Sea kale (Crambe maritima) loves the British weather, is easy to grow and tastes delicious. It’s also virtually impossible to buy in grocery shops – and illegal to forage in the wild in many places. This means that growing your own is the best way to enjoy it.
It’s a very attractive plant, with large, silvery leaves, which makes an elegant addition to veg plots and allotments and could easily be incorporated into an ornamental bed. You can eat the very young leaves of sea kale raw or steamed, but the forced stems are best – they taste like asparagus. The flowers have a wonderful honey fragrance and can be used to flavour meat and fish dishes.
Don’t start harvesting until the second year at the earliest. After that, your plant should crop for about 10 years. Here’s how to grow it.
How to enjoy sea kale stems
Use the forced stems as you would asparagus. Lightly steam and serve with a little oil, salt and pepper – they make an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes. They are also lovely fried in a very light batter.