Cavolo nero kale ‘Nero di Toscana’ – Brassica oleracea.

Cavolo nero is a regional vegetable of Tuscany.  Probably more Cavolo nero kale is grown in the UK than in Italy because of Thomas Cook, who took travellers on the ‘Grand Tour’ through Tuscany in Victorian times. These travellers would bring back seed to grow in their walled gardens.

This elegant vegetable is used to make 'Ribollita Toscana’, the traditional dish of Florence, and is an ingredient in minestrone in Tuscany.

You can also pan-fry it in olive oil with pancetta or bacon, and garlic. For a soft option strip the leaves off the tougher midrib, gently steam and serve with olive oil and pine nuts on pasta. 

Sowing

Annual: sow in modules of seed compost from February to June for a summer harvest.  

Plant out into well-prepared fertile ground when large enough to handle.  Make a second sowing in summer for harvest throughout the winter.

It comes from the Apennine region of Italy and is therefore very cold hardy.

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