some blog love! Nothing like a one stop shop to be able to look through some cool blog posts. We hope you like the ones we picked too!

We usually try to share some fun pictures on our Link Love posts and I think the recent ones Ryan took while in Yellowstone National Park were too cute to pass up! Enjoy!

June Link Love | WholeGreenLove

This Orange Avocado Dressing looks amazing! Not to mention the salad recipe to go with it. I’m planning on making it this week for sure!

It is easy to get lazy or even forgetful with lunches packed at home. I love nothing more then getting to work and knowing I have an awesome lunch and snacks packed for the day. Here are 10 Essential Lunch Box Packing Tips that might help you out!

A Cheeseburger Frittata?! With Ryan’s love for cheeseburgers, I think this will have to be on our menu soon!

Baby animals are the best…so stinkin’ cute! Check out this baby lamb…aww!

It never hurts to be prepared and to have any “tips” ready for traveling successfully with children. Here are 6 Simple Tips for Traveling With Kids.

I don’t know about you, but opening a young coconut can be quite the challenge! Here is a great how to, that I’ve used before & it works great.

We’ve been trying to eat more fermented foods…here are 8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods!

Lavender Mint Soothing Herbal Body Butter…sign me up.

June Link Love | WholeGreenLove

I hope you all have had a good weekend and have been able to get out and enjoy this nice weather we’ve been having! Maybe you’ll be inspired to make or implement something from these lovely blogs in your life this week!

Bright Agrotech: Towards a Brighter Future of Food

2 May

We are excited to share with you our first guest post! Woot Woot! Chris Michael from Bright Agrotech discusses his company’s sweet produce growing systems. It’s so cool to hear about new and innovative ways people are accessing fresh and healthy produce. We want to thank Chris for sharing this with us! We hope you learn something new!

“Towards a Brighter Future of Food”

Chris Michael

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of food in this country… But we are!

We’re growing food that feeds our local community and we’re doing it vertically, sustainably, and profitably!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

The Bad News:

Let’s face it. When we look at the state of our agriculture system today, it can be very disheartening. Each day we’re bombarded by headlines about E-Coli, Listeria, and other food-borne illness outbreaks from tainted irrigation water or poor quality processing facilities.

We have no idea what’s really sprayed on the fields and how these pesticides and herbicides affect the health of our families and our environment.

It’s said the average American dinner travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to plate. Studies are also showing that our food loses nutrients as soon as they’re picked, plucked, or harvested from the fields.

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

With that in mind, how on earth are we supposed to get the vital nutrients, vitamins, and nutrients that we’re trying to glean from eating “healthy foods?”

And, when we add in increasing urban sprawl, loss of precious topsoil, and a rapidly aging farmer population, things look pretty bleak, right?

But, in spite of all this gloom and doom…  

We’re hopeful and excited.

The Good News:

At Bright Agrotech, we’ve seen firsthand the challenges of being in agriculture today. We’ve seen the farms of our family and friends suffer from drought and crippling debt. Doing research at the University of Wyoming, our Co-Founder and CEO Nate Storey, Ph.D wanted to invent a more efficient method of growing healthier, more nutritious food that also helps farmers live better.

Before you write us off as deviant pot-peddlers, hear us out!

While it has an unfortunate stigma, hydroponics merely substitutes soil nutrients for a more potent, concentrated nutrient solution mixed with water. It’s WAY more efficient at giving your plants what they need to grow up big and strong, which increases the productivity of your farm or garden.

The type of hydroponics we use is called aquaponics.

This method of growing food is a more organic type that simply replaces a cleverly concocted nutrient fertilizer solution with fish!

That’s right, we use fish to grow [lots] of food!

Aquaponics is by no means a new concept. In fact. it’s been around for a long time. As cool as it is though, it’s having a difficult time transitioning from a backyard hobby to an economically sustainable commercial venture. Until now.

Practical Vertical Farming

You read that right. We’ve developed some kick ass vertical farming technology that provides some serious value across all three levels of food production and distribution (i.e. farmer, grocer, customer)!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

The ZipGrowTM Tower, our patented vertical farming tower that’s enabling a fresher food future, is the product of seven years of rigorous academic research.

Not only does it allow us to see some serious yields in our aquaponic greenhouse (Catch a video tour here!), we’ve designed it to transport live to market!

In the not too distant future you could be going to the store to cut the freshest produce from living walls.

Live Sales Model

About 60% of a farmer’s costs come from harvest, post-harvest labor, and packaging. Nate’s research confronted this massive cost head on and sought to eliminate it. Here in Laramie, we grow our towers and drive them a mile to the local grocer in which we have a specially designed and patented living green wall. The customer simply clips exactly what they need (helping to drastically reduce post-consumer waste), bag it themselves and take it to the checkout counter to be weighed and purchased. That means fresher food, more taste and better nutrients for the customer and the customer’s family!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

Healthier food grown in YOUR KITCHEN

As you can see, we’ve been realizing the benefits of vertical farming for a few years now and we’re going even one step past the living green wall. We believe that growing and harvesting is so innately human that we want everyone to have the opportunity to grow healthier, more nutrient-dense food in their homes.

The Spring is our home version of our innovative vertical farming system that consists of everything you need to plant and grow delicious food in your home without taking up much space. You may have seen our Kickstarter project that we launched a few months back and we’re now in the final steps of bringing it to life.

But there’s more…

The coolest part about The Spring is that not only does it allow anyone to simply grow food in their kitchens and patios, it also enables an even fresher farming distribution model. Instead of your farmer taking their towers of living produce to the local grocer, they now take it directly to your home (like a milkman used to do!). To learn more about that, see our “Bright Future of Food” here!

The Future of Food

Relax! Do yourself a favor and turn off the evening news declaring another food-borne illness contamination. Put down the newspaper and the headlines about the skyrocketing price of corn.

The future of food isn’t all doom and gloom.

That said, it is a future waiting to be enacted and adopted by those who see the bigger picture. The fresh food revolution isn’t going to magically appear, sadly. We need advocates and early adopters with that innovative eye constantly looking out for the health of their families and their natural world.

We hope you’ll help us spread this message of hope to your friends, family, local Co-Op, or grocery store and demand healthier, locally-grown, nutritious food!

- Chris Michael

If you want to learn more about Bright Agrotech feel free to click on the links below! We hope you find yourself in your garden this upcoming growing season, whether it’s horizontal or vertical!

Find more from Bright Agrotech:

Website: www.brightagrotech.com

Blog: www.verticalfoodblog.com

YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/BrightAgrotechLLC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightAgrotech

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrightAgrotech

Register for the Healthy Life Summit for FREE!

15 Mar

8549151709_24a5a3c22cWe are super excited to be a part of promoting the Healthy Life Summit, which is streaming for FREE from March 24th – 30th! This summit was organized by the blog network we are a part of, Village Green Network.

The Healthy Life Summit is a FREE 7-day, online virtual conference that features speakers like Sally Fallon Morell, Joel Salatin, Donna Gates, Daniel Vitalis, Matt Stone, Julia Ross, and Chris Kresser (and 28 more). You can see the full list of speakers here.

I jump up and down and shout “woohoo!” in my mind every time I look at the line-up of this awesome event! There are 5 tracks of topics: Healthy Eating, Healthy Body, Healthy Babies & Kids, Healthy Living, and Healthy World.

Some of the topics that will be covered include:

  • Traditional food diets
  • How to transition your family to real food
  • Techniques for making real food easy and affordable
  • Why preconception and pregnancy diets matter
  • The dangers of GMO foods
  • How to make homemade beauty products that are safe enough to eat
  • Sustainable, grass-fed agriculture and why it’s important to your health

I just did a little SQUEEEEE inside because I’m so excited about this conference. I literally cannot contain myself!

This is sweet because nowhere else could you listen to this incredible lineup of speakers and topics for FREE. If you have a life anything like mine though, you won’t be available to hang out and listen to this streaming for the full week of March 24th.

For that reason, consider preordering the download to the entire Healthy Life Summit for only $49 until March 23, 2013. By preordering, you will be able to listen to this whenever and wherever you want.

If you wait to order the Healthy Life Summit download until the conference is over, it will cost $199. Boo.

Preorder today at 75% off that price – just $49!

How does this work?

  1. Click here to register today! You will get email updates to let you know more information about when you can listen to your favorite speakers and catch all of the topics you don’t want to miss!
  2. Preorder the download package today so that you get the super reduced price of $49 (that is 75% off the actual price!) In all, the download includes 35 audio recordings and 35 video slideshows.
  3. Download the full conference package on March 24th! You can certainly listen to the conference via live stream, or just listen at your leisure!

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This guy, Joel Salatin, is seriously my favorite. Has anyone else read any of his books? “Folks, This Ain’t Normal!” is so great!

The Healthy Life Summit is all of our favorite topics wrapped into one amazing event! We hope you’ll join us!